I love the finches, chickadees and sparrows that visit daily. My cat, Casanova, loves them too, but in a sinister way. Several weeks ago, Jessica, my friend that lives in the suite downstairs, brought me a freshly injured sparrow, Casanova's latest victim. I felt a powerful compunction to pray for him. I probably held him for 15 minutes while praying. His leg was broken, he had a tooth puncture on his head, and one wing looked gnarly. My heart ached for him.
I was reminded that I could offer my aching heart to the Lord for the salvation of souls. And I did. I was comforted knowing Jesus cared for that sweet sparrow. As I held him and prayed, he seem to regain some strength. He couldn’t get aloft, so I put him in the forsythia, hoping and praying he would survive. I felt like power had gone out from me, a feeling I have little experience with. I was reminded of the bleeding woman who touched the hem of Jesus's garment and how he knew power had gone from him. (Mark 5:10)
For a couple days I thought about that helpless little bird and meditated on how it hurt my heart and wondered if that might be a similar to how God feels when we are hurting.
A few days later, that little bird joined me on the patio. His tail feathers were gone and and his leg was at a 90° angle. I named him Gimpy because, of course, his tiny gimp leg. I was elated that he had survived and every day I see him, my heart swells with joy and thanksgiving. It's like he is a special gift from God to me.
On the day I prayed for Gimpy, I united the pain in my heart with Jesus's suffering, based on Paul's words in Colossians 1:24, "Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." God answered the prayer that the sparrow survive. It encourages me to imagine that he might have saved souls through that small suffering of mine united to his sufferings. None of our suffering need be wasted, not even an aching heart over an injured sparrow.
Gimpy still visits the patio, giving me so much joy. My joy would be off the charts if he trusted me enough to let me hold him again. Might this be how Jesus feels when I don't totally trust him or totally surrender to him? What am I withholding? I would never hurt little Gimpy or betray his trust. God would never hurt me or betray my trust.
My experience with Gimpy was the second time I felt I "had" to pray a healing prayer. The other time was nearly 20 years ago when a lady came to church for prayer after a cancer diagnosis. Way out of my comfort zone, I felt very compelled to pray for her. Just like with Gimpy, I felt like power went out from me. (Please understand that this wasn't a huge feeling, but a small sense.) Wendy's cancer did indeed go into remission and she is still with us. I took/take no credit for that, I just knew I needed to pray right then and there, just like I did for Gimpy. When Gimpy survived, I recalled the similarities in the emotions I experienced with each situation. I wondered if God might be telling me, "Remember Gimpy and Wendy the next time this feeling occurs." I write this experience to remember it. I want to be ready if God places the feeling of "I must" pray for someone within my heart. He used me those two times. I want to be ready should I feel that again because maybe, just maybe, God will use me to bring a healing prayer to someone.