The Pigeon and the Pothole
What an unpleasant scene I witnessed one day. Right outside the door of our church a small pothole had developed. Some people don't notice potholes until they are large enough to cause alignment problems. Normally I don't either, but this one was slowly expanding in a precarious place. Being the associate pastor, my job was to make sure that everything was in order around our building. A pothole right outside the door was definitely out of order, no matter how small.
An alley separated the church from a McDonald's next door. As I walked out the door and into this alley, I noticed an animal drinking the run-off water from our air-conditioning unit out of this small pothole. This was not just any animal, mind you; it was a fowl (I use this word intentionally) found mostly in urban areas.
I believe the scientific name for this bird is annoyous-pigeonous.
As a teen I grew to dislike these large, loud birds. My parents' home, all-be-it a nice place to live, had one glaring flaw. The architect must have had a fondness for birds because the house was built with gables that, to a pigeon, looked like a flashing "for rent" sign.
Now for any of you animal-lovers out there, let me digress. These are not the clean, quiet tweety-birds that you see in the pet store or on cartoons (let me digress further, we used to have a beautiful cockatiel and he was not completely clean – and was by no means quiet). These are dirty pigeons, and they are, in many ways, gross. They enjoy leaving packages that most people don't want to receive. They squawk continuously. My bedroom was in the attic and I had to listen to them reading beddy-bye stories to their children at all hours of the night.
Needless to say, they were unwelcome guests.
As I walked out the door of the church that day, my mind, being renewed by the washing of the water of God's Word, uttered a loud and succinct "yuck!"
Suddenly, from within my heart came conviction. I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit gently whisper, "This is My creation."
"Yes," I replied, "but it is obviously still under the darkest part of the curse."
I knew God wanted to show me something in this. Isn't it funny how God can set up a scene in the strangest places to reveal something about Himself? Despite my sarcasm, the thought from the throne continued. "I even make sure the pigeons are taken care of."
I smiled at the mercy of God. His love for this animal was truly beyond my comprehension. "Thank you, Jesus," I thought, and continued with my day.
The next day the Lord weaved a similar thought through my heart. One of the ugliest places in any city is that area where the train tracks converge with the dump. As I passed over the railroad crossing in this section of town that day I noticed that small trees and wildflowers were emerging from every section of exposed earth. It struck me that through all of the garbage, God's creation was pushing its way toward the sunshine.
All around was the ugliness of abandoned factories, rusting metal, and garbage. Yet in the midst of man's depravity, God's restoration process was taking place – almost without notice. I saw plants and small trees pushing up through the rusted metal, reaching their leaves toward the sun. Left to itself this area would eventually be overgrown with plant life. In time the metal would rust away, and all that would be left would be a beautiful forest.
Again I sensed the presence of the Lord. He was revealing His nature to me in simple ways. I'm glad that God makes it simple for me, because that's the only way my "lightning fast" mind can comprehend the Kingdom of Heaven.
After these two encounters with the Creator I began thinking about the nature of God. Jesus began His earthly ministry by reading from Isaiah the prophet. This portion of Scripture declares to the world God's intention in sending His Son into this fallen world:
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:1b-3a, NIV).
Through these natural scenes the Lord was showing me His heart of compassion. If He could provide a cool drink for a pigeon, and bring forth beautiful plant life from an ugly dump, just think of the wonderful things He could do in my life to heal my hurts and transform me into His image.
I learned to see the beauty in pigeons – and the potential beauty in seemingly ugly places.
You may feel that your life has become like that dump. Perhaps the wounds of broken relationships, shattered promises, unfulfilled dreams, and unmet expectations have made you feel dirty and undesirable. Maybe you think there is no way your life could ever be beautiful and new again.
Let me tell you, there is hope in Jesus Christ.
I have good news! There is a unique purpose for each person living here on Earth. Like Queen Esther of old, you were born for such a time as this. God has programmed each one of us with a special destiny that can only be fulfilled through relationship with Him.
Just as John's book of Revelation is winding down we receive a precious promise from Jesus Himself concerning our eternal destiny:
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new! (Revelation 21:4-5a NIV).
While Jesus is speaking in this passage of the final victory after He returns to Earth, I believe the promises of God's Kingdom can also be obtained today for those who believe.
Our Lord is a God of restoration. If you have tears in your eyes, let Him dry them. If you have tasted death, let Jesus bring abundant life. If you are full of sorrow, let Him turn your mourning into dancing. If you are crying, let Him dry your eyes.
God will take away your pain – if you let Him. And like His creation pushing up through the trash, He wants to make all things new.
Remember, from potholes He cares enough to give the pigeons a drink. How much more will He take care of one of His children!
Do you want to have peace with God?
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