It happens – thunk – every year – thunk! In the Spring – thunk! For about a month – thunk! This male robin makes his home in a tree next to our house and attacks all our windows. Why? Because he sees his reflection as his competition. He could be running around impressing the lady robins during peak mating season, but no. Instead, he – thunk – goes after his reflection – thunk – in the window – thunk!
We’ve tried everything. We’ve put things in the windows and on the windows to try to get him to see that he’s flying into glass but no. Thunk! He just – thunk – keeps attacking – thunk – his reflection. How he manages not to kill himself is beyond me. In the mornings when it first starts it almost always startles me because I forget he’s there. After that first “thunk,” though, it just becomes irritating. The cats go nuts; the dogs go nuts; we go nuts because of that stupid bird. “Go away! Get a wife! Have a family! Just stop thunking our windows!”
Upon reflection (pun sort of intended) that little robin illustrates how we should view ourselves when it comes to our problems – whatever they are. All of us can come up with a grocery list of reasons why our lives turned out the way they did. There are all kinds of people and circumstances we can blame but when it comes down to it, our biggest problem – just like that little robin – is ourselves. I’m not minimizing the hurt and abuse you have suffered at the hands of others but when it comes down to it, I cannot control the actions of others. The only thing I can control is myself and how I respond to the actions of others. You want biblical examples of people who were abused by others, or harmed by their circumstances? Look at Joseph: sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, forgotten in prison for two years by Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Do you know that despite all that, he never filed suit against any of them? How did he deal with it all? He left it in God’s hands: “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good” (see Genesis 50:20). And what about Job? Whenever I get discouraged about my circumstances, I read the book of Job because if anyone hit a string of “bad luck,” it was Job. Yet “in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Yes, he wanted “his day in court” to try to set the record straight, but in the end, he saw himself and his God in the right light:
(5) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
(6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Then there’s the Lord Himself. “…[H]e was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). If anyone could cry out about injustice, it was our Lord, but the constant refrain throughout His life was: “…My meat [duty, desire] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
All of these individuals dealt with abuse, adverse circumstances, and unfairness. All of them could have blamed people and circumstances, yet none of them did. What they all had in common was that they turned to God.
Like that robin who visits us in the Spring, we need to see ourselves as our problem, but like Joseph, Job and the Lord Himself, we need to recognize God as our solution.
[Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash]