Free to Choose Again
It was one of those hot lazy days of summer. I didn’t have time, though, to sit around. Greg and I had rushed home from work, hurriedly eaten, and were on our way back out to visit a church member. I opened the small door into the garage, and the heat hit me in the face. I glanced at the wall. The temperature stood at a flat 100 degrees. A very humid, sticky, 100 degrees. Slipping into my sandals, I noticed that Greg had already opened up one of the two large garage doors, partly to cool it off but also because we were leaving.
I was intent on getting into the car when he spoke. “Jilly, come look at this! A hummingbird must’ve just flown in here!” I glanced up. She was flying high in the rafters. Round and round, vainly beating green wings in an attempt to escape. Quickly we opened the other garage door. “C’mon down, little lady,” I called. “If you just come down a couple of feet, you could fly out the open door.” My entreaties went unheeded. She continued her dance with death, hovering at the very peak of the roof.
What could we do? Hurriedly I ran outside and grabbed the red hummingbird feeder. Carrying it in, I held it up high. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll be attracted by the red color of the feeder and come down.
“She’s not coming down,” Greg’s voice broke into my thoughts. “Here, watch her. I’m going to get the ladder. She can’t last much longer with this heat, especially up so high.” Her flutters were already getting weaker. Occasionally she paused a moment to rest, little claws clinging somehow between the truss and the roof itself. Then she would begin again, little wings beating against the roof.
Greg returned with the ladder and began to climb. I held my breath as he stepped from the top rung onto the narrow ceiling joists. He stepped across several until he stood directly underneath the little bird. Please, God, help him. Help him catch her before it’s too late and bring her safely back down.
Even as I prayed, Greg was reaching up his outstretched hands. Terrified, the hummingbird tried to get away, but she was too weak. He cradled her in his hands and began to step from truss to truss. I held the ladder as he descended. She didn’t lie quietly, but repeatedly squawked in a way I’d never heard from a hummingbird before. Quickly we both stepped outside and shut the door. Greg opened his hands as I held the hummingbird feeder close. The bird didn’t try to fly away, but simply lay there in the palm of his hand. After a bit she opened her little beak and began to drink. For a few moments we watched in wonder. Then, suddenly, she lifted off and was gone.
Later, as we drove away, I thought about the lesson from God. How many times had I wandered where it was unsafe, thinking I could get out of the temptation any moment I chose? How many times had I refused the open door, the easy way home? How often had my Savior climbed the ladder of my own stubbornness and pride, reaching out His scarred hands to pick me up, exhausted from the struggle and desperate for a way out? How often had I cried out against the very thing that was bringing me back home? And yet my precious Father, after rescuing me and giving me strength to walk again, had opened His hands and released me, setting me free to choose again.
Oh, please, Jill, I could almost hear Him say, won’t you choose My way? For with Me there is no death, only safety and peace.