March 25th, 2012


While walking through the forest, a lonely hunter came across a wounded bird, which he rescued and began to nurse back to health.  Lacking first aid skills, he fumbled through the process as best he could.  His splints were makeshift at best.  Frustrated with himself over his incompetence, he grumbled as he treated her wounds.  Grateful to be rescued from certain death, she silently submitted to his rough care.  Thus began their journey together.

Traveling through the forest, neither one knew how to relate to the other.  Although the hunter wearied of the burden of caring for the bird, the prospect of actually setting her free kept him continually at odds with himself.  So, as he rewrapped the bird’s wings, he would put little stones in her bandages to delay her recovery.  Although he would never admit it, he was becoming rather fond of her.  And my, how it beat being alone!  Meanwhile the bird meekly submitted, remembering that her very life had been restored, such as it was.  Her moods would swing between gratitude and hopelessness, seeing no chance of ever regaining her freedom.  She was terrified of him (after all, he was a hunter!).  Although she would never admit it, she was becoming rather fond of him.  And my, how it beat being alone!

Day after day, the hunter would place the bird in a sling he would hang around his neck.  The bird was certainly a nuisance who required much attention, so he often thought about leaving her on the forest floor to fend for herself.  But his heart was given to her so he never abandoned her.  Bound in the sling around his neck, she would be jostled around and irritated, and she often thought about hiding in the brush the next time he let her down for a rest.  But her heart was given to him so she stayed and endured.  And so, on they trudged through the forest, neither one experiencing the fullness of what life had to offer.  Together but very much alone, neither one dared to trust the other; neither one found the courage to reveal his true self.  And God cried over the emptiness in the lives of two of His beloved creations.

(As you read this story, did it pull on your heartstrings?  Did the characters remind you of anyone you know?  Did you long to be part of the solution?  If so, please lift him up in prayer.  God longs to bring a measure of hope into that person’s life, giving courage to enter into meaningful relationship.  Only then can he begin to tear down the walls around his heart, walls that were erected to provide protection from pain.  Sadly, while locking others out, he has also locked himself in.)

In 2004 I met a sister in Christ, who quickly became a precious new friend.  We began to open our hearts to one another, and as our friendship grew, I grieved over the condition of her marriage.  One night as I prayed for her, God gave me the above allegory.  She cried when I shared it with her, and confirmed that it definitely paralleled her situation.  As time passed and our relationship blossomed, I had the privilege of watching God’s hand move mightily in her life and in her marriage. 

Recently I have been led to publish the allegory, so I asked her if she would be willing to describe the turning point:  that place where the hunter and the bird turned away from fighting against one another and moved to a place of fighting together for restoration.  Here is her follow-up to the story:

“One afternoon I was sitting on the couch, praying and reading a book about praise and worship.  As I lifted my voice to praise God, I began to realize that His reality is so much bigger than mine. I know He is faithful and I know He delights in giving me the desires of my heart.  For as long as I could remember, I had been praying for the healing of my marriage.  What if my prayers had already been answered?  What if He had already healed my marriage, but I was not living in that reality?  What if I was simply not experiencing His restoration, only aware of the “pebbles” in my dressings?  I determined that I was going to step into His reality.  At that moment I had a vision of a clear pool of water, with everything around it calm and peaceful; I knew it was God’s confirmation that I was on a right track.  I shared my revelation with my husband and told him I believed our marriage was already healed and I was going to walk in that belief.  He agreed to do the same.

“That night I slept in total peace and when I awoke, everything had changed!  My heart was madly in love with my husband and I saw our marriage in an entirely different light.  I had not had a change in attitude, nor had I simply decided to think differently.  This change came from my knowing who God is.

“From that moment on, our marriage has gradually improved as we walk in God’s reality.  We still have our ups and downs, but we continue to work together.  I continue to ask God to reveal my part, and to heal those wounded places in me.  We surround ourselves with people who have solid marriages, husbands and who wives who have learned to communicate well with one another.  I am determined to walk in God’s reality; I am not that wounded bird living a hopeless existence.”

God, I praise You, and I thank You for your unconditional and continuous love for us, for Your answering of our prayers, for your healing, and especially for Your continuing watchfulness over us, Your precious children.  Show us how to walk in Your reality.



Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?


James 5:16b

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.


Mark 11:24

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.


Luke 12:32

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.