God is testing me, and I have absolutely no one to blame except myself. It’s what happens when I have to get all big for my britches and brag online about not being afraid of anything. I got all smug and had to say something stupid like, “There’s not much that scares me.”
Noted. I will not make such bold statements again.
Except I just did.
But anyway, this post is not about bold statements. It’s about this:
Not the greatest picture, but the problem is clear. SNAKE!
Now I’ve already told you that I’m not afraid of snakes, and I’m not. I’ve actually petted a rattlesnake before, but that’s another story for another time. This snake did not scare me. HE.MADE.ME.MAD. As you can tell, he is clearly inside a cage. Except it’s not just any cage. It’s the outdoor aviary where Johnny and June live. They are my two zebra finches, and I just love them. June laid a whole nest full of eggs, and she hatched our first baby about a month ago. The baby was still nameless because I had not taken the time to google Johnny and June Cash to determine their children’s names and see if any of them might be fitting for a zebra finch.
I discovered the snake all curled up in the water dish when I went to give the birds fresh water this afternoon. And immediately upon seeing the snake and doing a quick headcount, I discovered the baby was missing. Well, not missing. The baby was clearly in the snake’s stomach.
After several unsuccessful attempts at poking the snake and trying to get him out of the water dish, I covered the dish with an old pitcher I use for watering plants. Then I shook the pitcher and rattled the water dish until he finally decided to slither his fat self out. Once his little head poked out the spout of the pitcher, he was history after one quick blow to the head.
I was rather tempted to hang his dead body on the outside of the cage as a clear sign to any other snake who might be contemplating having his next meal at some poor little innocent bird’s expense…
And after the adrenaline quit pumping, I got to thinking.
I was so quick to jump in and rescue my birds, but yet I don’t always respond with the same sense of urgency when I see injustice in the world around me.
The homeless mom and her two small children on the streets near the shelter in downtown Austin. The unspeakable horrors happening to adolescent girls who are victims of sex trafficking. The unreached people groups who have yet to know of Christ’s saving love for them. The thousands of orphaned children who may never know the love of a mommy and daddy. The recently unemployed man who has a family of five to feed. The friend battling cancer or the one who just lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.
My heart breaks for every one of these situations. I’m often moved to tears over them. But that clearly is not all God calls us to do. No. God calls us to compassion. And compassion isn’t just feelings. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines compassion as “the human disposition that fuels acts of kindness and mercy.” Christine Caine puts it a little more bluntly, “Compassion is never compassion until you cross the street and do something about it.”
Intolerance for injustice. Action. Fueled by compassion. No excuses.
Anybody crossing the street with me?