The Reason For A Cage

dead bird

Image by celeste343 via Flickr

Some years ago, a dear friend who was breeding birds gave me a new-hatched canary whose mother had rejected him and was not feeding him. He looked pathetically naked and drawn up into himself like a fetus, and my heart was bonded to him. I worried myself over that scrawny featherless baby, and fed him with a dropper at all hours until he could eat mash on his own.

He feathered out gray and looked grave and distinguished like the finch his breed is cousin to, so my eldest brilliantly named him Atticus. He learned to fly, and would flap about the house till he landed on my shoulder, then affectionately peck at my face for attention. I was his mother. What a delight to the family Atticus was! He began to sing the most wonderful songs, and we wanted only the best for him, so we nurtured his musical talents with Mozart.

But foolish me, I could not bear to keep that sweet free spirit caged up, and I would let him fly free, but the wee bird would often walk about the floor as well, and in alarm, we would scoop him up to the safety of his cage. One day the unthinkable happened: Atticus was not in the safety of his cage, no, he was hopping about on the floor, when a hapless child stepped on him. Oh, my poor son! And oh, the mourning and crying over that bird! I wept, so heartbroken. And why did God allow that to happen to that poor sweet creature who only filled our troubled home with his cheery trills?

Recently I asked Him that again, and I think the Father knew I was strong enough spiritually to hear His tender rebuke. He said that I was given the responsibility for keeping our fledgling safe, and I ignored the cage that was provided for Atticus’ protection.

Ravi Zacharias has written in Recapture the Wonder

G.K. Chesterton once quipped that before you remove any fence always ask why it was put there in the first place. You see, every boundary set by God points to something worth protecting, and if you are to protect the wonder of existence, God’s instruction book is the place to turn. Anyone who thinks he or she can place the boundaries arbitrarily will either destroy the enchantment of life or else wear him or herself into exhaustion. God’s commands are there to protect what life is truly about, not the other way around. Implementing that truth in our lives keeps us from losing the wonder.

And even more vitally, implementing those truths keeps our very life. For I have heard many say, “God would never allow me to be deceived. He is good and loving. He would not give me a snake when I’ve asked for a fish.” Well, yes, indeed He is very good, but He has entrusted you with the stewardship of His Word in your life; and bold adventuring beyond the safe boundaries of scripture leaves you open to delusion and deception. And you will not feel deceived. It will always seem so right and natural, so emotionally satisfying to be rid of all that restricts the Spirit’s free expression. Caught up from the bliss of of flight, and not discerning the one who seeks to crush and destroy and render you captive to his will, you might never see that cruel foot coming down.

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5 Comments on “The Reason For A Cage”

  1. cheryl Says:

    Hello Karen, my name is Cheryl. I’ve had your blog bookmarked for months, and occasionally peek in.

    God sometimes gives us true life parables to ponder. God noticed even your little bird’s demise. How much more does He love us?

    By the way, “Atticus” was a very clever name.

  2. Karen Butler Says:

    Welcome Cheryl. I feel like I know you already, from Ian Vincent. Yes, my daughter is brilliant, and my God is so good to me, to comfort me when every feather falls!


  3. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for letting me know about your blog. I realise this comment comes several months after you made the post.

    ——
    “He would not give me a snake when I’ve asked for a fish…”

    How many times have I heard that phrase used to excuse a complacent and careless approach to the Christian life? And yet there is never acknowledgement that God has made us accountable and expects us to heed the many warnings He has given about the need to beware of the dangers of deception.

    When I myself think of that statement I now always recall Israel in the wilderness. Among the many complaints they directed towards God was a mention of the lack of fish. And what was God’s response? To send poisonous snakes among the ungrateful nation!
    Even when they finally repented and sought deliverance God did not remove the snakes. Instead He provided a “cure” for snake bite. Anyone bitten was required to look upon a metal snake lifted up on a pole, and in doing so the effects of the poison was nullified.

    In the context of that most famous verse, John 3:16, a comparison is made between the provision of the snake on a pole with the lifting up of Jesus on the cross. While the poison of sin has not been removed from the world, God in His love provided a way to nullify the effects of its poison, through looking to Jesus and having faith in Him. Those who refuse to look to Jesus and try to overcome sin’s poison in their own strength will fall victim to their own pride and suffer the inevitable death that results from sin.

    So now, what about the snake and the fish? Can we sit back and assume that God will bless laziness and complacency? Will He bless a careless attitude that ignores the very means He has undertaken to draw us and keep us close to Himself?

    Too often many assume they can dance around the highest point of the temple and expect angels to catch them when they fall so that they “will not strike [their] foot against a stone”.
    It is a wrong assumption to make when God has already warned of the danger of “dancing near the edge”.

    • Karen Butler Says:

      Well done, Onesimus! Exactly the good observations, eloquently spoken, that I remember so well from our days on the discernment blog. I am so glad I popped into your site yesterday! I’m a bit tuckered out just now, but I hope to get over to your site tomorrow. Saturday is usually my day off from school, and I do most of my writing then. (I took this week off, thus the unusual (for me) burst of reading and writing). Meet up with you soon!


  4. […] is a Reason for a Cage, and there are also reasons for a burial, I am thinking more and more. I still have a tiny body of […]


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