Years ago, a wounded pigeon was found in a park and was picked up by a good Samaritan who brought it home and called the number on the tag. She was told that the pigeon was no good to them now that it was injured but they would come pick it up and have it killed. Not wanting to see the bird die, she offered to keep it and carefully went about helping the bird to heal. After awhile, the bird seemed ready to leave the small cage she had kept it in, and not knowing what to do next, called my daughter Sarah to see if there was a place for it on her animal rescue facility.
Sarah told the woman that she had a free-flight enclosure with a small high building at one end for protection from the elements. The top of the building had a small opening to the outside which was big enough for the pigeon to escape if it wanted to, but small enough to keep the larger predator birds out.
The bird seemed to love its new home and practiced flying every day while getting stronger in a safe environment. Sarah expected that the bird would leave once it was strong enough, but the unexpected arrival of another injured pigeon, kept it close. That same season, Sarah discovered a nest in the enclosure, and fledglings were soon flying around the facility.
It is now 4 years later and her pigeon population is over 20, with new fledglings every year. Watching them gives a unique perspective on pigeon behavior, especially when they are teaching the young ones to fly.
The flock will take to the air several times a day and fly in an ever widening circle, first one way and then reversing, around the entire facility. You can always tell the new ones because they can’t quite keep up with the speed of the flock. The parent bird stays with them as they fall behind and will lead them to fly in a much smaller circle. This lagging behind gets shorter each day until you can’t tell who the young ones are anymore.
Sarah has yet to see a fledgling refuse to fly.
Can you imagine trying to teach how to spread your wings and take to the air to one who simply would not move? How could you ever reinforce the good behavior, or teach new techniques, or point out strategic safety moves in case of impending danger? What if the young bird waited, wanting all the knowledge and experience of the flock before deciding to take that first journey into the air?
Sometimes, I think we do this. We wait until we believe we have all the answers before moving forward. We wait for God to show us the way and when we aren’t necessarily receiving revelation or answers on a specific prayer, we refuse to move instead of being anxiously engaged in a good cause. The Lord sometimes waits to see how we are going to act in a certain situation to prove what we have learned, mostly to ourselves. Acting as we should in a difficult situation gives us confidence, and confidence begets confidence and success breeds even more success. All of which we would not have if we refused to move. We need to learn correct principles, gain light and knowledge, and act accordingly.
I recently read a talk by Dallin H. Oaks ( you can read it in its entirety here) which reminded me that the Lord expects us to do all we can with our own efforts and judgment to serve and to work, and that revelation comes in the Lords own time and in His own way. I was particularly struck by these words:
“We will get promptings of the Spirit when we have done everything we can, when we are out in the sun working rather than sitting back in the shade praying for direction on the first step to take. Revelation comes when the children of God are on the move.”
Like the fledgling pigeons, let us spread our wings and actively fly, knowing that the Lord is right beside us ready to give us correction and support as we learn to be more like Him.