Follow Jessica on Twitter @CrossAndLeaves or follow the Five Leaf Eco-Awards @fiveleafeco

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dragged to heaven kicking and screaming

I used to volunteer for a wildlife rescue center after church on Sundays. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and the wildlife carers were very inspiring and praiseworthy people.

Something I learned very quickly is that wild animals are never really grateful for your help. My friend would rescue and 'pinks' (baby mammals who don't have their fur yet) from mothers hit by cars that were so young they seemed certain to die, yet when eventually released they would run (or often hop) away without a backward glance. She would rescue swans only to have them bash her over the head with their wings, have goannas try to scratch her, birds peck her and wombats try to destroy her house. Yet she never complained. She would get up every two hours, all night, to feed the babies; she would recieve calls at all hours of day and night to rescue animals, and went without complaint; and she worked so that she could invest most of her spare income in kangaroo milk formula and heat pads. She regularly visited the recycling section of the tip to collect the cages that would fill every part of her backyard in the spring; she spent countless hours raising baby mice just in case a snake came in, and she spent her 'spare time' (ha ha) sewing little pouches for the various marsupials she usually had in care, and invented new ways of feeding the little critters and keeping them alive.She suffered the pain of putting down hundreds of animals, yet believed the rare happy stories were worth the pain. She adopted a border collie from the pound who had been viciously abused. In the early days after her adoption, if a dog lead was seen or heard, Tori would cower in a corner, trembling, and often wet herself in pure terror. With a few months of love and compassion, she became one of the most friendly, happy, beautiful dogs I have ever seen. There was something so pure and innocent about that dog; she was captivating. Tori was one of the few stories of an animal expressing gratitude; yet my friend poured everything she had into all those ungrateful little animals. If they were in need, she would help them - that was just what she felt called to do.

This woman's incredible and unconditional love for these creatures is, I think, a parable for how God loves us. It used to be so frustrating trying to catch injured animals. They would run around, injuring themselves more, and often hurting us, because they couldn't understand that we weren't going to hurt them. And why should they trust us? After all, in 95% of cases, it was a human who had caused their injury, sometimes intentionally. Yet all we wanted to do was catch them and heal them. I wonder how often God feel this way. How often is He trying to help us, trying to lead us towards His good plans for us when we are digging our claws into the carpet and hanging on as though our lives depend on it? How often does he love us and give us everything, only to have us give nothing back - or worse, abuse and hate him? How often are we dragged to heaven kicking and screaming?

My friend is a Christian, so maybe she believes she will be rewarded by God for her love. (I have to wonder, also, how much support her church gives her. I doubt it is a fraction of what she deserves.) Maybe surviving cancer for 12 years after the doctors told her she was going to die made her feel she had to give something back. Or maybe she just sees the face of Jesus, battered and bruised, in every animal she rescues...

Regardless of why, what she did was wonderful. And the plans God has for us are wonderful, even if we don't know it yet, and even when we are ungrateful. The example of my wildlife carer friend reminds me of how God must feel, and how much he loves us. Surely we can trust in that?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+