“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. But those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:1 & 31, HCSB.
We visited a rehabilitation ground for wounded birds in the mountains. There were beautiful birds—hawks, owls, cranes, and eagles. The American Bald Eagle sat alone on his perch. His piercing eyes were calm and focused. He did not need a chain on his leg or a cover over his cage. He could not fly. A hunter had shot him through the wing with an arrow, but the eagle refused to die. He flew away, and a compassionate hunter had found the bird and turned him in to the rehabilitation center.
The caretakers explained the wounds each bird had sustained in the wild; arrows, bullets, fishing line, sometimes just plain cruel, inhumane tortures. Each bird was rescued, and now it had a home in the shelter of the rehabilitation center. They were safe, but they were wounded. There were some, through the expertise of the veterinarians and trainers, who were able to return to the wild. They carried scars, but they were able to fly freely again. Pictures of these birds, along with smiling team members, were posted on a brightly colored wall with names and departure dates. It was the celebration wall for those who were able to return to their lives and habitats.
I kept thinking about that eagle. He was meant to be free and soar among the clouds, but he was perched, unable to even leave the sanctuary on his own. How many times has the enemy wounded a saint who was soaring for God and caused such injury? How many of us have stood by and watched as a wounded brother or sister has tried to find refuge, and we have turned them away without compassion? The church is God’s sanctuary—a shelter for those who need to recover and heal from their wounds. The enemy is merciless—a rabid hunter who does not care what carnage he leaves behind. We are to be caretakers of the injured. Some may never fly as they once did, but they will be safe, and their life stories will show others the dangers of the enemy. Others will recover and they will fly again, and it is the church family who will shelter them, help them and cheer them on as they return to flight.
Thought provoker: In our churches, are we the shelter and sanctuary wounded saints need? Let’s be the place they can come to heal and recover!
Lord, there are many, many wounded saints in our world today. The enemy is hard at work trying to destroy lives and hurt testimonies. Help us be the shelter and sanctuary they need, not the judges and hunters who continue to hurt them. Let us be agents of Your healing power today. Thank you that You are the Redeemer, the Restorer and the Healer we need! Amen.