The death of our parakeet “Pete” marked one of the most traumatic events of my childhood. You can tell that my childhood wasn’t that traumatic, huh?
Pete was probably smarter than me at the time. He could say a few words and when you let him out of the cage he would fly to your shoulder when you clapped your hands.
He even tried to feed us, by placing birdseed in our ear. Come to think of it, maybe he wasn’t that smart. At least he knew that humans took nourishment through one of the holes in their head.
He was just a bit confused about which one.
Sometimes, when mama decided it was time for one of us to be spanked he would even dive-bomb her to try to protect whichever little bandit had aroused her ire.
I liked that bird.
He met a violent end, though. One day when he was out of his cage, I went outside and he tried to follow me. Evidently he didn’t know that doors opened and he crashed into it, bashing his brains out.
I cried and wished for him back. I had heard in church that God did miracles so I prayed and asked Him to resurrect Pete, but it didn’t happen.
Doesn’t God Have To Do It?
“David, if you’d only REALLY had faith, it would have happened,” you say.
Think about that. If God raised every dead parakeet, the world would be overflown with birds.
“But, the Lord said, ‘Ask and it shall be given to you.’ Doesn’t He have to perform His Word?”
In all honesty, I’d like to stop right here and go home. There are a lot of things that I don’t know about God’s miracles. I’ve seen Him do incredible things and at other times, He doesn’t answer the way I ask.
I think I know something though. Do you remember the story of when Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish?
Those folks were so happy after that miracle, they concluded that He must be the Messiah and they wanted to make Him king—the McFish Messiah!
Jesus slipped away but they caught up with Him on the other side of Lake Galilee. He knew what they wanted—breakfast!
They hadn’t come because they were hungry for God’s Word or even because they wanted to see God’s power demonstrated in healing. They just wanted to EAT!
Now, before we get too tough on them, finding something to eat was probably the preoccupation of a big percentage of the people in that day, in that part of the world.
Walmart’s superstores hadn’t been invented yet.
His Body + His Blood Equals Full Participation in Jesus
Jesus wanted them to know that He was more than just an answer to prayer—their Fairy God-mother–who would wave His magic wand and make everything right.
So, they pricked up their ears when He zinged them with this, ““Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you.
“The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me.
“This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.” (John 6: 53-58, The Message)
They were so blind that they must have thought the metaphor was reality and they stalked off, probably muttering about Jesus being crazy.
If I Don’t Get What I Want I Still Get God
The truth of the matter is that Jesus was telling them that believing in Him and serving Him isn’t just a free lunch—a fairy godmother who snaps to it when you’ve got a wish.
Believing Jesus is our life. As He enters us, we enter into Him with all that we are, nothing held back. By that we eat “His body and blood.”
Once I was talking to a young man in our outreach center when we were in Luxembourg. Damiano told me that he had prayed about something for a whole year and God didn’t answer.
So, he concluded, God didn’t exist.
I understand. But, I’ve served God for nearly 60 years now and He has always been faithful. He has answered thousands of prayers and when He didn’t answer as I wanted Him to, He was there to help me through.
I didn’t always get the answer I wanted, but I always got God when I went to Him.
And I found that His presence is even more precious than answers to my prayers.
He’s not a McFish God or a fairy godmother that I serve as long as He does what I ask Him to. He’s my God who gave His all so that I could have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
I want to give my all for Him whether I have McFish burgers each day or not (“and super-size that, with an order of blessing, please”).