I have always had a soft spot in my heart for animals. I’ve been known to pull off the road to move a turtle out of harm’s way, and I’ve taken home one too many little rodents after stopping by the pet store. My husband fears what might end up tagging along home with me every time I say, “Just running out to grab some dog food.”
While on vacation, we took an evening stroll on the beach and I noticed a pelican in front of us standing strangely still. As we got closer, it became apparent that the bird was hurt due to a fishing hook caught in its wing. True to my nature, my heart went out to the creature who was clearly helpless in his plight and fearful because of our close proximity. I wanted so badly to fix the injured wing so it could soar again, but there was little I could do, and the bird was incapable of helping itself.
Unable and Helpless
I thought of this pelican a few times since returning home. Its presence was a vivid picture of my own inability to fix the brokenness I feel internally and that I see in the world around me. There have been times when personal suffering has felt paralyzing because no matter what direction I move, the pain still lingers. And as I watch headlines that blare agony, disillusionment, and death, I again feel unable and helpless.
Paul was a man who knew suffering, and we see just a glimpse of the extent to which he suffered in his second letter to the Corinthians…