Sometimes things just look dead don’t they?
My cat who is absolutely huge, bigger than most small dogs actually, loves to hunt, but he’s got what many people would refer to as a ‘soft’ mouth. In other words, he doesn’t bite down too hard on whatever he catches. He just carries it softly until he gets down to the real business of eating and feeding his family.
If given the chance he will catch just about anything, but once he really shocked me because he ran into the house with a small bird in his mouth. Of course, I tried to get him out of the house with his prey, but he just dodged me until I just sort of stopped and decided to wait until he wasn’t paying attention.
When I stopped, I actually was able to get a good look at what was in his mouth. A very small blue and green hummingbird was lying limp in those sharp, pointed teeth. Now, considering the speeds that these tiny creatures can get to, 30 mph in regular flight and up to 60 mph in a dive, it’s amazing my cat caught him at all. But, catch him he did.
I was kind of amazed, considering his size, that he was fast enough to catch the bird at all, but I couldn’t argue with the fact that he was carrying around the dead bird like a prize trophy. I just wanted to make sure that he didn’t stash it somewhere in the house for later, at the end of the day you just don’t want dead things around the house.
So I followed at a distance to see exactly where he dropped the little bird so I could take it outside. Finally my cat did drop the tiny creature. I picked it up, sure it was dead, only to have it spring to life and try to fly out the nearest window, which just happened to be closed.
It bounced off the glass with a huge amount of force, but it still managed to right itself trying to find a way outside. I tried to grab it and so did my cat, who leapt into the air with the grace and skill of a dancer. Then my son got in on the action when I called out to him to hold on to the cat ( not my best request, my son doesn’t like to restrain the 30-pounder for any reason on the basis that its hurts the cat’s feelings).
Finally after what seemed an eternity of trying to keep the bird out of the cat’s way, keep the cat out of my way and keeping my son just plain old out-of-the-way, I was able to capture the bird ( who went very still in my hands) and take it outside where I placed it on the highest branch I could find.
After everything had died down, I realized how shocked I was that the bird was alive after all that. It surely seemed as though he was dead, or should have been after the mayhem.
There are a few times in the gospels where Jesus raises people from the dead, but one that just struck me recently is the one in Mark where He raises a 12-year old girl from the dead. She died of an illness while her father, a leader in the local synagogue, went to find Jesus and asks Him to come and heal his daughter.
It’s an interesting scene for a couple for reasons. First, as they are walking to the house a woman who had been bleeding for many years touches Jesus and is healed. Jesus stops to ask who touched him and was healed, then tells her that her faith has made her well, or, because our faith is necessarily tied to our relationship with Him, you can very well say her relationship with Him saved her.
Before He even got to the house, the girl had died, and Jesus’ response was to say to her father, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” ( Mark 5:36) Then when He actually went into the house and told the people the girl wasn’t dead only asleep, the people inside laughed at him because the girl was dead.
Unlike my hummingbird, she was dead. Everyone saw it. Everyone knew it. Everyone was already in mourning for her. She was dead until Jesus told her to get up , and she did.
Just like I thought the hummingbird was dead when my cat brought it into the house and dropped it, I thought for sure it was dead and I was already making plans on how to bury it, but it wasn’t dead and the ensuing mayhem was me trying to deal with the fact that it was alive.
There are times when something that we cherish is dead and to our shock God brings it back to life right when we’re making plans to bury it appropriately. But, when Jesus tells us ‘Don’t be afraid. Only believe.’ it would do us well to remember who He is and what He can do. And no matter how frightening it is that He can bring something that is long dead back to life, He can do that very thing if he wills it.
“Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”