4.06.2012

The Glory of God in the Life & Death of a Dove :: Resurrection Day 2012

“And I say, ‘Oh, that I had
wings like a dove!
I would fly away
and be at rest...’” 
-Psalm 55:6 (ESV)

We recently lost something very precious to us, a curious and cuddly little, albino dove purchased 12 years ago named Rainbow. We are very grateful to God for the gift of our time with her, and the amazing ways He has displayed things about Himself through her.

Most people’s first question upon seeing this bird was, “Why would you name a white dove ‘Rainbow’?” To that we answer two things: White is composed of the whole color spectrum, and her name referenced Noah’s release of a dove to help find land after a destructive flood before God put a rainbow in the sky, a reminder in part of His promise of a coming restoration. (Genesis 8:1-9:17)

Doves are spoken of throughout Scripture, with perhaps most notable mention as Jesus comes out of the water following His baptism and the Holy Spirit descends on Him “like a dove.” (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32) There was no getting away from the remarkable visual symbolism this small creature gave.

When we brought Rainbow home, she was an untamed and frightened baby bird. She lived at my husband's house when we were still dating, and when visiting I would get her out and just hold her, gently but firmly, knowing full well if I let go she would fly off.

One day I had been holding her on my stomach for a while when something changed. This is difficult to describe well, but I felt her tension suddenly leave. She relaxed entirely. I slowly lifted my hands away and she didn’t move. She finally trusted me. We had bonded.

This event constantly reminds me of the moment (actually, moments) when a person stops fighting, struggling and running, and finally trusts God. This has happened in my own life, when I finally believed in Jesus as Savior, and times since when I’ve had to really trust Him in my own circumstances that seem so unsettling. He shows me the One who is holding me really has my best interest at heart and wants me to know Him. I can relax because He is Good no matter how things feel.

I consider that truth now as I type through tears. We dearly loved Rainbow. She was a constant in our relationship, a gentle creature who often came when called or cooed on demand. We knew she was ill for about 7 months, and through much prayer saw many indicators in that time that we gave her the best possible care. We are grateful her worst suffering was brief. Yet this whole event reminds me that all creation groans in this currently broken and damaged world, waiting for a restoration that only Jesus, the Creator, can bring. (Romans 8:18-25)

Yes, Jesus lived perfectly, died and came to life again so those who believe in Him can be forgiven of their struggle against Him and live forever with Him. But He also will return to bring restoration to this planet, creating a New Heavens and Earth where death is banished and this sort of thing, our sort of pain, will never happen again. (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1)

You may ask if we will see this bird again in the New Earth. I honestly don’t know. The Bible doesn’t give specific answers on the subject. If that is part of the restoration, it will be an exciting gift for any who lost a beloved animal. But far more exciting is the hope of seeing Jesus Himself, being resurrected because of His resurrection, knowing true Joy with Him and never having to suffer such loss or pain again, as He will wipe away every tear. (Revelation 7:17; 21:4)

I do hope God will use these stories of our dove to also show you something about Himself perhaps you never saw before, or to remind you of truths you’ve heard. I pray He draws you close to Himself in whatever you’re going through, happy or sad, that He shows you the way out of struggling against Him so you find rest with Him, asking His forgiveness, accepting His help and believing in Jesus, the Resurrected One who is making all things new.

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 
Resurrection Day blessings †  (:}>

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