“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
In April 2002, I was sitting in a cavernous waiting room at King’s Cross in London, England. I was waiting for a bus to Cambridge, UK. I sat all alone and stared at the tiled floor at my feet. The doctors had warned me not to travel alone, but I ignored their advice.
And now I was starting to unravel.
Depression had followed me all the way from Alaska to England. I had pushed my limits and was completely drained and becoming confused. I began to cry out to the Lord, very desperately. Sometimes madly. (Read Psalm 88.)
As I sat there staring intensely at the floor, several pigeons seemed to put on a show, just for me. They were fat little guys, apparently scratching out a good living. Several very large windows were open, and these pigeons seemed to have no fear as they took advantage of a meal from bored travelers.
All of a sudden, something very odd happened.
A pigeon came across the floor and “presented” himself, right square in front of me. I watched him intently and saw that he was crippled, one of his feet was nothing more than a twisted claw. He had been profoundly injured in such a way, that he would never be the same. He was damaged, and yet somehow he survived (and he was thriving)!
It was like experiencing a lightning bolt. God’s own light switch was being flipped.
I saw that pigeon, and I saw myself, and it was a moment of clarity, a shining grace. In the mega-hustle of 13,614,409 people in London, and in the midst of my own profound mental crisis, I knew God’s caring touch and it gave me real grace, love, and goodness–far greater than all my sin and confusion. He was just letting me know that He was very, very close. (See Psalm 34:18.)
I began to remember my damaged pigeon, completely oblivious to self-pity. I started to call out to the Father out of my confusion. Within a few minutes, I found myself sitting on the top level of a double-decker bus, with the driver aware of my problems and who specifically guided me to the place I was staying.
I was being cared for. Between a crippled pigeon and the dutiful ministrations of a bus driver, I’d finally found my hotel. (See Matthew 6:26.)
I have come to realize that this trip to England was not for me to see Big Ben, Parliament, or wander the academic schools of Cambridge University. Rather I was brought there to make contact with a certain pigeon, who was waiting to meet me and pass on vital instructions.
The Father shared things that I need to know. British castles and churches are beautiful and worth seeing but I must admit I’ve forgotten much. But all I really needed was somehow given.
I will take everything Jesus wants me to have.
P.S. Two things:
If you can avoid it, don’t travel alone.
Please never call pigeons, “rats, with wings.” :-)