SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

God Sees the Little Nuthatch Fall…

Posted by on Aug 27, 2016 in Blog, Food for Thought, Memories | 4 comments

The patio door was hit with a thud and I knew instantly what had happened. I was afraid to look out, but when I did, I saw nothing and sighed with relief. I walked carefully onto our deck and, again, saw nothing. And again, I sighed with relief…until I looked down. And there it was: a small, white-breasted nuthatch.

Unlike its cousin—the red-breasted nuthatch that is bold and cocky—the white-breasted version is timid and flighty, not staying at the feeder to eat, but taking a nut or seed and flying to a safer place. But this one never made it to a higher tree. It came head-on with my patio door.

DSC00978I’d been there before, about eight years ago when the same thing happened to another nuthatch. Only that one died in my hands from a broken neck. My then ten-year-old granddaughter happened to be riding her bike by our trailer and when she saw what had happened, asked if she could give it a funeral. And she did, flowers and all.

But that was then; this is now, and I helplessly watched through the patio door.

Gasping with its beak open, the tiny bird stumbled to get up and then slowly began to fall to its side. It struggled to right itself again, stretching its one wing and one leg, only to fall again. And then its neck began to stretch backwards as the nuthatch struggled for breath.

I found myself talking to it through the glass door, encouraging it to get up and fly away. I have to admit that I prayed as  I modified and whispered the childhood tune, “God sees the little nuthatch fall. He upside down nuthatchmeets its tender care…” I wasn’t sure of the exact words, but somehow I took comfort in knowing that God had witnessed this accident. I mean, after all, God DOES see everything. Right? I have to admit I felt a little shy about asking God to meet the needs of a little bird, and yet, at the same time, took comfort in knowing that NOTHING is beyond God, not even the plight of a white-breasted nuthatch. Matthew 10:29 says,“But not a single sparrow [nuthatch] can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” I had no doubt that God was watching this scene unfold.

Sadly, the little nuthatch continued to struggle, and I watched until I could watch no longer. I knew I would have to bury it, but what would I do if it was still alive and its wing was broken? The courage to watch it succumb to its encounter with my patio door evaporated and I turned away, refusing to watch it struggle.

I showered, dressed and continued to delay the inevitable. When I finally looked again, I discovered that it didn’t have a broken wing, neither did I have to bury it. It was GONE! I checked under the deck chairs and table and there was no little nuthatch! It had flown away! I stood in the sunlight and smiled skyward, thanking God for answering my child-like prayer and meeting the needs of a little bird.

Such a small, perhaps insignificant story in a world where the illness of friends and loved ones is far more grievous, when cancer invades homes or the enemy takes delight in family division. But in those few moments of helplessly watching the plight of a small bird, I was reminded of God’s mercy and love, of His ever-presence. If He sees a fallen bird and meets its needs, how much more does He love and care for me and for all those who are hurting?

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.


He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too
Maria Straub, (1874)


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  1. Susan Duke

    Ahhhhhh….such a touching story reminding us of the hymn we used to sing as a young child. ????

  2. Kimberly Matthisen

    Such a good reminder Ruth of the love and care God has for me. Thanks!

    • Ruth Waring

      Sorry I’m late in responding, Kimberly. Glad the story was a blessings to you. Remember, I meant what I said about coming this way if you need some time away. Of course, you can always bring your sidekick:~)

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