It was the summer of 1987 when my 9 year old daughter’s parakeet died. Kay was heartbroken. The remedy was a trip to the pet store. When we got there, a cage full of cockatiels was sitting next to the parakeets. Kay and I fell in love with the lutino cockatiels, a pure white bird with a yellow top knot and bright orange circle cheeks. We had to take one home. I asked the store employee, “How much is a lutino cockatiel”? Wait, what, did you say ninety nine whole dollars? We left disappointed and with no bird. Once again I felt the sting of never having enough money. Being a single parent was tough. I told Jesus how much we wanted that bird and left it at that.
The next day, my mom and I were sitting outside on the balcony of our apartment watching Kay play below us. A white bird in the tree across the street caught my attention. I asked my mom, do you see that white bird in the tree over there? She did not. I pointed at him again, waving my finger as if that would help her see him. She told me I was seeing things.
Undeterred, I went downstairs and made my way across the street. I looked up into the tree and saw the white bird. He was more than a white bird, he had a yellow top knot and bright orange circle cheeks. Was I seeing things like my mom had suggested? What in the world was a cockatiel doing outside?
It began to dawn on me that right above me was a lutino cockatiel,
the same kind of bird we wanted to buy no more than 24 hours ago, but couldn’t afford. The bird I had told Jesus we really wanted. I knew right then and there He sent this little guy to me. But why would God put him out here where I would never be able to catch him?
I whistled at him and he cocked his head to get a better look at me. Seeing his interest, I kept whistling and that’s when he flew off the branch. But he didn’t fly away from me, he flew closer, settling on a lower branch. I continued to whistle, from cat calls to my favorite 70’s tunes.
My cheeks were aching from non-stop whistles.
From branch to branch, lower and lower he flew till I could have reached out and grabbed him, but I was scared he would fly away if I did. “Lord, you sent this bird to me, I know you did, but how can I catch him”?
No sooner had I asked than a neighbor showed up and asked me if I needed help catching the bird. My daughter went to fetch our old parakeet cage. The plan was for me to keep the cockatiel distracted with whistles while my neighbor came up from behind to grab the bird. When my neighbor lunged for him, the bird instantly spread his wings to fly and in a commotion of feathers flying and shrill cries, some of which came from my neighbor- who was barely hanging onto the cockatiel’s wings, tossed the bird into the cage and closed the door.
I named our new cockatiel Naaman, bought him a bigger cage and loved him for 15 years till he passed of old age. I taught him to talk and he could whistle the Andy Griffith theme song without a hitch.
The miracle of this story is as vivid to me today as when it happened 29 years ago. Still gives me goosebumps every time I think about it.
God does provide for his children, our needs and even our wants. We have only to ask Him. He is Jehovah Jireh- the Lord Who provides.
Matthew 7: 7-11
7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!