A few weeks ago, a resident of Suffolk, England found an owl standing in a ditch, unable to fly. Fearing that the owl’s wing might be broken, the concerned citizen contacted the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary. The Sanctuary staff examined the bird and conducted several tests to find out why it couldn’t fly. They learned that both of its wings were fine. The reason it couldn’t fly? It was too fat.
Now obesity among wild animals is extremely rare. So the staff assumed this owl was an escapee from a zoo aviary or possibly someone’s pet. Yet it had no tags on feet, nor did any zoo, sanctuary, or pet owner report a missing owl. The staff then tried to feed the owl some yellow chicks – typical captivity food. But the owl wasn’t interested. But when they offered it a field mouse, the owl snatched it immediately. This left them with one inescapable conclusion. This was an unusual case of natural obesity in a wild animal.
What had caused the bird to become so fat? The unusually mild weather and warm temperatures of December 2019, had awakened a plague of mice and voles. And with such an abundance of food, the owl simply ate itself silly. Somewhere, along the way, the owl found it harder and harder – after catching a mouse – to carry it up to the top limb of a tree. So it settled on a lower limb. In a few days it could only carry the mouse to the top of a fence post. Eventually, the owl couldn’t even get off the ground with a mouse in its beak. In little time, the overweight owl wasn’t able to carry its own weight in flight. It was grounded.
The sanctuary staff discovered that the owl was 50% heavier than the largest of this particular species. They named the bird “Plump” and put her on a strict diet for two weeks. This badly needed discipline worked. A few days ago the staff released her back to the wild.
A Healthy Mix
You know, we’d all like for God to open the windows of heaven and pour out such blessings that we will not be able to contain them (Malachi 3:10). But life can’t be all blessings. We’ll grow fat off them. Our hunger and discomfort will cease to drive us into God’s arms. With so much abundance we’ll lose our sense of dependency on God. Our faith will grow lazy and our spiritual development will slow to a halt.
We need the lean times. We need a measure of discontentment and pain deep down in our hearts. Additionally, we need trouble, affliction, and a spiritual hunger to drive us back to the only One who can satisfy and heal our hungry, wounded hearts.
This owl grew dangerously obese in the wild. A bird of flight became earthbound because of too many blessings, making it vulnerable to foxes and other predators. And it’s a fact that ease, plenty, and contentment can lull us to sleep and make us easy prey for the devil.
Affliction and Love
So please don’t curse your troubles or lean periods. Allow your affliction to send you into God’s loving embrace. Let your struggles be the opportunity to exercise and strengthen your faith. Blessings without measure will kill us in this life. Not until we reach heaven will we be fit enough to enjoy God’s limitless bounty.
We read of King Uzziah whom the Lord made powerful. But his power led to pride and his downfall (2 Chronicles 26:15-16). We read of King David who came into greater danger from temptation and moral failure in the comfort of his palace, than on the battlefield (2 Samuel 11). It was the abundance of King Solomon’s wealth and wives that drew this “wisest man of all” into foolish idolatry (1 Kings 11:1-13). And it was the Laodicean church which, in its wealth, had become spiritually “…poor, blind, miserable and naked” (Revelation 3:17). The psalmist wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” and “It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:67, 71).
Dear Father in heaven, please deal with me as You need to. You know that abundance and ease might destroy me. But You also know when my heart and mind grow weary of trial and tribulation. Therefore, please dear Father, lead me in the way I should go and discipline me as necessary. But cause all my affliction to drive me into Your healing embrace. Through Jesus Your Son I ask this. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/obese-owl-weight-fat-fly-suffolk-mice-voles-a9308426.html)