But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)
A few weeks ago, after a twilight bike ride, I heard a soft whoo from the tree above my head. I followed the direction of the sound, but could not see anything in the dusky light. I told husband to listen and soon, he spotted a small owl perched on an oak branch. We watched it for a minute before husband insisted I come inside and fix his dinner. The wonder of having an owl in my yard didn’t leave me so when I heard that the place where Vicki volunteers was selling owl boxes, I asked her for two. Vicki kindly delivered them last week, and husband put them up for me a few days ago. The cleverly written directions that came with the box refer to the property owner as the “landlord” and the owls as “tenants”. They clearly stated the height of the box should be at least ten feet from the ground, twenty feet from the house, face any direction but north and be level (although a slight tilt downward or frontward is acceptable). In answer to the question about how soon to expect “tenants”, the directions say, “Occupancy might be immediate or it may take a couple of years (or maybe never at all, especially if the owls in your area already have a favorite hollow). Amazingly, several landlords had their first owl tenant just one day after mounting their owl house while others have taken years! With luck, your owl house could become occupied by an owl soon. If so, enjoy watching as the bird will often snooze or stretch in the entrance hole.” Imagine! I could have “tenants” the next day and watch them stretch right outside my dining room window! While Vicki warned me of the caveat that they might never come, I have high hopes that two families will soon be roosting in my yard. Husband just laughs and asks if I want him to install “Vacancy” signs surrounding by flashing Christmas lights in the trees. The next morning, I could not see any owls making themselves at home. I contemplated how to make the houses more inviting as I went out to the barn to feed horses. There, I found two mice in a muck bucket. They fell in and couldn’t get out. Surely this was an omen! One mouse for each owl box. A “Welcome Wagon basket” for my new “tenants”! I couldn’t do it though. Despite their beady eyes and the memory of teeth marks on my saddle, I didn’t have it in me and released them. But, not until I carried the bucket next door to my parents’ property! The little rodents scampered right up a tree so might just end up in someone’s belly after all. They didn’t deserve my compassion, but I set them free. As sinners, we don’t deserve release from our transgressions either, but Jesus Christ came to give salvation. Not because we are worthy, but just because He loves us.