What Are The Chances?

Swallow, Hirundo rustica

Several years ago my wife, and I were enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon at Laguardo Recreation Area—a popular fishing, swimming, and boating area on Old Hickory Lake near Lebanon, Tennessee. As we were munching on sandwiches and potato salad at a picnic table near the water’s edge, we noticed a bird dangling from a broken fishing line high above our heads. Apparently, an angler had snagged his fishing line in the tree, and the swallow later devoured the bait and got hooked. The poor bird flapped its wings in a valiant effort to break free, but then fell helpless at the end of the hook.

          After observing several rounds of ferocious flapping followed by exhausted dangling, we couldn’t stand it any longer. How could we continue eating while one of God’s creatures was fighting for its life? I stood on the picnic table, but the bird was way too high. I positioned our minivan underneath the swallow and climbed on top of the vehicle, but the bird was still out of reach. Then I tried to find help from a park attendant.
          At the front of the park, I noticed a convoy of orange Asplundh Tree Service trucks. The tree trimmers had pulled into the park for a lunch break just moments before. After I explained the plight of the bird, the men pulled their trucks around to our picnic table. A worker climbed into the bucket at the end of the long hydraulic arm and maneuvered to the height of the bird. He gently grasped the swallow with his gloved hand, removed the hook, and released the bird. The sight of that swallow soaring over the lake elicited an eruption of cheering.

          This story causes me to marvel at God’s amazing intervention. What are the “chances” of those Asplundh workers taking their lunch break at that very park, on that very day, and at that very moment we needed them? If God can arrange a whole fleet of Asplundh trucks to rescue a little bird, how much more can He orchestrate all of heaven to come to our rescue and aid (see Matthew 10:29-30)! An even greater wonder is that God invites us to collaborate with Him in this work of liberation.