Captured


He had Joseph thrown into prison—the prison where Pharaoh’s prisoners are kept. While Joseph was there in the prison, YHWH was with Joseph and showed him kindness, so that he soon won the favor of the warden. ~ Genesis 39:20-21

I have participated in capturing hundreds of live birds. Some of them were caught in mist nets as they migrated. Some were caught in hand-held nets after they had struck a window. None of them were particularly excited about the experience.

Most of the birds extracted from mist nets are small and thus not hard to contain. Those Saw-whet Owls were often feisty, nipping at us with their bills, which is not so bad, what you really want to avoid is those tiny talons. They don’t do much damage, but since they don’t use soap, those pinpricks they inflict tend to get infected.

Some of the birds that had struck windows in downtown Cleveland were so stunned that they didn’t seem to even notice what was now happening to them. Of course, that was not a good sign. The survivors tended to be those birds that tried to elude capture. We worked in teams for a reason, the extra hands were a big help. One particularly tricky catch was a Virginia Rail. Had it not be between a large concrete planter and the building, we would not have been able to chase it into the net.

The migrants were captured for the sake of research and the others so that they could benefit from rehab. None of that mattered to the individual birds in captivity since were had no way of telling them about the future. The data collected at the banding station would become part of collected knowledge that would benefit more members of their species. The injured birds had no idea that our intentions were to care for them so they could return to the wild. If only we had been able to communicate those things across species.

Perhaps that is the sort of thing that also goes through the mind of God. When Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and then jailed based on lies, he must have wondered how any of this could serve a better future. But God found a way to let him know through dreams that there was a way when there appeared to be no way.

Prayer: Holy Dream-weaver, we would welcome a clue about your plans, meanwhile we will try to trust while we wait in this net. Amen.

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