When a young bird’s feathers and wing muscles are developed enough for flight, the bird’s parents will often push it out of the nest. With some species of bird, this can be a spectacular free fall from a dizzying height. With others, it’s not the fall they have to worry about but the predators that are waiting for them to leave the safety of the nest.
The danger outside the nest serves a purpose for the young fledgling. Its fear adds urgency to the need to develop new skills. If it learns to adapt to its new environment, it survives. With practice, it thrives. The fledgling gets stronger and develops the ability to fly, to find its own food and to raise its own young. The whole process is ordained by God to make baby birds into fully functioning adult birds.
Putting the process into psychological terms, you could say that the bird’s nest is for the baby bird what our comfort zone is for us. It’s a safe place, a comfortable place. It’s what the young bird is familiar with. But the bird can’t grow much in its first nest. To grow and develop skills needed for survival, it has to leave the nest. If the fledgling’s parents allowed it to stay, they wouldn’t be doing it any favors.
When we face a difficult and intimidating change in our lives, God is pushing us out of our nest. He’s forcing us out of our comfort zone so that we can grow and develop new skills, knowledge and understanding. While it may seem uncaring or even mean-spirited to force us to go through the change, you can be sure that God does it out of love. He knows that the only way to prepare us for the ministry He has planned for us is to put us into a situation where it’s “fly” or “fall.”
Whatever the result (fly or fall), God can bring good out of it. Romans 8:28 tells us that:
And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, have been called according to his purpose. (emphasis mine)
Even when we land square on our faces (or on our backsides), God uses it. He doesn’t waste anything. He’ll keep pushing us out of the nest until we get it right. Then, we get a bigger nest (a.k.a. our comfort zone). But we shouldn’t get too comfortable, because the process repeats over and over throughout our lives. Before long, God will push us out of that nest, too.
It’s true that God loves us exactly the way we are, but it’s also true that He loves us too much to leave us that way.