Friday, June 10, 2016

Lessons From the Fox

We have new boarders on our property. No, they are not paying to stay here. My daughter discovered them and showed me a video she made of the 4 fox kittens. They are living under the shed in our back yard. As beautiful as they are my awareness of their untamed nature elevated the walls of defense within me. Immediately I thought of the stray animals that wander freely in and out of my yard; cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks, not to mention, the many birds. I also thought, of course, rabies.

The  next day we discovered not only were there four, there were 7 kits in the den and we began watching as Mother fox would return from her hunt every day to feed herself and nurse her young. To strengthen the threat, as I was in the yard planting my garden, I took a step too close, as I hadn't noticed Mother fox guarding her babies behind her, playing. This mother took a lunge toward me and I quickly retreated. No one was going to get between her and her kits! She sat back down as I cajoled her with my voice and immediate distance. Looking forward, all senses turned to any oncoming threat, she sat at attention for a good part of the afternoon and I was very limited to how far I could go in my  own back yard.

Contrary to other's desires, I called the Animal Control Officer to arrange a safe transfer, only to be told it is illegal to move them from their dwelling place. I guess they have Squatter's Rights. After a time of brooding and venting about my rights verses animal rights, I began to slowly settle inside. I thought of fear verses trust. I thought of my broken down shed now being a shelter for God's creatures. I thought of children, mothers, protection, diligence, and yes, I thought of hope.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made this statement in his inaugural address. "There is nothing to fear but fear itself". Fearing fear, hmmm. What does that mean? If I fear the fear, isn't that just as paralyzing? If I fear it in the sense of terrorizing me, yes, I am defeated. However, if I fear it in the sense of respecting it's presence but knowing it no longer has power over me because Jesus Christ already put an end to it's authority, I can destroy its effects on me.

We live in a society where threat is flagrant in our faces every time we pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, face a disease, a tragedy, a conflict of interest or a belief system that challenges our own. How do I handle the threats in a practical, realistic way and prevent the impending fear that swallows up all my hope?

I made a decision to remove the threat, only to get a flat out "No". Somehow that "no" began to settle me. I did all I could do, I took the action I believed in and now the threat is looking more like opportunity. As my eyes turn to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of my faith. (Heb 12:1,2), so does my perspective turn to hope. I found scripture that says "For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. (Pr 5:21) It is my part to always look at Jesus Christ. It is His part to always have me before Him as He sees all I am doing. He knows the threats, but when I look at Him, having done all I can do, I see the hope.

Will I bother the fox? No. Will I feed the fox? No. I won't tempt the threat to generate fear. I will enjoy their presence, keep myself at a safe distance and leave the rest to God.

Ever learning, slowly learning, one situation at a time.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Offering in His Hand

A little girl in bronze is holding a basket of firstfruits. Her head is slightly tipped looking so proudly at her offering. How can she be refused? Her willingness to give of her hard work, she arranged everything that it would tempt the senses and win her favor.

She is A statuette on a table in the corner of a restroom. Seems an odd place to display this precious piece of artwork. I wonder if the sculptor knows where it ended up. Maybe in his mind it would be in a large hall where crowds would gather, such as an art gallery, or in some wealthy home where it would be admired and discussed. Surely people would want to know of the creator's name and learn of his other work. Would you want your artwork that so obviously took hours upon hours to finish and perfect to  end up in a restroom?

What about my writing? Am I setting my sights on best seller lists?  Am I impatient, waiting to see hundreds of followers on social media? What if the only place it arrives is in a few hands, not even bound, but pages hole punched and tied together? Would I deem it valuable or would my mindset be of a lesser opinion? Is what I receive from God worthy of just one spectator or one reader? Am I to dictate where my offering goes?

There's a story of a widow who gave two mites in the Treasury in Mk 12:42-44. They equaled a farthing, which is 1/4 of one penny. Jesus observed her and said she had given more than all the others for it came from her poverty rather than her abundance. She took what the Lord had given her and gave it away. She knew she would be taken care of. How much could that one farthing feed? She wasn't concerned about how God would use what she placed in His hands. She just gave. Perhaps she had heard of how 5,000 had been fed with two fishes and 5 loaves of bread in Mk 6.

What the Lord gives us is for others, and we don't know how many will be blessed. I think our aim should be "do all  to bless all, but don't underestimate the value of one".  I don't frequently attend art galleries or enter homes of the wealthy. I entered the common restroom and found an uncommon, exquisitely sculptured piece of hope.