Last week I went for my morning hike around the lake. Some mornings, when I round a particular bend in the trail there are two coyotes stealthily watching over the backside of the junior high school field. Sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not. For about six months or so, when I round that familiar bend I strain my eyes over the length of soccer field to try and pinpoint their location, and take precaution as to what I would do should these beasts become aggressive. Everyone knows that these particular animals normally leave pedestrians alone, but this area is in the middle of a family-filled suburb, and they still showed little fear. While the entire two mile trek has me speed walking, when I round that bend and spot those two, I decide jogging is fun, and end up running a quarter of a mile, all the while turning my head to make sure one or two of the mangy beasts aren’t foaming hungrily behind my Adidas. I become afraid- just a teensy bit.
This particular morning I spot them from a great distance. They’re at the edge of the school blacktop facing me; both poised to attack a pair of migrating Canadian geese picking seed out of the newly planted field. As I jogged by, my adrenaline kicked into high gear as the junior high football team hightailed it out of their locker room, and out onto the grass. From 150 yards away I realize these wild dogs are completely unafraid, and intent upon having goose breakfast regardless of how many humans were watching. About 10 yards ahead of me was a community janitor, changing out the running trail trash cans, and with one more turn of my head toward the hungry focused coyotes, I slow myself down, point, and say to this friendly looking Hispanic man, “coyotes!”
“No,” he remarked amiably. “Small, small dog.”
I probably looked at him incredulously, and say in return, “There are kids right there, and those are coyotes!”
This man has a glint in his eye, as well as an amused look on his face, and answers, “no…plastic…decoy.”
It took a second to register.
“SHUT UP!” I say with a grunting laugh, and a lopsided smile on my face. “They’re just plastic decoys?!”
“Yes, they’re placed there so the birds don’t land and eat all the seed that they plant there.”
I turn to squint about the 150 yards to my not-so-scary-anymore morning nemesis, and finally realize that they’re both poised in the same way at the edge of the field.
“Well,” I reply, turning back to my new friend, “I’m so glad you told me that because I’ve been running past this school every morning just to get by those two, and THEY’RE NOT EVEN REAL!”
I wave and jog off to both the sound of his roaring laughter, and my exasperated release of breath under my grin.
The thing about having a relationship with the Creator God of all existence, is that He speaks with you. When He becomes important to you, and you have ears to hear Him speak He will. Most of the time it’s through His Word, the Bible. But sometimes He speaks in other ways, and this morning was no exception. I live for moments like these- where I’m a different person, a better woman for it. To hear God tell you something, is a great privilege, and I believe He wants that personal relationship with everyone. Yeah, even you. But now I’ve veered off on a tangent.
God likened those two coyotes to life’s worries and fears. They’re not always there, but at certain times, and in certain seasons they’re there; poised, and ready to swallow you whole. God is asking for faith. In Him, in His Word, which is eternal…and by holding on to my fears it’s like being afraid of plastic, hollow decoys. Placed there by an enemy who has studied you, and has seen what has worked before, these decoys have fake teeth, and no dangerous claws except the very fear of what MIGHT occur.
This, my friends, is where faith steps in. Faith trusts in a God so big, and so real, and so full of love for us, we’d take any amount ridicule and laughter just to hear him speak to us again.
Ask the One Who Holds It All, the great I Am, to take your fears, numerous though they may be, and show you where the paint is chipping, and the seams in the plastic show through. Then, and only then, can we love the world in such a way that the Church can reflect the true and Living God.
Praying for you,