Squirrels and Grace

One day, a few years back, I took my customary walk. My walk is my treat to myself. I walk for exercise, but I also walk to get time to think my own thoughts. As this walk was underway, and the sweat began pouring (always the best, most productive part of exercise - every relaxation chemical your body makes, begins to flow when you exercise to the point of a light sweat) I realized I was enjoying the Lord and this day more than usual. I had been fighting some pain and sickness, and so did not expect this walk to feel that great. I began to contemplate the promises of God, to praise Him, to adore my heavenly Dad.

Suddenly, a pile of dead leaves rustled to my left, and I saw the very tip of a gray bushy tail disappear under them. I stopped on a dime, and stood, catching my breath, and watching this. I had never seen a squirrel tunnel under leaves before. He scurried along in a straight line, a moving lump under the leaf pile. It was hilariously cartoon-ish. He was headed straight for me, and I nearly laughed out loud at the mental picture, if he were to bump right on into me.

POP! Up came his little head and arms and chest. He was holding a small berry, and he was now so close to me I could have stooped down to touch him. No lie. Oh, his tiny chest was so silvery white, and his eyes so bright! He was just about the cutest thing I ever saw. He looked right up at me, munching away on his berry. He seemed to think he was safe, for the moment. I made little noises to him, and he calmly looked me in the eyes, and ate and ate. I do not know, honestly, how long I just stood there with him.

I was in love. I was overwhelmed with the desire to pet this squirrel. Foolishness, I know. I reached up to wipe the sweat from my brow, and still he was not afraid. I actually began to wonder if he was someone's escaped pet. I squatted down slowly, to get a better perspective, and marveled at the fact that still - he did not run away! I was painfully, delightfully close to him. I began to believe he might let me touch him.

Then, some nameless fear gripped him, and he ran off and up the nearby tree.

In that moment, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the Scripture, "All of creation groans and waits for the manifestation of the sons of God." The air around me seemed infused with a certain sweetness as the presence of the Lord flooded my heart. I don't know if I can put into words the "squirrel metaphor", but I will try.

That garden of Eden in Genesis was God's heart - His desire - for us. (You could have pet a fuzzy squirrel in Eden!) All creation fell when Adam fell - we lost our Eden. And just as every human being has that "God-shaped vacuum", that hole in our heart that only the love of God can fill, many animals also might long, in some way, to be cared for and protected by this higher creation called "man". But most will never experience it. (No, I'm not an animal rights person - this is going somewhere MUCH better than that...)

That squirrel was under a curse - the curse of Adam. That very curse was the "nameless fear" that gripped him, even when just inches away from someone who loved him. I realized, that day, that tiny squirrel would live its whole short life and die, never once knowing how he was an object of my delight. He would die, never knowing how good a gentle petting feels, never tasting the amazing things I could have fed the little guy, had he only hopped into my arms and come home with me.

I was sad. I felt downright stupid to be sad, but I was. There. I said it.

But don't you know? (deal with it- you knew this was coming...) We are that squirrel. We draw so close to God, maybe closer than we ever have before. Our faith increases, and He is so near! But one "move" on His part that we are not familiar with or comfortable with sends us scurrying to our tree, questioning His motives. We too have a "nameless fear" when it comes to God. Some people actually live and die never knowing they were objects of His delight. They never know His gentle touch, and have never been fed from His hand those delicious things like "the finest of the wheat", and "honey from the rock".

Not me. Never let that be me! I told Abba Dad that if no one else from Adam till that point had ever truly believed that He is good, I was going to believe it. If no one else in history had ever taken the promises of God, and simply trusted Him, I would. I was "having a moment", you see. But even one step in the right direction is better than going backwards. I am not at all ashamed of having spoken that way to God. I think He was smiling.

I told Him that I wanted His touch - believed in His love - would trust in His tender care - would never run away. I confessed that I had been redeemed from the curse, from every named and nameless insecurity that tempts me to distance myself from God. I said I'd been redeemed even in my faith: I would choose to believe Him, not my circumstances.

I had to say it. I had to remind myself of In Whom I Have Believed, because this world and the circumstances it generates, exactly like that squirrel, is in a cursed state. None of it will ever line up with God's heart unless and until a child of God comes and in childlike faith, begins to take dominion. Churches won't get built. Some orphans won't get fed. Habitations of cruelty will continue in cruelty. The gospel won't get preached - not without a child of God, believing God.

I decided I was going to take some dominion (which again, means simply to believe God) and jump right into His hands, and find out what He wanted to do with me and for me. After all. His eyes are always friendly, so full of love, and He is so close already, anyway. Why not throw caution to the wind?

I decided that if no one else had ever made that final leap.....I would.
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