We had an unpleasant incident in the back yard a few weeks ago and I am left with an image I can’t erase from my mind. Before I relate what happened, I need to remind you of our ongoing battle with squirrels. While I still think they are fun to watch as long as they stay away from my house, they have caused so much damage that I feel like I am at war with a cute, furry enemy. I understand they are just doing what squirrels do and I really would like to peacefully coexist with them, but they are continually tearing up the cushions on my patio furniture in order to line their nests with the stuffing. Pretty smart, but costly to me! When they are not doing that they are trying to find ways to chew their way into my attic or antagonize my dogs. As a matter of fact, Max and Ruby are sitting on the back of the sofa next to me, barking loudly at a squirrel who is sitting about a foot away, separated by a window. I think the squirrel is laughing.
And this is where the story begins. Max and Ruby have chased the squirrels since they were puppies. I have always just laughed at it because those squirrels are way too fast and too smart. Ruby especially pursues them. As you can see from the picture, she has a long vertical leap and would climb the tree if she could! Whenever I let the dogs out, she runs for that tree hoping to chase a squirrel.
A few weeks ago when I let the dogs out, I watched Ruby run for the tree as usual. Then I heard the scream! I didn’t know a squirrel could make that noise, but I instantly knew what happened. At first it looked like Ruby had nipped its tail, and I thought it would get away as it continued to climb. But then it dropped to the ground. I quickly screamed for Jerry to come out. Max was barking and Ruby was shaking the squirrel like a rag doll. Miraculously both dogs remembered the commands, ”Drop,” and “Leave it!”
The next part is the part that haunts me. I stood over the squirrel, waiting for Jerry to come and do something, watching it gasp for breath. As it did, its eyes looked right into mine. I remember thinking, “This shouldn’t be.” Even as I stood there I recalled the verse from Matthew,
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. Mt. 10:29 NLT
I saw the dying squirrel and so did God. I wonder if He too thought, “This shouldn’t be.” As I have ruminated over this incident, I keep going back to the Garden of Eden. The world was perfect. There was no death, no killing between the species and no murderous intent between humans. There was no COVID, no riots, no dirty politics, no anger, and no hatred. You know the rest of the story. Satan came into the garden, and humans began doing what humans do. They disobeyed God and sin came into the world, and with sin, death. Before you put too much blame on Adam and Eve, let me tell you something I know to be true. I would not have done better. That forbidden fruit, those lies from Satan…they would have gotten to me too.
Sin and death. We have seen and experienced so much of it these last months. How blessed we are that God provided a remedy when He sent His Son to earth to pay the price for our sins. If we accept this payment, we gain eternal life. When our earthly life is over we just slip into our heavenly life. Romans 6:23 tells us that the payment for sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ.
The things I see on the nightly news? They shouldn’t be. And they grieve the heart of God. If he cares about a sparrow (or a squirrel) that falls to the ground, how much more does He care about our human condition? His answer? Repentance. That’s a churchy word that means we agree with God that we are sinners, we ask for forgiveness and accept the sacrifice of Christ as payment for our sins, and we turn away from sin and follow Jesus.
Repentance is the only remedy I can see for our country. It will not come from a president or any elected official. It will not come from Wall Street, our universities, or our entertainment industry. It can come only from God. I invite you to join me in prayer, for both personal and national repentance, asking God to send a new Great Awakening.
Lord, we are a nation in trouble. The blessings we have enjoyed have come to us not from our own goodness or superior wisdom, but solely because of your grace. We have turned our backs on you and followed our own desires. We have gone after that forbidden fruit, and it has left us broken and dying. These things should not be. Please forgive our land. Return us to you. Heal us and help us to fulfill our destiny as a nation. We ask and believe in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.