Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Psalm 40:1-2 – I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. (NIV)

Have you ever watched a magpie chase a gopher? The other day I happened upon such a scene. I never thought of magpies as birds of prey, but I could see that this bird intended to have lunch soon. As I walked past, the poor gopher was trapped and soon to be snagged by a victorious magpie.

A recent experience helped me identify with the gopher more fully. I was in the middle of a discussion where I was trapped by narrowness. I was locked into seeing things as "black and white" or "my way or not at all". I prayed for the insight I needed, and Jesus opened my eyes by showing me the trap I had fallen into. He helped me appreciate the perspective of the other person, and I can now continue the dialogue that I am meant to have. After all, the magpie trapped the gopher since it needed to eat to survive.

In just such ways, God speaks to us when we are outside walking. He uses nature to be our teacher. We are reminded of the times when we are caught in negative experiences that snag us. It seems like there is no simple solution. It is easier to follow old patterns of behaviour, to think negative thoughts, and to remain trapped. However, the Lord who changes us is available to help us when we call out to him.

Answers come when we need them the most. God is like a friend, who finds the family dog with one paw caught in a trap, and sets the animal free. A timely word from the Lord provides needed insight, which we can use to get free of snares. It is up to us whether we decide to obey God.

Prayer: Lord God, when we are trapped, caught up in negative experiences that snag us, help us to call out to you. When we do seek you, loving God, give us patience and wisdom to wait until you provide the insight we need to get free. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Mary Jane Hanson <>
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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