Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Gentle Jesus Meek And Mild"1 (Lyrics)
During our evenings, my husband and I have enjoyed watching nature shows on television. We marvel over the professional, hi-tech motion photography depicting the world of wildlife. Recently, however, I felt the need for a break. It was getting too much, too intense. I was feeling overwhelmed by the relentless struggle for survival. One moment, I could relax and adore a cute baby. The next moment, my attention was whisked up to a hovering eagle poised to snatch up that little life. So it went — over and over.
In the wild, threats lurk around every corner: predators, rivals, or starvation. Survival is an intense affair, constantly demanding vigilance and strategic behaviour. That's true for us, too.
Ephesians 5:15-16 – Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (NIV)
The King James Version uses the phrase, "walk circumspectly". That makes me imagine creatures on alert. Their eyes are looking around — like radar — circumspectly sensing their surroundings. I think of our backyard chipmunk standing motionless on its hind legs with dark, beady eyes staring into space — so it appears. It's monitoring the surroundings for threats — perhaps that vulture gliding overhead, or that meandering cat next door. The chipmunk waits for an "all clear" before proceeding.
Our never-ending threat is of a spiritual nature, with dark forces of evil aiming to lure us away from God. In 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is pictured as a prowling lion seeking someone to devour. How might we become vulnerable prey? It could be through pride, complacency, worldly attractions, guilt, or anxiety over our survival needs. Perhaps, we weigh ourselves down with the cares of others — even animals.
I'll bet that was my problem! I was projecting my own anxieties onto the creatures — especially the more lovable ones. I admit that I'd be a nervous wreck if I had to live under their conditions. I couldn't sleep if I thought that a lion were stalking nearby. Yet, next day the wild creatures venture out again. They must go — in search of food, a mate, or nesting materials. They might not survive the day; calamity may come. But the cycle of life will continue, sustained by the Lawgiver of the universe. Every creature ultimately depends on God for every breath of life. So do we.
Maybe that's why Jesus used wildlife to teach about trust. "Look at the birds of the air," He says. "Your heavenly Father feeds them." (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
It is God who sustains life for creatures and human beings alike. Yet, there's one key difference: God endowed the creatures with instincts, but for us, He has also offered Himself in a relationship through salvation. Thus, we can rest trustfully in Him as our provider and protector — always vigilant for temptations that lure us from His presence.
Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You preserve both man and beast. Train us to be alert for anything that lures us away from the peace-filled security of Your unfailing love. Amen.