Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Master The Tempest Is Raging"1 (Lyrics)
The warning was clear: "Back off!" I'll never forget it. I had been calmly strolling down the farm lane when suddenly, I found myself being chased by a raging gander, spewing hisses and honks. He swiftly approached me with outstretched neck and powerful wings. Needless to say, I ran as fast as I could, for the wings of an angry goose can crack your bones. I had often walked past geese on our family farm, but on this particular day, one gander felt the need to jealously protect his brood.
That event is embedded in my mind as an image of my heavenly Father's jealous love for me. With glaring eyes and unyielding fury, He drives off would-be dangers, most of which I'll never know. His warning is unmistakable: Back off! Don't mess with her. She's mine!
I base that on God's ancient promise to His people: "Whoever touches you [Diane] touches the apple of his eye." (Zechariah 2:8b NIV)
Over the centuries, many of the "touches" on God's people have been experienced as trials and testings. God has often used evil powers as purifying fires, carefully measured for a purpose, to restore straying sinners, to build spiritual maturity, and to glorify Himself.
Recently, I myself was touched by a somewhat warm "flame". I almost missed God's purpose for it. Only when I stopped stewing over the offence was I free to examine my reaction to it. That's when I saw some arrogance in my attitude. Praise God for that wee touch.
I believe that we waste much time trying to escape those God-sent touches on our lives. We fail to see their purpose. We just want out.
Yet, we're quite fine, for God is with us. He's protecting us just as zealously as that raging gander did. We can be confident that in God's time He'll deliver us, and "His fury will be shown to his foes." (Isaiah 66:14b NIV).
Charles Spurgeon notes that God's judgments "to his foes" rarely comes as instant blows. More often they come gradually:
- … in the form of spiritual hardness of heart … left to wax worse and worse, till they have become so hardened in sin that they "breathed out threatenings against the saints"… . No sermon has had power to move them; no truth could awaken them; no warnings of Providence could alarm them."
– The Lord's Care of His People
Thus, by their spiritual resistance, respectable people can subtly, gradually, become foes of God and inflict threats against His people. Certainly, in the gander episode, I couldn't see how I had become a dangerous threat. But if I had wandered into the flock, I might have trampled on some goslings without even noticing. Those tiny, vulnerable creatures couldn't have done a thing to protect themselves. Trying would have been foolish.
That's true for us, too, if we picture ourselves as those fluffy little goslings. It is ridiculously foolish to manage opposing threats ourselves. It's too dangerous. Let's not even try it. God alone can shout, "Back off!" with true power behind His warning.
Prayer: Lord, we confidently praise You, declaring, with You on our side, we will not fear what mere mortals can do. Amen.