"I've written articles before about the ground squirrels who love my place. Cute to look at and watch as they leap from limb to limb, they can also be a destructive invader who robs you of all your bird seed and steals his needed construction materials from your house. A freeloader if there ever was one!
One day recently, I decided enough was enough and purchased a trap. It was not the kind that kills, but a humane one in which you catch him live and then let him loose somewhere else. It took awhile to load some peanut butter onto the plate and adjust the spring which would shut the door behind him and put him behind bars, but I managed. Then the following morning I went out to check the trap, and there he was...MINE! Placing him in my car, I went to church that morning with the intentions of releasing him near Palmer, which is about 11 miles from my house. The "problem" would soon be over with. So after services, I got in my car and started for home; along the way, I would find a suitable place to release my "problem". I drove and drove...all the way home! As I would look down at that little nuisance, two round black eyes stared up at me. This little tiny creature--so helpless and at my mercy, melted my cold, cold heart; I couldn't do it! I released him right back where I caught him!
Call it compassion or mercy, I felt like I had been conquered--my weakness exposed. I hate to even tell you about it, for I felt like a fool--one tiny squirrel had twisted me like a pretzel.
But as you have surely come to know, I look at all of life as one great lesson to be learned; whether it is through a squirrel or a leaf off a tree. As our spirit meets His, we must listen and ponder the deep things of God. That is how the Living Waters flow; flushing out that which is beginning to contaminate us, and refreshing us with that which nourishes and revives.
Come with me to see what I found in the kelidescope of His Spirit:
Have you ever considered the power of compassion and mercy?
For the receipient:
It wrecks our intended purposes;
It destroys the platform of our resolve;
It humbles us;
It melts away our stubborn pride.
We are left knowing that we are not the master over ourselves that we thought we were.
It was so in Luke's remarkable story:
"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." (22)
Jesus knew all too well what was in Peter. And Peter was to soon know it too, in Caiphas' hall. As the rooster crowed, one look from the eyes of Jesus was all it took for him to run from that firepit and into the streets of Jerusalem, weeping bitterly. Deserving of scorn, shamed into a torrent of agonizing tears, Peter could run from that scene, but not its effect. For there would be another confrontation days later, when Jesus appeared again as a risen Savior and approached that same fisherman where he had first found him--on the Sea of Galilee;
"Peter, do you love me?"
What incredible first-words from Jesus! "He speaks of love; when he should be scolding me!" Peter must have thought.
"Yes, Lord, I love you," Peter answered.
"Then feed my sheep."
A demoralized Peter, barely able to lift his head, was being chosen as shepherd of the believers! How easy to defend the Lord with a sword, but how painful to learn that there is a part of us that doesn't know how to handle itself when exposed to such compassion and mercy.
Two more times came the same words from Jesus' mouth:
"Peter, do you love me? Then feed My sheep."
No mention was ever made about his failures and boastfulness, his deserving of retribution. Yet a triple by-pass was being executed on Peter's spiritual heart that would forever change him for life. Peter was having a confrontation with what Jesus came to give us all: Grace. And Grace would be the only thing that could let Peter's tearful eyes look straight into His once again.
You see, my tale about the ground squirrel is really not so far-fetched from Peter's story. I think of farmers who leave a row or two of crops for people to glean for the winter ahead. My little "friend" was only thinking of survival., while I was thinking he deserved a new home, far away.
Yet when I looked into that squirrel's beady eyes...I suddenly recalled the same Grace that came from another pair that had looked into mine not too many years back. That's why I am not only feeding birds, I'm feeding a squirrel as well, despite his freeloading ways...
MARY E. ADAMS