“Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel…”
Some days start better than others.
Yesterday’s start was – well, the saying “This bites!” comes to mind.
And it does. Literally.
There has been a herd of deer hanging around this neck of the woods. It is now a common occurrence to slow down and allow a few of the critters to find an exit from the road.
Normally, this isn’t an issue. Deer are fast runners and they can dart hither and yon with ease. With the tsunami of snow that has accumulated this year, however, deer are using roads and railroad tracks as much as humans, for the ease of transport. They are the only places packed firm enough to travel on. Hence, the ‘slow down’ on the road bit.
Yesterday, the first critter I spooked up ran ahead of me for several yards and I allowed it space, following at a discreet distance- when I noticed something odd.
Something seemed to be – well, flapping.
On closer inspection, I saw that the creature’s rear right leg was dangling uselessly. It must have been broken clean through for it to flap around like that.
Something just hits you in the gut when you see a suffering wild animal. It hobbled into the bush off the road and I passed on soberly.
So emotions were already rising when I saw the coyote.
Turning as I was at the corner to head to the highway, the prairie predator was disturbed only a few metres away from the road. I looked a little closer as I turned.
My heart sank. I felt sick.
A second deer in the ditch was struggling to rise – and failing. It had fallen prey to the coyote, which had already been feeding on it.
I know, I know. It’s a part of the life cycle. It’s normal. But knowing about it and having it shoved in your face on the way to work – that’s another thing entirely.
It was a shock to the system, I’m telling you.
There was no action on my part that would have helped. The deer was past saving. But the image stayed with me.
And now, I’m seeing the lesson in it.
Here’s a dose of harsh reality – our earth is filled with predators.
It’s normal for people to prey on each other, from the snatched toy in a nursery school to the snide comment in the hall to the fisticuffs at the bar to the hostile takeover at the office – to the invasion of another nation.
But because it is a regular occurrence repeated ad nauseam through history doesn’t make it any easier to handle…
The Bible records so many cycles of violence – one group rising up to take control of another – and the sad and scary thing is, what is happening right now to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine is nothing new. It’s shocking and scary and sad and awful – but not, in the context of human history, new. The past is littered with atrocities and violence toward women and a greed for power and seeing it all play out before our eyes just makes us feel sick.
We feel so helpless.
All of us have felt the predator’s bite to some degree. Life isn’t fair. Some take more than their share, and don’t care what damage they leave behind.
It really, really bites.
So what can we do in the face of overwhelming odds, when the predators strike?
1. Be kind. Don’t be the one to bring someone down when you could be the one to give them a leg to stand in.
2. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Don’t look away – be real and feel the pain of another’s situation enough to be motivated to act. Be willing to enter someone’s story.
3. Pray! When you see a need, and feel helpless to stop the hurt, bring it before the throne of God. Amazing things happen when God’s people pray.
4. Get creative. Use your money, time, talents, and opportunity to get behind an organization that is already in a place to be doing some good.
The predator’s bite should shock us. It should move us. It should motivate us, push us toward action and compassion and social justice.
See, we are each one small part of a global community. We are in this together. We need each other.
And oh, friend – we need Jesus.
We need His purity. We need His power to live the way we should. We need His forgiveness for when we mess up.
And we need His love to heal the wounds we sustain by just living.
Find ways to be a blessing in your world with me?
Father, our hearts just hurt when we see the pain and distress and injustice in the world. Move us to love deeper, rise higher, pray mightier, and give more generously as we see needs before us. Amen.