I have a groundhog problem. I saw him this morning as I walked down the stairs of our home. The front door was open and the glass screen door revealed that a small groundhog, not very big, was rooting around in my front flower and bush area. He was unaware that I had seen him, so I snuck out the front door, picked up the hose and decided to spray him and chase him away. I don’t like killing God’s creatures but I know all too well from living on a farm in Northern Kentucky, how groundhogs can destroy a house or barn by weakening the foundations.
As I sprayed him, he began running and I was in hot pursuit. I was pretty impressive…running behind him just about 5 yards back. He took a sharp right beside my patio, and then…I saw it. Freshly dug out was a bunch of gravel…from under my own patio! That booger doesn’t even pay rent! I got mad and started calling critter control. Down here in the southland…you “cain’t git no free critter catchers… ya haif to pay fer it!” Still agitated, I finally found a guy that would come on Monday and charge me $199.00 plus $50.00 per critter removed.
I came home to eat lunch and rest my sore left knee…(Yes I was impressive but this big game hunter re-injured a former groundhog, er..I mean, war injury while chasing the groundhog…) as I turned the corner onto my street there was that varmint, running down the hill and across the street into another person’s yard. As quick as the brown fox jumps over a lazy dog, I ran to the hole under my patio, and began to fill in the hole with the gravel and dirt that Punxsutawney Phil dug out. Then, I placed cement pavers in front of it, PLUS I placed a pile of broken cement in front of that, then Piled the remaining gravel over everything smiled a big smile, dusted off my hands and said, “Ha! I fixed yer wagon you old galloot!” (I speak like Yosemite Sam when I feel victorious at times.) I walked into my house a hero in my own eyes.
But, it might surprise you that I am keeping the appointment on Monday, because as good as I am, I’m thinking he is going to wait until dark, then come back out from hiding and re-dig under my patio. Groundhogs are spiteful that way…they don’t give up easily…in fact I don’t remember any groundhog EVER giving up. In that case, it was always, “Two in the chest, one in the head, is the recommended dose of lead!” But in this one’s case, he gets a cage and will be the roomie of Comey and Brennan, rodents all!
Okay, it wouldn’t even be worth writing about except for my sickness of seeing a spiritual lesson in everything. You could set a pumpkin in front of me and I’d come up with something and if my readers know me, you KNOW I am an ordinary guy and not out to make a big deal out of things.
There are a lot of little varmints that we consider cute in our youth. Bad habits that are fun…lack of discipline with our time, or money or relationships or all of the above. We may have cuddled the little varmint of pride in our youth and have lost the ability to live humbly. We may have snuggled up with impatience only to discover it bites…and lost relationships. Maybe we used to blush more than we do now, but it went away when our conscience was seared and we allowed our eyes to look at anything, our mouths to say anything and our ears to hear anything. Little varmints seem fun when we are young, but unbeknownst to us, they burrow under our homes and begin to weaken their foundations.
It isn’t the BIG things that destroy our lives. It is the small hidden ones that burrow into our characters and we wonder why we can’t go back to who we used to be. We fondly remember when we took people at face value, but the memory fades because the foundation of trust has been undermined by our own critical spirits that live under our foundations. Maybe even former immoralities that we held fondly like “lost romances” in our past, find their way to the surface, and bring about infidelity and lust and…ruin.
This is my 61st year and two prophets this year both spoke Isaiah 61 and said, “Doug, this is your scripture this year.” I claimed those prophetic words.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me,
because the LORD has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release from darkness to the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of our God’s vengeance,
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to give them a crown of BEAUTY FOR ASHES,
the OIL OF JOY FOR MOURNING,
and a GARMENT OF PRAISE in place of a spirit of despair.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
They will REBUILD THE ANCIENT RUINS (FOUNDATIONS eaten away by the varmints we allowed under out patios);
they will restore the places long devastated ;
they will renew the ruined cities,
the desolations of many generations.
My own efforts will never free me from the destruction of the infected areas of my life due to my foolishness to coddle them in my youth. I can try piling up rocks in front of them, I can even pour new concrete in the cracks…but their HOME is under my foundation and they will dig new holes to get in.
This is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. Creation was accomplished by the Father, Salvation was accomplished by the Son, but regeneration and the job of making us Holy, Sanctification, is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
There is a new wind blowing across the earth…blowing out the dust, blowing out the past, blowing across your foundations and destroying the strong men who have deprived you of your innocence and beauty. The best part is, we don’t have to dig and sweat…we only have to yield…give up and allow the Exterminator to come in and rid our foundations of old, useless varmints.
They were cute once…the habits that have now grown too big to shrug off. They were the chains that we once weaved that have now become too strong and bind us as their prisoners. But…JESUS…sets us free, if we want to be free.
Those who have been called in the past, and forgotten their calling, God calls again and says, “come and take your place for the great reaping that is about to take place. Those who are new in Christ, God says, “I pay you the same days wage as those who have been laboring for years…Come and take your place for the great reaping” Come get the chains removed, receive the beauty for ashes, be anointed with the oil of joy for gladness, and put on your garments of praise.
This year, Bonnaroo will see hundreds come to Jesus… and sow the seeds for thousands more. Write it down…God is about to repair the foundations with a new generation of groundhog hunters!