Killing things

I recently had to set up a mouse trap and to be quite honest, it was so hard to do. Not physically, but emotionally. For years I’ve thought, “Who am I to decide if this creature has to die today?” I know it’s just a tiny animal, but it’s a living thing that is just trying to survive. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, whether it’s the cutest puppy or the biggest possum you’ve ever seen. Take a scary one, for instance… alligators. Frightening. Deadly. Yet, fascinating. Remarkable. Same with sharks. Terrifying, yet amazing.

Photo by Vova Krasilnikov on Pexels.com

I have a neighbor that used to ask me to go hunting with him. It’s never going to happen. Can you imagine shooting and killing a deer!? Well, maybe you can. I have nothing against those who hunt, I just can’t do it. Again, who am I to decide when another living thing has to die? Especially creatures as beautiful as deer!

It even happens with insects like wasps, spiders, and moths, though. If I discover them in my house or somewhere nearby, I’ll diligently try to get them to a safe place outside… where they belong. Sometimes death is the only solution but not if I can help it.

I think this comes from my belief that all creatures have been created by God, and their (our) mere existence is an example of His beauty, creativity, and love for life. Why would I want to kill that? I can’t justify ending the life of something God has spent time creating and designing to contribute to the amazing, diverse environments of earth. I just can’t do it. Well, I CAN if it’s a wasp or bee stinging me, for example. Or a tick that’s trying to latch on to me or my dogs.

But you get my point, I hope. There’s just something to marvel at when a creature is out there doing what it was designed to do, and thriving in the world God created it in.

This post was originally going to wind itself around to human life, and my belief that people begin very early, like…. conception early… but I think I’ve said enough for now (haha). I suppose the post is more of a tribute to God, who’s creativity and imagination are qualities I can’t often comprehend. But when I see his creation in the form of animals and insects, I can thank him for it… and help those creatures live, even if it means strategically moving one from inside my house to outside my house. 🙂

Photo by David Hablu00fctzel on Pexels.com

-Out of the Wilderness

Contrary to popular belief, no politician can ever save us

I was working on a different post (my favorite U2 songs) and started writing about “Where the Streets Have No Name.” As I wrote, and then watched U2’s Super Bowl halftime performance I was flooded with thoughts. I’m trying to write them down now but mostly I can’t shake the thought that no politician, no man, no woman, no Republican or Democrat, nor any government in the world can save us. It seems like (at least in an election year), we cast all our hopes and dreams on the person running for office… as if our future depends solely on him or her. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. No matter who gets elected, they can’t save you. They can’t save me.

The place where “the streets have no name” is Heaven, just to get that out there. To me, the song is about dropping our differences and longing to be in Heaven… with God… where being with Him is all that matters. But while we’re on earth we have differences with people. We disagree. We fight. We tweet. I’m guilty of all of it.

The current of division in America right now is strong because so many people think they are right and the other side is wrong. Having a media that plays up the division just for ratings doesn’t help, either. So often I just have to turn the news off and voilá, I’m calm. Take a look at the next newscast in your city… what colors are on the screen when they talk about the news? Coronavirus, voting issues, politics, these topics are often scripted in red or have red backgrounds. This is very much on purpose to remind us of fear, being scared, and ultimately maintaining unrest. OK, that’s a little bit of a side rant!

As I watched the U2 performance, I sighed because I miss the America we were in the weeks and months after the 9/11 tragedy. We were united. Surely on September 12th we still had political, faith, race, ethnicty, many differences but I don’t remember any of those mattering. In the weeks that followed the tragedy, people from all over were going to New York City to help clean up. People were donating blood. The heartbreaking events of that evil day out of us brought the best, and to the back burner we shuffled the rest.

I sincerely hope we can be there again but this time by choice. We don’t need evil people to remind us that we are all born with a desire to find good in the world. It’s in our broken nature to care for one another however we see that working. But I don’t really see that much right now, probably because it’s an election year. Politics seem to bring out the worst in us. A tweet from a woman I follow on Twitter said it so well:

@SassyFNP

If anything, watching the U2 performance and reflecting on the state of the union, I was also reminded of the lyrics of a song by The Avett Brothers:

Life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected…

“Head Full of Doubt/ Road Full of Promise” The Avett Brothers

Sure some things go this way and other things go that way but like I said at first, no one can make you happy about your life. A Democrat gets elected? So what. A Republican gets elected? So what. How is my heart? How is your heart? If we’re waiting for a savior to come and preside over our great country, it’s not going to happen. People are flawed. We are messed up. But the good news is there IS a place we can go to fill the void we often try to fill with celebrities or politicians or protests or riots or boycotts or whatever. It’s not church. But the answer is often there. I’m talking about God. He’s been the answer for thousands (or millions, for all you evolutionists out there 😉 ) of years for all people in all circumstances.

I have placed my faith in Him and the One declared to be His son, Jesus. No matter what happens in politics, the ups and downs and the victories and heartaches, I’m SO glad my hope isn’t in the man or woman elected. My challenge to you today is to think beyond the differences you have with people. Think beyond the person we elect to lead our community, city, state, country. Ask yourself, and I will ask myself, too: What is it I’m hoping this person will fix in my life? And if the answer is anything besides taxes and better roads, let’s pray to God for that and give Him a chance to come through.

What do ya say?

-Out of the Wilderness

This is rocking my world right now

51YZhSQhAjL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve written about a book I picked up from Thriftsmart here in Nashville, a book by William Barclay in the Daily Bible Study Series- the Letter to the Hebrews. You can read that post here but as odd as it may be, I can’t help but write about it again.

Just in the past few days I came across inspiring words from Mr. Barclay. Of course, the true greatness is the actual book in Bible- Hebrews- but just check out these thoughts from the study book:

Finally, the writer to the Hebrews says that our Christian duty to each other is all the more pressing because the time is short. The Day is approaching. He is thinking of the Second Coming of Christ when things as we know them will be ended. The early Church lived in that expectation. Whether or not we still do, we must realize that no man knows when the summons to rise and go will come to him also. In the time we have it is our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can. 

I took the liberty to make bold the last sentence because, as the kids say, that line hits hard. I love it, and in a sense that is the simplicity and yet the impossible challenge of Christianity. For me, it’s most difficult when it comes to drivers like this and this. But we all have areas we struggle in, right? It’s like Needtobreathe sings in their song, “Who Am I?”… (scroll down for more about the Hebrews book!)

While I’m on this road you take my hand
Somehow you really love who I really am
I push you away, still you won’t let go
You grow your roses on my barren soul!

The next line in the book by William Barclay is this:

The appeal of the writer to the Hebrews is one that could be made to every man. In effect, he says: “Be what you were at your best.” If only we were always at our best, life would be very different. Christianity does not demand the impossible; but if we were always as honest, as kind, as courageous, as courteous as we can be, life would be transformed.

Rocking. My. World. Hope y’all are having a great week!

-Out of the Wilderness

Is being a Christian really this easy?

There’s a talk radio host in Nashville I love listening to and one day he had this most simple yet profound thought summarized below…

As a kid, all you really need to do is get good grades and obey your parents.

If you do those two things, the world will open up to you in ways you actually really want. Is your friend having a party? Want to go on that trip with your friend and their family? Dying to get that new Playstation game? Well, those dreams can be reality if you just behave and do well in school. This sort of blanket statement obviously has exceptions, but just imagine the trust between parents and kids if this was the norm.

I often think of my beagle, Piper. If you have a beagle you will totally relate to what I’m about to say. She follows her nose. Sometimes that nose gets her in trouble. It’s why she absolutely must be on a leash outside if she’s not in a fence. I can call her all day long but she will not come to me when she’s hot on the trail of [insert animal here]. There have been too many times to count where she’s gotten out of the fence, or escaped from a place of safety and been gone for hours. What she doesn’t know is that if she were to behave, she would actually have MORE freedom, more time off the leash. But without a doubt, if she’s off-leash, she’s off and running. I wish she knew that if she obeyed, she’d have a lot more freedom.

It’s a simple statement about Piper, and about a child getting good grades and obeying their parents. For each one, a lot of their life would be better and more fun if they just follow a few rules. It sounds so simple.

Then I connected this thought with the Christian life. God knows we are people prone to complicated webs of rules and jealousy and bossiness and selfishness and, well, I could go on and on… but in the Bible He laid it out in such a way that’s easy to grasp:

Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind… and love your neighbor as yourself.

Now I know that’s not as easy as it sounds but isn’t it pretty amazing that there isn’t a gigantic rule book to follow? Heck, even the Old Testament only had 10 rules (which were easy to break, might I add).

Even these two commands, loving God with our whole selves and loving our neighbor, is hard to follow because of our human nature but it’s a lot easier to give ourselves a chance and some grace knowing that with a bit of submission and trying to obey, we can actually have more freedom than if we try to do things our own way.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love for you to share in the comments below, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

His bow

I was driving towards a rain storm the other day and as soon as I turned on to the highway ramp my eyes beheld the most vibrant rainbow I’ve ever seen. You know what they say, pictures don’t do it justice… but here are a few anyway.

IMG_20200520_191157

It reminded me of the covenant between God and the earth, and mankind, talked about in the Bible (Genesis 9). This moment driving on the highway became worship as I admired the rainbow and the Creator of this art…. while listening to this song:

It was a moment, to say the least!

-Out of the Wilderness