I only see two options: either birds and squirrels have a death wish or they are completely oblivious to their surroundings. You've been there right? You're driving down the road minding your own business, headed to work, a game, home for the day and right there in the middle of the road stands a defiant squirrel. I know this sounds ridiculous but I promise you, I've seen them puff out their chest as they see my car approaching. With as much car traffic as a the average squirrel probably experiences you would think that word would get around the squirrel world that cars always win. It's as if squirrels have engaged us in a battle for supremacy on the streets.They will settle for nothing less than the title of "Kings of the Road". Of course right at the last minute they make a mad dash for the curb only causing you to swerve recklessly in an effort to avoid them.
Let's not forget about birds either. If squirrels are defiant species then birds are are the oblivious species. As I'm driving to work yesterday I'm watching two birds playfully chase one another in what appeared to be a game of "tag". I've always found it fascinating how birds can seem to change direction mid-flight almost effortlessly. As my car approached it was clear that these two little birds have completely lost connection with their surroundings, they were immersed in their own world. What was at first a precious opportunity to witness God's creation at play quickly turned south when one of the birds darted in front of my car at the last moment in an effort to avoid getting "tagged" by its mate....it was instead "tagged" by my car. If you've never experienced a "rearview mirror body check" then you haven't lived.
As I thought through my little crime scene I was reminded of how similar my own life is to the life of the defiant squirrel and the oblivious bird. Am I at times guilty of puffing out my chest in the face of what is clearly a dangerous circumstance? Have I convinced myself that I can handle what's coming without fully understanding the danger it poses to my spiritual well-being? Have I forgotten 1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." The devil is clearly seeking to destroy the work that the Lord is doing and when I stand defiantly in my own strength against the devil's attack I run the risk of getting "tagged" as I try to scamper away at the last moment.
I also wondered if at times I am choosing, like the birds, to be oblivious to the negative surroundings that float about me? Do I too often forget that I'm in a battle for survival? I can easily slip into a spirit of negativity, cynicism and "woe is me". If I want to be successful I need to keep my head on a swivel and constantly be on the look out for what's attempting to lure me towards complacency.
What about you? Are you ever guilty of playing the part of the defiant squirrel? Do you unnecessarily face off with temptations and struggles in your own power? Are you more like the little birds who fail to see the oncoming hazard? Do you get lost in your own little world and forget about the battle that lies before you?
Be encouraged and keep moving forward. -Andy