In “A Little Bunny and a Big Peach” I shared the story about the baby bunny in our backyard and how much she enjoyed the fresh peach we fed her. I invited my readers to pray with me that we’d delight in Jesus like she delighted in the peach. So many people thanked me for this story.
This precious story took a frightening turn. But it has a happy ending and God is using it to teach us another important spiritual lesson.
A Hawk Swooped Down!
We had quite a scare when a hawk swooped down on our bunny! Fortunately, our bunny got away and the hawk was only able to get hold of two claws of fur.
Now our precious bunny has two long scars on her back and an important life lesson in her memory! As you can imagine, she’s more vigilant of enemy hawks now! When a hawk is nearby she quickly scampers away into the bushes where she can hide in her safe refuge.
We too face dangers in life. The Apostle Peter teaches us to “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NASB). Or as the old version has it, “Be sober, be vigilant” (KJV).
Don’t be Scared – be Sober
Maybe when you read Peter’s warning or think about being the little bunny and you feel scared or worried. Indeed, Satan is eager to attack you with lies and condemnations, to seduce you into sin or someone else to sin against you, and so you must resist him. But fearfulness is not the lesson God wants us to learn. The morale of the story is to be sober and alert – for God!
Alcoholics in recovery will tell you that sobriety is more than not drinking. To be truly sober is be wide-awake and fully present to God, ourselves, and others. To be sober is to think alertly about things and to be ready to act responsibly and wisely. Be sober is connected to be vigilant — not be paranoid, but be vigilant or watchful. As Jesus said to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, Pray Before you Slip (my paraphrase of Matthew 26:41).
The importance of being vigilant is taught throughout the Bible. It’s an injunction for all of us, not just those of us who are prone to drink too much. There are many ways that we can be lulled into mental lethargy, emotional numbness, and spiritual deadness – and the unwise actions that follow. We can “veg out” in television or get lost in cyberspace. We may “pass the time” with amusements, get sucked into taking responsibility for other people’s problems, overeat, or simply deny our feelings.
If we’re sober and vigilant to stay close to Jesus and to obey him from our hearts then we don’t need to be scared — we’ll be safe from Satan, safe from sin, safe from slipping into destructive behavior.
For many of us it takes a dangerous encounter with a hawk to get us to wake up to our need to rely continually on God as our refuge!
Forty-three times the Psalmist prays to the Lord as his refuge and many more times this idea is expressed in references like being in the shadow of the Lord’s wings. In fact, we could say that the theme of the entire book of Psalms is to show us how in the midst of any situation – dangers, trials, blessings, worship, daily life – we can find refuge in the Lord’s loving presence.
And the best thing about having the Lord as our refuge is that we don’t have to run to the bushes to find him! All we need to do is to think of Jesus, imagine his smile, thank him for a blessing, or reflect on his words and we’re taking shelter in the “secret place” of the Most High (Psalm 91:1).
Where is this secret place? It’s the Kingdom of God right where you are. It’s where Jesus is standing, smiling to you with his arms open.