Friday, June 29, 2007

The Chipmunk

Shovel in hand, I walked to the back garden to dig up my canna bulbs. To my surprise a layer of sand coated some of the topsoil in the canna bed. I peered down a large hole placed strategically close to the garden and wondered what animal had decided to make a home there. After filling up the hole with dirt, I dug up the canna bulbs. Since my gardening was done, I had no reason to go back there for the rest of the season. I forgot about the hole until this spring.

Returning to plant the canna bulbs, I remembered the hole. My relief in not seeing one was short-lived, because the animal had dug a new hole a few feet away. I filled this hole with dirt. I hoped the animal would be discouraged and find a new place to live. It didn’t work. The next day the hole was back. A few days later I spied a chipmunk with its head sticking out of the hole. As I ran to the backyard, the chipmunk scurried into the forest behind my yard. Knowing the chipmunk was gone, my husband tried to fill the hole with water. It didn’t work. The chipmunk had built an extensive underground house and was determined to lay stake to his territory.

For the last two months the chipmunk and I have been battling for control of the backyard. He digs a hole. I fill it up. He digs a new hole. I fill it up. Gradually my backyard is becoming speckled with random patches of dirt, old holes, which I have filled. The forest is so close. Why doesn’t the chipmunk accept defeat and move his house there?

I can relate to the chipmunk. He has taught me a few spiritual lessons. Sometimes I am so short-sighted as far as God is concerned. I make plans and settle in my own little community without regard to the big picture. This is proper. The godly person “is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalms 1:3). The problem arises when the Lord wants to use me in another community or in another area of ministry. Do I dig in my heels and stubbornly refuse to change, or do I yield to God’s will for my life? I pray I will always be putty in the master’s hand.