Sunday, July 10, 2016

Armed and Ready

Those who carried materials did their work with
one hand and held a weapon in the other, and
each of the builders wore his sword at his side
as he worked…
                           Nehemiah 4:17-18 NIV

     Recently, as my husband and I sat in our den, we heard a loud thump and felt something hit the outside of the house. Just as I raised my head and looked out the window, I saw a shower of white-winged dove feathers floating down along the outside of our deck. I stood just in time to notice a huge hawk doing somersaults over the deck and toward the back of the yard. By the time I got to the door, my nine-year-old gray-striped tabby, Rags, was headed down the deck stairs towards the bird bath where the hawk landed.

     Every bird in the neighborhood seemed to be watching and cheering for the hawk, and as Rags closed in, the hawk gathered himself enough to fly to a nearby low-hanging tree branch. Rags sat down to watch the stunned hawk as the neighborhood birds continued to sound the alarm. I stood watch until the hawk reclaimed his senses and continued his flight. After a few moments, the onlookers dispersed and Rags returned to his soft bed on the deck.

     While that is the first time I have witnessed this particular scenario, I have observed the gathering of the neighborhood birds on various occasions. Whenever a common predator is in the area, the community watch committee gathers in the trees and sounds the alarm. The cardinals and blue jays congregate with the black-capped chickadees and house finches as they call the tufted titmouse families and the Berwick wrens to join the fight. They will aggravate the predator, usually a snake, with their squawking and dive bombing until he finally moves on to a more restful area. Once the danger is over, they disperse and return to their daily routine.

     Watching this latest scene reminded me that as we step out to fulfill the calling God places on each of our lives, we should not have to face our common predator alone. Just as the Jewish people, with their weapons by their sides, worked together to complete the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, and just as our neighborhood birds gather to fight their common predators, we need to be alert, armed and ready to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ during an hour of need.

     One of the tools satan has in his arsenal is to divide and conquer. While I focus on the direction God is taking my life, I can easily neglect the needs of my Christian family and friends struggling to survive in their battle with the enemy.

     Although God tendered Nehemiah’s heart toward the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, Nehemiah could not do it alone. He needed the help of his fellow Jews. They worked together, weapons by their side, to complete the work God set in motion in the heart of one man.

     Today might be a good day for you and me to reach out and help a struggling member of our Christian family. It might be a good day to ask God to reveal the name and need of a fellow citizen in the Kingdom of God. It might be a good day to remember that we are a family, a community of Christian believers. I believe it is the perfect day to show someone that they are not alone in their struggle.

     It is a great day to be armed and ready to fight our common predator as we battle the enemy instead of each other.

© Joyce Powell


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