We have a family of raccoons living somewhere close. Several times at night I’ve heard noises on the back porch. When I flip on the light or step outside I find the mama raccoon and her four babies climbing all over. They love to eat the cat food we leave out for our outside cats, so we’ve learned to bring the bowls in at night.
I can’t help laughing at their antics. Mama gets pretty angry when I come outside, but the babies are so cute with their masked faces. I’ve gotten a few pictures and told my husband about them but until yesterday they always arrived too late for him to see them.
Last night our dog, Jiá, wanted to go out. My husband opened the back door, not realizing we had the whole raccoon family visiting. When Jiá saw them, chaos ensued. She roared out a bark. Mama raccoon chittered a high warning. The babies screeched. My husband yelled. The door slammed.
It’s a good thing we don’t have close neighbors or they might have thought a war had broken out. By the time things calmed down, three of the raccoons escaped through the fence. Two of the young ones, who are getting pretty big, were trapped in a dead tree at the edge of our yard. They were not happy. We got Jiá inside and, after a few pictures, we went in and left them to climb down and scurry away.
I can’t help thinking of some lessons learned from our unwelcome visitors. Lessons that would be good for me to remember.
Go where you’re supposed to go – God has a plan for my life, and I need to remember to stay on the path He has and not stray into someone else’s territory. If I try to do their job, or interfere with their walk, I simply make a mess that needs cleaned up later. Psalm 37:23 says,“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” (NKJV) I want God to delight in what I do, so I need to make sure to follow the path He has set before me.
Know your enemy – Those raccoons usually came late enough that they didn’t encounter Jiá, who can be rather fierce when her yard is invaded by critters. My real enemy is in the spiritual realm and often attacks in unexpected ways. Instead of rushing at me and making a terrible noise, my enemy is more subtle. By using tactics like discouragement and hopelessness, I am derailed from the path I should be on. To protect against this attack, I must put on my knowledge of God and His protections. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NKJV) To fight this enemy, I must be well grounded in scripture and have complete faith in God.
Get to a stronghold – The two young raccoons hovering in the clacking branches of the dead tree were in a tenuous position. They weren’t well protected. In fact, they were pretty vulnerable. On my own, I would be just as vulnerable as those babies. I would choose a place that would leave me wide open to enemy attacks of all kinds. However, as a Christian, I always have a place to go for refuge, a place of safety. Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in Whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (NKJV) No matter where I am I can turn to God, and I will have the shelter of His protection. I can rely on Him.
Walk in the Light – Yes, I know, raccoons are nocturnal and for good reason. I am not a nocturnal person, even though I do stay up late at night. Yet, I must remember to always walk in God’s light, whether it is in daylight or dark. It is essential that every moment of every day be spent with Him in mind, following where He wants me to go. Only when I am in His will is my life complete. II Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (NKJV) Walking in the light is walking in faith. This isn’t always an easy walk, but doing so will bring us such incredible peace.
We may not be scrabbling around on someone’s porch late at night, rinsing who knows what in their water bucket, or looking for free handouts, but we still face opposition. We still have scary times when something threatens our safety. Staying close to God and His word is for our benefit.