Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Light Up My Life

My favorite kitten is missing. A soft orange tiger kitty with white feet and chest, Georgia Peach is only about two months old. This week she wandered into the corn field and never came out. Chances are, she got turned around and walked deeper into the corn that towers over my head. Maybe a coyote or an owl ate her. Or maybe she'll wander far enough to make it out into the backyard of one of our neighbors. Whatever the case, it doesn't look good for seeing her again. It's a sad thing.

Every night when we come in for the last time, I count the kittens and shut them up in the barn. On Monday night, the count came up two short--eight instead of ten--kittens. I sent Jot to the house for a flashlight and we walked the perimeter of the yard, surrounded half by corn and half by soybean plants. I don't need the flashlight to see my way around. The security light mounted on the barn throws off enough light to see what I need to see. I needed the light to keep track of the other eight kittens that romped and frolicked while we searched. It also let me keep an eye on the kids who wandered a short ways into the corn. When the corn is that high, it is easy to get in to a place where you are surrounded and then lose your way. Roaming around in a hundred acres of seven-foot tall corn after dark would be disastrous.

I shined the light into the corn and we called, "Here, kitty-kitty."A moment later, a glowing set of eyes peered from the field. Out into the light stepped Peach Melba. One cat down, one to go. We called some more, checked the garage, the barn, and the woodshed. Nothing. Back to the field we went where we had last seen Georgia and the calling commenced. For a few minutes, nothing; then another set of glowing eyes flashed in the beam of the flashlight. I turned the ring around the clear disk, focusing the light to a bright dot. And there at the edge of the field, eating the scrapes of food Jewel had thrown out after dinner was....a skunk!

Yep, in all his black-and-white smelly glory stood a skunk, not ten feet from me. I quick told the kids to stay put and we called to the other cats, hoping they wouldn't get too close to set off a stinky warning shot. Already I sniffed his musky scent and could just imagine my isolation if he spooked and sprayed me. I know skunks can spray multiple times and hit something up to fifteen feet away. I was in the "splash zone" and I needed to keep him happy until I could back up.

Mr. Smelly didn't really seem to mind that I witnessed his late-night snack and I had no trouble getting out of Dodge before he decided to challenge me to a draw. But God did use the experience to teach me a lesson: Light is good for showing the way, illuminating dangers, and keeping others safe.

Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." When I keep God's words before my eyes and in my heart, it lights my path. It keeps me from stumbling, it guides my path, and it prevents me from running head-long in to skunks of all sorts. Light keeps us from going places we don't want to go and from doing things we don't want to do.

God illuminates dangers and sin when I use His word to shine the light of truth upon it. How can I know what God expects if I never compare my actions to what He says in His word? Psalm 18:28 says, "You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." When I'm in the darkness of sin, God shines His light, shows me my error and gives me the opportunity to correct it. When I change the course of my direction, the darkness turns to light.

God's word used correctly can also keep others safe. If I had kept the flashlight to myself and sent the kids out to look on their own, I might still be giving tomato juice baths. But because I used the light to expose the danger and then keep the kids from it, we all came away from the incident smelling like roses. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Notice what God's word is good for: teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. Not one of those words means "to beat over the head until unconscious". God says His word is eternal and it has specific, good uses. He calls His word a light, but He also calls it a sword. Swords need to be handled with care or else what we had meant for the good of the other person ends up cutting off their left arm.

We never did find sweet Georgia Peach, but the light kept us from coming face-to-face with a noxious nightmare.

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