Posted by: bellissimanh | September 21, 2007

The Brazen Bandit

“Joel… Joel!”  My eldest daughter attempted to rouse my husband from sleep. In that lovely confused state of half-dreamland, half-cognizance, I squinted at her, shielding my eyes against the light spilling in from the hallway.”What’s the matter?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

“I heard some really strange noises outside. I don’t know what it is…. really freaked me out.”

“Ah.” That was enough information for this exhausted chick.  Tossing my arm across my face I rolled over and thought to drift back into my slumber.  When Joel had not returned to bed five minutes later, though, curiosity got the best of me.

Kicking decorative pillows out of my path as I made my way to the kitchen, I sought out my husband and daughter with one eye open.

“So? What was it?” I imagined a branch leaning on the house, scratching with the breeze.

Jessica was quick to answer: “There’s a family of raccoons on our deck!”

Sure enough… two of the little buggers were hanging out behind the grill, and one big fat (Mama?) raccoon was sitting there, smack-dab-two-feet-away right in front of me, with only the glass slider between us. They spied us and I expected them to scatter, and two of them did… but Mama just sat there.

We had received a box of day old produce (grocer gives it to the church each week), and hadn’t been able to use it all before it went bad. Joel had put the box on the back deck and forgotten it. Apparently one woman’s trash is a raccoon’s treasure. 

Remember staring contests in school? She’d have won hands down! She fixed her gaze on me and never really took her eyes off me, even as she pawed through her find. I grabbed my camera and started clicking. I had a hard time getting good pictures because the flash kept reflecting off the glass. I thought the flash would send her scampering for sure, but nope… she kept right on, focused on her task of emptying the box — watching me all the while.  I couldn’t get over her brazenness!

I sat for a while, watching her… watch me. Eventually she tired of the game and, snatching one more apple from the box, she waddled down the stairs and off into the blanket of darkness. I shut off the lights and returned to bed, forgetting the raccoon as I pulled the sheets and down comforter back over my head.

This morning, however, as I was spending some time meditating on God’s Word, my thoughts turned once again to the raccoon. As I replayed the events of last night through my mind, some of the raccoons habits reminded me of the way Satan tries to get to us. The raccoon wasn’t paying a social call. She was on my deck to rummage through that food… food that didn’t belong to her.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

How often have I let the enemy come in and steal my joy? Steal my peace? Every time I take my eyes off the Good Shepherd, I run the risk of giving away a bit of the blessings He has bestowed upon my life.  No one can take my salvation or pluck me from His hand, but I think that there are times I allow the enemy a foothold in my life and he robs me of some of the spiritual abundance that God wants to give me.

The raccoon appeared rather tame. I was fascinated watching her. She was so laid back that it seemed I could have opened the door and reached out to pet her. In reality, she probably would have assumed I was after her food and lashed out at me. The result could have been nasty scratches, or even a bite. Considering all the diseases she could be carrying…. ugh! Yet I was drawn to her and as I watched her, I found myself thinking of her as harmless.

“…For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14b

Satan has an uncanny ability to take what should be black and white for us and paint it gray. He takes evil and makes it appear good… and he’s been doing it since the beginning of time. Think of the way he tempted Eve in the garden. Using half-truths, he convinced her that disobeying God was in her best interests. That fruit looked mighty tasty… what could be the harm?  I was forced today to take stock of my life and see if there were things in it that shouldn’t be. Are there areas where I have allowed Satan to lead me to compromise? How about with my children? Am I teaching them a clear difference between right and wrong and making sure the lines don’t get blurred for them? I pray that I am. I’ll be more vigilant now.

I couldn’t get over how that raccoon kept her eyes on me, even as she was taking my food. She watched every move I made. It was unsettling.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Don’t think for a second that the enemy doesn’t have his eyes on you. He is pacing back and forth, his eyes flickering with anticipation of seeing you fall. He is looking for weaknesses and he won’t hesitate to capitalize on them. Only in the power of the Spirit and with spiritual armor can we fight him, and we need to be ever vigilant… because he is watching.

As I stood there, camera flashing as I snapped shot after shot, I was amazed by how brazen this raccoon was. She just sat right there… totally unphased by my presence. Even when Joel opened the door and shouted at her to “get out of here!”, she just looked at us. Her audacity was surprising. I figured she’d get startled and take off running, but nope. Not this raccoon. She didn’t care about us; she saw us as no threat at all.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Satan is brazen, isn’t he?  Turn on your television set any weeknight — on almost any channel — and you can see his handiwork. Take a look at our society today compared to 20, even 10 years ago.  The sin isn’t just there… it’s in your face! Evil is flaunted in this world of ours and it should shock us. Sadly, it often doesn’t. Have we become desensitized to it all? Perhaps. Is that an excuse for allowing the world to creep into our lives bit by bit? Absolutely not. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start standing firm in the Lord in this, submitting myself completely to Him… and I’m gonna watch the enemy FLEE! Hallelujah!!

Jesus often took commonplace things and used them to illustrate spiritual principles.  The mustard seed, the lost sheep, the fig tree, a fresh catch of fish… He took things He knew the disciples could identify with and then used them to teach a lesson. I thank Him that today, nearly 2000 years later, He does the same with me and my raccoons.

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Responses

  1. WOW! You took racoons to a whole new level!

    This was the line that nailed it for me. How often have I let the enemy come in and steal my joy? Steal my peace? Every time I take my eyes off the Good Shepherd, I run the risk of giving away a bit of the blessings He has bestowed upon my life.

    Awesome!

    Kate

  2. We just studied John 10:10 last Sunday in church. I love the second part of the verse where Jesus says He came so we can have life and have it abundantly.

    So neat that God used a cute racoon to remind you that He is real and alive working in you.

  3. awesome reflection on the word…I love how photographs help us reflect and digest things we don’t have time to think on at the time. Praise God for digital cameras!

  4. Thank you for your prayer for K…I teared up myself reading it. Sometimes others need to say words I cannot get out of my mouth right now. Blessings to you, mighty warrior!

  5. Wow. That was such a powerful read. I am with Kate – “steal my joy..steal my peace” May I NOT take my eyes of the Good Shepherd!

    I never thought about how he used the things the disciples were familiar with to teach them and now He does the same with us. So often He brings a lesson to light through the everyday in my life. What a great thought – just like He did with them.

    Blessings!

  6. Kate: thanks for the mention in your blog! I didn’t know you had written about raccoons (only found your blog a few days ago)… I loved your story!

    I think that sometimes when Satan is stealing things from me… my peace… my joy… sometimes he is staring right at me. I can see him there, I know I’m letting him rob me of what’s rightfully mine (peace, joy, patience… all of those fruits fit), and yet I sit there watching him do it and don’t do anything to stop him. I want to be more proactive in this battle. A friend was telling me today that she thinks prayer is the energy behind all the rest of the spiritual armor. Maybe I should start with that. 🙂

    Janelle: thanks for stopping by! I love that passage too! Do you ever feel that you’re just on the brink of abundant living? You know it’s been promised to you, and you can almost taste it, but it seems just out of reach? My goal for now is to really begin to live for Christ…. radical faith, lived out loud!

    Maggie: You’re more than welcome for the prayer. It’s my privilege and honor to intercede.

    Digital cameras ROCK! 🙂

    Mery: Nice to you! I’m enjoying your blog! Thanks for stopping by… 🙂

  7. Thank you for your comments on my blog today… and YOU actually inspired ME, too… what a good idea to look for things in Scripture that God delights in! I might join you in that…

    This post was really well done… in fact, that raccoon creeped me out a little, too! Especially when you equate the little bugger with the enemy, “seeking to devour.” Those beady little eyes… yuck! It’s a good mental picture, though, how clever of you to think of that!

  8. I love how you thought about what this coon reminded you of…. how Satan has a way, just like she did. I also thought – how persistent! No matter what you guys did or said, she just kept right on doing what she was doing. And isn’t our adversary so persistent? He’s relentless in attacking us. So much more than we need our eyes on Him… I’m learning! slowly. And, like you said, Satan sees us as no threat… only God!! I’m glad He is on my side!

  9. Jennifer – now I’M gettin’ creeped out! It’s all good though… thoughts of Satan SHOULD creep us out, no? 🙂

    Jonalie – Hey you!! So glad to “see” you! You’re so right… the enemy IS persistent. He never gives up… always looking for that chink in the armor. Best be praying, eh? 🙂

    Thanks for coming by… and speaking up! I love you, my friend!

  10. I’m going to echo Kate and say “WOW!” Really, really good post!

    I too, let Satan steal my joy and peace and all too often.

    I liked the parallel mentioning that Satan has his eyes on us waiting for an opportunity.

  11. “The sin isn’t just there… it’s in your face! Evil is flaunted in this world of ours and it should shock us. Sadly, it often doesn’t. Have we become desensitized to it all?”

    Your words ring true! We have to be aware of the devil’s devices so that we don’t take them as “normal” or “acceptable”. I want to live an exceptional life in Christ… great illustrations 🙂

  12. She thought you were sharing your bounty from God with her and her family. All kiddinig aside it never fails to amaze me how God sends us little reminders of His Word. Through these little masked bandits He reminds us there are those out there who would as you already stated steal our thunder and joy. Who would love to see us Christians stumble and fall. It is a constant battle and we need the whole armour of God to protect us. Thanks for sharings this with me as a reminder of His love and protection if only I remenber to use it daily.

  13. so cool thanks Heather


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