In the presence of my enemies


My beloved built a fire pit in the backyard last week.  It was a dream come true and we couldn’t wait to use it!   Friends were invited over to share our inaugural blaze. 

The fire was started before supper so it would be going strong when we finished eating.  After dining on Hungarian Goulash, we ventured to the roasting area.  Chairs were set up all around.  We each found a place and then melted into our seats.  You know how a fire is:  you stare into the flames and just unwind.  Watching the hypnotic embers sparkling from dark to light lulls you into a warm and cozy place just nigh of a nap.

 I had dished out apple pie and poured Dunkin Donuts for all.  We sipped and chewed periodically.  The chill in the air along with the crackle of the fire made it a perfect moment.  Mmmmm.

Suddenly, out of the cool night air came a blood chilling howl.  I froze and looked around the fire.  The others’ eyes were big, too.  A heartbeat later, another howl…way too close!  Our neighbor has a terrier.  It sure wasn’t him!  “Coyotes!” the guys said at once.

I still hadn’t moved.  What the thunder do you do when there’s coyotes?!  In the movies, men grab a stick of wood with the end on fire and wave it at the varmints.  Shouldn’t somebody be doing that? I wondered.

Psalm 23:5 flashed into my mind: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”   

We were warming by the fire enjoying coffee and pie while wild, hungry coyotes lurked nearby.  (I pictured sharp teeth.)  But isn’t that real life?  Especially 2020? 

Life is so unexpected.  First Peter 5:8 reminds us that we have an enemy:  “Be alert and be sober.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  He often comes out of nowhere! 

In Phillip Keller’s 1970 book “A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23”,  he compared a shepherd with The Shepherd, a sheep’s life with a Christian’s life.  Numerous times he reported that staying close to the shepherd is the safest place for a sheep to be.  It keeps them safe from predators (coyotes, wolves, cougars, and bears).  The same is true for us!  He wrote, “At all times we would be wise to walk a little closer to Christ.”

What is YOUR coyote?  What has arisen that has melted all your confidence or courage and has you shaking in your shoes?  Cancer, job uncertainty, job certainty (the same problems/conflicts day in and day out), loss of a loved one, marriage problems, heartache over a child, school pressure for teachers, students AND family are just a few that could be lurking around your campfire.

The good news is that if we make the LORD our Shepherd, He is strong enough, smart enough, big enough, and loves us enough to take care of us every day.  No matter what dangers or enemies come!  He tells us constantly in His Word that He is with us.  He will watch over us.  He will not leave us.  Shew and ptL!

My fire-mates assured me that even if a coyote came close, it wasn’t big enough to drag me off.  I still scooted closer to the fire.


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