One evening when we were finishing a lovely dinner with friends, we heard a wild scrabbling noise above the ceiling by our kitchen counter. Much as we willed it, it was not our imagination. Further investigation revealed a hole in the roof, wide enough for the fattest squirrel in our town to get through along with “his sisters and his cousins and his aunts.” Clearly something had to be done, for squirrels are not made to coexist in the same house with humans.
Fearless husband called the pest control man and then skipped town – a pattern that had already been established when mice were discovered in a drawer. The pest expert placed three cages on the roof with tempting globs of peanut butter. I took solace in the knowledge that the cages were simply to trap and then release a distance away. But I did not count on the pest control man’s policy to come by every 24 hours. When I called last night to report a large black squirrel in the trap, he blithely said he would be by in the morning.
My heart sank, for after weeks of benign weather, thunderstorms arrived. The rain pounded our house, the inaccessible roof, and the caged black squirrel who wanted nothing more than a warm, dry home and a peanut butter dinner. During a night of fitful sleep I vacillated between reminding myself that squirrels are used to the rain and shuddering with the sure knowledge that I was causing pain to a helpless animal. Above all, I prayed that God would release him from his agony. I remembered Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:29 – “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”
Sparrows have little worth to us, but not to God. Same with squirrels. God is active throughout their lives, from birth to death. He sustains them, and they are essential to His plans and purposes. He reigns high on His throne, but the least matter to Him. When I came downstairs this morning, the squirrel was motionless inside the cage. My heart broke. I cried and cried. But then I remembered the rest of the passage – “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” If the sparrow and the squirrel are in God’s hands, how much more the lives of His children. God will sustain us in our journey, He sent His Son to save us, and the Spirit to dwell in us. We can take comfort in that sure truth. But I still continued to cry.
(Let me recommend a wonderful book – “The Birds, Our Teachers” by John Stott. You will love the timeless lessons and the photographs!)