The Fox and the Feather
Imagine a wild fox, hired by a farmer to guard his chicken coop. An unlikely story, indeed. Even more amazing, imagine the fox genuinely loved the farmer, who had found him trapped and dying in a cruel leg trap. Instead of killing the fox, the farmer released him. Being saved from a horrible death, the fox abandoned his wild ways and wanted nothing more than to live with the kind farmer and protect all those whom the man loved.
Every morning, the fox would get up and prepare for work at the chicken coop. Once in a while, however, as the fox passed by the mirror on his way out the door, he noticed, to his horror, he was wearing a bib. Worse, sometimes after a long day at work, the fox would glance in the mirror before going to bed. There, stuck in the corner of the fox’s red beard, would be a very small, solitary feather.
“Oh, my God!” thought the Fox, “What have I done?”
God certainly has a sense of humor. Shortly after I abandoned life as a career criminal, I became a deputy coroner, and thereafter designed juvenile justice programs for the County Prosecutor. Not too much later, I began to do undercover work, targeting international counterfeiters. As an ex communist revolutionary, forger, thief and con artist, I never imagined myself in a law enforcement career.
Even stranger, the LORD gave me the job of standing guard over the people of God, healing the sick, rebuilding the wreckage of many generations, spreading hope, disbursing gentleness, love and mercy to the broken, used and discarded. The Spirit of Yahweh gifted me with miracles and zeal, spreading His love deeply into the cracks and crevasses of my heart.
And yet, I know who I was before Jesus saved me from the trap of sin and rage. I was the Fox. Touching the hearts of the vulnerable, I was led by God to tend the very people I had fleeced, betrayed and devoured for so many years. While God was content to rest in the work of His love, I guarded His chicken coop, clinging to the promise He would save me from myself. At times, I caught sight of myself walking out the door with a bib on and, at other times, found myself horrified as I confidently ended the day, only to find a tiny feather sticking out of my red beard.
It is amazing how God so often gives His best to our worst. Emmanuel means He is always with us, even in the midst of the tumult, messiness and horror of our lives. He has entered our hearts to sup with us, eating our food, be it good or bad. The good news is we have also been invited into His habitation, to sup with Him of all that is His. God has made His tabernacle with man. He feeds His children with the heritage of Jacob, leading us to walk in our high places, while we test His long suffering and patience. Yahweh is confident the Love He has shown us will transform our hearts. He is so sure of His work, He entrusts us with the most precious of His possessions; our brothers and sisters in Christ.