Look Deeper by Rev. Kevin Petersen
It was late May or early June on a warm spring day. I took careful steps to insure that I was not interrupted by man or beast. I secretly put the dogs in the porch while I made my way to the pasture behind the barn. I thought things through thoroughly and knew that this was the day I would make history. Normally I would be reaching for my bow or my 880 Daisy pump action air rifle, but not today. Today I was about to do what no one has done before. I was about to capture a gopher with my bare hands!
While this may seem like an incredible goal, I purposely waited for this time of year to accomplish it. This was the time when the baby gophers were out and while I may not have admitted it, I knew that the young gophers would be easier to catch. After locating the perfect hole for my ambush, I lay down next to it with my arm stretched long and my hand around the opening. By applying my gopher snaring skills I determined that my hand would make a pretty good noose if I could lay quiet and still.
Now it has been said of me that I can be a little on the stubborn side. But that’s not completely true. Actually, I can be a lot on the stubborn side. After lying quietly for approximately 20 minutes a gopher appeared at the hole where my hand was. I could only see his tan scalp for a while and finally after about 10 minutes his head rose above my thumb. As fast as I could manage I closed my hand tight. Nothing; I didn’t even touch him! That little guy was quick, but I patiently waited for another chance.
It may have been 45 minutes or an hour later when he finally came back. 20 minutes or more went by and I thought he was standing tall enough for me to grasp him. As quick as a flash I snapped my hand shut! This time I bumped him on the head as he ducked under my grasp. More than 4 hours into my hunt I just knew I could catch the little guy if I could only wait him out. Finally he showed up again and I waited. Eventually that little critter stood so tall that he placed his front paws on my thumb! That was his mistake. With lightning speed I snapped my hand shut the third and final time! With his front legs tightly squeezed to his chest I pulled that little guy out of the hole! My patience paid off and I did what seemed to be the impossible! But instead of capturing a little one, I caught a full grown flickertail gopher and believe me he was not happy. As it tried to bite me I kept the squeeze on while its back legs scratched spasmodically at the base of my hand. While shouting with glee and pain I quickly put the gopher into the container I brought along with me.
I’ll never forget that day nor will I ever forget how mom wasn’t nearly as impressed with my prize as I was. But that didn’t matter. I learned a lesson that day in patience and while it may seem strange, that lesson still helps me today. If you practice patience and even point your stubbornness in the right direction you can accomplish great things. Galatians 5:22 tells us that patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Stubbornness usually gets a bad rap, but stubbornness pointed in the right direction keeps one from giving into peer pressures and continues to keep one faithful to the goal at hand. Today I am patiently waiting for the fulfillment of my faith in God through salvation and I am stubbornly continuing to serve Him with all of my heart. I pray that you too may find that same patience and stubbornness active in your life today.
Kevin Petersen is pastor at the Glendive Assembly of God church.