Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Have you ever gotten so busy in life that you just don’t notice the tiny things around you? You rush around from place to place at such a pace that the details of life pass by you in a blur? As a mom of two children, they tend to slow me down, even when I am in a hurry. They force me to pause and notice a flower, a police officer with a service dog, or even a turtle trying to cross the road. Sometimes I think it is God’s sense of humor, but more often than not, God uses the pause to get my attention.
Just a few weeks ago, I stopped in my tracks as I was leaving for yet another meeting. I was in a hurry but noticed a strange animal lying on the sidewalk outside my home. It would have been easier to just keep driving, but I stopped. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a possum. You know those ones that are “rabid, disease carrying and have mouths full of very sharp teeth? I had always been taught that they were “aggressive creatures”.
To make a long story short, I chose to stop and take action, because God was softening my heart to this creature that I finally realized was still alive. With the helpful ear of an animal rescuer out of Colleyville, we got the little guy into an animal carrier and I drove him to her. She explained to me that this little guy was actually not aggressive and just looked scary to protect himself. What I had been taught all my life about possums just wasn’t the truth, yet not only had I believed it; I had taught it to my own children.
There is a time for everything, and the time for me has been made clear. This is a time for truth, and speaking truth in love. Instead of passing on things that I have been partially or incompletely taught, it is time for me to investigate the truth in all situations. Instead of being scared of a possum and the possibility that he might “attack me”, I have now learned that possums can’t carry rabies and that they are truly nature’s garbage disposals, a gift from God.
Instead of locking my doors at a traffic light because the person outside of them looks different to me, maybe it is time to discover the truth about my neighbors. We are all created in God’s image and instead of perpetuating a story that may not be correct, I need to learn about my fellow man and then speak the truth in love. Isn’t that what we all want?
By the way, my story has a happy ending! Our little possum, whom we nicknamed Lazarus, was released back into the great outdoors about a week or so later! He got a second chance at life just because I allowed myself to stop, pause and be used by God. Let’s all keep our eyes out for God’s miracles waiting to unfold.
Melissa Hatch is senior pastor at The Mission at Prosper United Methodist Church