Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pestilence and Promise

My recent blog entry on "Whack-a-Mole" therapy reminds me of a refreshing true story of the power of child-like faith. Years ago, while living in Virginia Beach, our lovely (and rather large) yard was invaded with moles that eventually turned a fairly-well groomed and nicely graded lawn into an ankle-twisting, weed-choked, battleground. We did all the research on methods to rid ourselves of these pesky creatures and, one by one, tried them all.

I first tried flattening their tunnels (foolish and futile), then flooding them out (fun but never found any sputtered creatures surrendering themselves to me). Next I employed the mole traps -- and even bagged one of them this way -- but they kept on coming. Out of fear we may harm our dogs, we at first avoided the poison pellets, but eventually relented -- to no avail (fortunately the dogs survived). For weeks I could be seen stomping down mole tunnels in a ritual that must have caused the neighbors to think I had gone native American! Even our best efforts at grub control (moles' favorite food) did not stop the invasion. Meanwhile the yard and gardens were becoming an eye sore and risky to navigate.

Then one day our youngest daughter Christianne decided to take matters into her own hands. Inspired by the promises found in Psalm 91:1-6, she and her mother ventured out into the yard to face this pesky foe. The passage reads: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

Together they claimed the promises, walking the perimeter of the yard as they prayed against this pestilence. Within days the most remarkable phenomenon appeared at the borders of our property: While no new tunnels emerged in our yard, suddenly fresh trailing mounds popped up in our neighbors' yards on both sides! These fresh mounds literally stopped at the edge of our lawn and gardens. (I honestly don't recall if we ever apologized to our neighbors, but we certainly empathized with their plight :-)

We live in a fallen world... one beset with troubles, disasters, famine, floods, earthquakes, devastation, enormous needs and neglect... and yes, with mortal bodies that are subject to decline, disease and death. Countless times God has intervened in our lives, in response to informed child-like faith, to stave off or reverse these destructive forces.

Ultimately, as we put our full trust in Him, we are promised a bright future secure in His love: For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" (1Cor 15:53-55)

Armed with many such experiences that confirm His faithfulness, we are resting confidently in His love.

Dr Dan

PS -- The fact that melanoma usually starts out with a pesky "mole" on the skin has nothing to do with the moles mentioned in this story -- or does it??


  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh so good to see your sense of humor come out at such trying times! Loved the mole story...once again...we have mole problems here in TN too...both with melanoma and in our yard. I guess maybe we should put the neighbor children (5 of our precious 7 grandchildren)to claiming this promise. We just don't want our neighbors (son and family) or us to have them...maybe the moles will go to the back door neighbors or to our son's neighbors?

    God's grace to you and your family.

  2. As we were out driving in the cold MI sun I read Psalm 119:49&50 and thought of you folks today. Continually you and dear Linda have proclaimed your reliance and comfort in the Word, such a powerful message for all to read. Yes your humor still rings out. As I recall years ago being in the office with our two little girls apparently fearful of perhaps a needle coming at them and they totally lost it, you stepped back, folded your arms and chuckled appropriately for a moment. Laughter is a gift. Your family does not leave our prayer attention. Blessings, Glenyce & Larry

  3. Dear Brother Dan,

    My heart is heavy and my eyes are watery as I think about your pain and suffering. I have thought for awhile about writing you some encouraging words at this time of your trials. I am not clever with words so I must turn to scripture for the answer. I know your love for both man and God, so I must tell you that you my dear brother have had a profound effect on leading all who know you to a deeper love and faith in Jesus Christ. Your response to the challenges God has allowed you to go through are a testimony to The Bible's description of a Saint.
    None of us know the hour that The Lord will call us home, but I know that when Dan is called he will hear those words of encouragement from Jesus “Well done you good and faithful servant.”
    If we can do anything to make your life any easier we would count it a privilege to do so.
    May Gods peace and comfort be with you and your family.
    In Christ Sean FitzGibbons