Fritz, our large, six-year-old, orange tabby house cat, trotted happily out the door with me onto our front porch. With tail held high, he bounced by my side into the hot, humid August afternoon.
Every day, Fritz would take his “walkabout.” He would take off on a long circuit of his world here on our Tennessee ridge. He is usually gone a couple of hours, returning in time for his supper in the late afternoon. Our property borders a Wildlife Management Area along the Duck River, which is designated a National Scenic River along this miles-long stretch.
The Wildlife Management Area means wildlife is protected, and because of this, we are used to a wide variety of creatures and critters meandering through our yard—deer, turkeys, ’possums, raccoons, skunks, foxes, boar, and a host of the other usual suspects. Fritz is familiar with all these, and despite being quite territorial and possessive of his ridge to other male cats, he adopts a live-and-let-live attitude with nearly all wildlife. I’ve seen a flock of turkeys pass peacefully around him as he lounged lazily on a rock in the middle of them. (Rodents and snakes are another story, however. Frequently, Fritz will proudly bring those home as gifts … sometimes while they are still wiggling.)
But this day differed. Fritz took a couple of steps onto the porch and froze. His nostrils went into overdrive. Hopping up on a table for a better look, he slowly scanned the front yard while tasting the air, his tail occasionally swishing with concern. Eventually, he focused on the thick woods that border the eastern edge of our property, the tree line about a hundred feet away.
His body went rigid, and his hackles rose. His tail sliced the air. Occasionally, he would look back over his shoulder at me to make sure I was still close, his green eyes as wide as quarters. Something was out there. A something he didn’t like and even feared—and I have rarely seen Fritz fear anything. Cats aren’t called nature’s gunslingers for no reason.
I didn’t see a thing. I scanned the area carefully with binoculars but saw nothing. When I got up to go back inside, Fritz dashed to the door with me and slipped safely back into the house. Definitely no walkabout today.
Fritz sensed something he couldn’t see, and he heeded that warning. I, too, have an early warning system. God’s wonderful gift, His Comforter, His presence in the form of His Holy Spirit, lives in me. The Spirit sees things I don’t, sees across time, teaches me, and helps guide me through the hidden dangers of this fallen world. Often, my problem is stilling the clutter in my mind long enough to hear the Holy Spirit’s soft voice speaking. I must focus on God’s Word, let His peace soothe the chaos that usually swirls in my head, and most importantly, listen for and recognize that sweet soft voice.
Are you listening for the Spirit’s voice?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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