May 28, 2024
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“The world is a great stage,” exclaimed the venerable St. Francis of Assisi, “on which God displays his many wonders.”

So true! And I’m struck yet again that some of God’s most beautiful wonders are on full display as the seasons change and God gives us a new view of the world we walk through each day. We have it on good authority that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. But the truth both of science and our own eyes, if we really open them, is that we have never stepped out our front door and seen exactly the same scene.

I find that realization itself filled with so much wonder that I can hardly wrap my head around it. I’m in good company. The psalmist, in Psalm 104, boiled over in praise: “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

Praise is exactly the proper response. Awe is more than called for.

Remember that I said that. Nothing I will write next is meant in any way to gainsay that reality. A “but” here is, I admit, completely out of place.

But . . . just a few lines down in the psalm I just quoted, the writer goes on to describe the “vast” sea, “teeming with creatures beyond number, and he talks about “living things both large and small.”

What I have in mind right now during this particular seasonal change is a small creature, the kind who usually comes with friends, who is not a sea creature but is a small, furry mammal and is well aware of autumn’s falling temperatures. He is not the most amazing of God’s creatures, but you have to say that he is, in his own way, a wonder of creation. A committee of the most accomplished scientists this world has ever seen would be powerless to create even one of his kind.

This little creature has a brain that is hardly the size of a pea, but he is as crafty as he is agile. My mother-in-law, a wonderful and wise farm lady who rarely saw much she couldn’t handle, was known to claim that such a critter could get through any hole larger than a pencil eraser, and she took defensive measures accordingly.

I hereby confess my own difficulties in the same battle. I seem to be incredibly challenged when it comes to vanquishing or destroying such a creature and his kin.

You’ve likely already named my nemesis. The temperatures have dropped, and it’s the season when we discover that the aforementioned pencil-sized or slightly larger holes and small crevices in the house evidently come with what such creatures see as flashing “Vacancy” signs and welcome mats.

For, yes . . . mice.

A better mousetrap? Folks keep trying to build one to catch, squash, cage, incarcerate, poison, and otherwise vanquish these little creations. When you ponder God’s majesty, you really do have to marvel at the immense complexity of even such an annoying mini-mammal.

For the present, I simply report that my wife and I have dispatched a few by various methods. I’ve willingly joined the fight. After almost five decades of marriage, I’m still pondering the wonder that my bride has kept me. But I learned many years ago to make peace with the fact that neither man nor mouse will have any real peace at all if the lady of the house is aware of a rodent intruder—intricate creation of God though it certainly is—who is still breathing.

I don’t offer this week’s column as anything very inspiring. I rarely try to “focus on faith” by focusing much on vermin.

But it’s worth pondering the wonder, albeit with some slightly mixed emotions, that the God who designed everything in creation from sleek stallions galloping across verdant meadows to majestic eagles soaring effortlessly on waves of wind . . . on down to, yeah . . . Well, it’s worth some serious reflection that the Creator of all creatures large and small is our Creator, too. And we’re assured in Scripture that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and, uniquely in our case, created “in his image.”   

Curtis K. Shelburne

Muleshoe Journal Columnist

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