Do you have a ferret? Do you want one? You know—those long furry creatures that look like God decided to stretch him out longer than the others? Our daughter’s had one for about four years and he’s adorable, but what does a ferret have to do with our relationship to God? I’ll tell you!
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10 NIV)
We bought our last daughter her ferret shortly after her older sister left to attend college in Japan. That was a difficult time for her because they had been close, and even though we had no previous experience with this type of pet, I concluded it would be good for her. I was right. But more than that, this little critter taught me lessons—of all things—about God Himself, and our relationship to Him. So what did I learn?
Well, I got a little bit of a taste of how God must feel toward us when we are His; when we trust Him and love Him and look to Him for our survival. You see, this creature, whose name started out as Jasper, then Da Boy (and I’m not even sure what else—I just call him Little One now), is so innocent. He’s never, ever bitten me, not even by accident.
And just as we are utterly dependent on God—yet frequently don’t acknowledge that fact—he’s so completely dependent on us for every aspect of his survival that he’s also genuinely helpless—although I doubt he realizes this. We give him his food, his water, clean the cage he spends his nights in. He may not think about it much, or even realize it at times, but without us he’d be a goner.
He’s also genuinely vulnerable—although he’s thoroughly oblivious to that fact. He loves to burrow under our daughter’s discarded items of clothing that haven’t made it to their proper location and sleep there; if we aren’t conscious of the fact that there is a small living creature somewhere in that room, we can easily maim him or even end his life. Yet he has no clue. If we mess up and leave her door open, his natural curiosity will lead him out into the hallway and eventually to the landing at the top of the stairs, where he would probably fall to his death between the bars of the railing—because, honestly, we’re not sure he has the sense not to.
Which, again, is exactly our situation. Without the protection—and even active intervention—of God we’d be goners—or at the very least, our lives would be so much more difficult. Sometimes it seems we’re hanging on by the thinnest of threads and it is but that genuine grace of God that stands between us and calamity. Yet we rarely recognize exactly how vulnerable we are, and if we do think in passing how tenuous and frail our existence is, we typically banish that thought quickly.
Our ferret trusts the humans in his life completely. His existence is one hundred percent dependent on us—who are exponentially larger than he is—yet he trusts us, implicitly and explicitly; he is utterly devoid of any of the natural fear God gave most other little creatures. Which is exactly what our attitude is toward God when we know and love Him in Jesus Christ! He is so much larger and more powerful that we are—by His mere breath He could extinguish our existence and wipe our memory from the face of the earth! Yet, God doesn’t extinguish our existence. Instead He loves us with an everlasting love!!
He looks, as it were, for little piles of stray clothing on the floor and scoops us up into the safety of His hands; He lavishes His love and protection and care on us. Of all His creatures we are most precious to Him—so much so that He Himself—in the person of Jesus Christ His Son—became one of us; grew, lived, and voluntarily gave His earthly life to take on the penalty for our foolish wickedness and bridge the irreconcilable gap between our sins and His holiness.
So, what does a ferret have to do with our relationship with God? Who, or what, is our Little One? I’ll tell you; he is one of the millions of object lessons God has built into His creation to teach us about Himself, and our relationship to Him! You may say I’m extrapolating; that I’m seeing in this what I want to see in it. But I know better, because I know the One who wove together our world, the reality we inhabit; and just as you can see evidence of authorship in certain pieces of music, or art, or literature—we can tell when something was written by Mozart or Shakespeare or painted by Monet—I see evidence of my Maker in His creation.
Dear Lord God,
Thank You that You love me and care for me and look out for me and protect me, just as we, much less perfectly, do so with the little creature You gave us. Help us continue to look to You in trust for our existence! Amen.