our Shield and Defender

A commotion outside the window caught my attention.  Our mocking bird friends were in a frenzy, swooping and dive-bombing and squawking.

“What on earth?” I thought, pausing from our deep cleaning/purging project in the master bedroom.  From the upstairs window, overlooking the back patio, we spotted the culprit – the granddaddy iguana that usually keeps its distance and hangs out in the cypress preserve across the pond from our backyard!  Only this time, he wasn’t just on our side of the water, he was in the top of our bougainvillea bush – inches from the mocking birds’ nest where they had been tending to new eggs!

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During certain seasons, that iguana and his friends venture to our bank.  I am not a fan.  I try to tell them that if they stay on their own side, we might be able to stay friends.  But they don’t mind me – unless I chase them!  I scold them because they eat my flowers (my favorite Siam tulips are bursting with brilliant magenta color at the moment!) and make a mess of our bushes, sheering the leaves and branches down to nothing!  Just last week, we were forced to hard prune our beloved hibiscus plant back to stumps after that same granddaddy lizard destroyed too many branches to salvage.  My poor husband was so frustrated that he broke our broom trying to chase the critter away!

With fledgling bird eggs at stake, our battle reached a whole new level.  This time, they crossed the line!  It’s one thing to mess with my bushes and flowers, it’s quite another to threaten vulnerable baby birds!  Granted, our mocking bird friends may have chosen a safer place for their nest than our bougainvillea plant, so close to the water’s edge, but still!  Those pesky iguanas need to leave those eggs alone and let them grow and hatch!

Mama and Papa mocking bird keep a watchful eye.  They never seem to tire of their duty to protect and defend their little ones.  But the iguanas are relentless and more than once we have found them back in the top of the bougainvillea bush!  I couldn’t bear to see our feathered friends’ struggle and joined their protection squad!

Although we were finally hitting our stride in our deep cleaning of those closets, I paused to check the back windows incessantly every day.  I scanned the bank for creeping monsters.  I walked around the bush to check and recheck to make sure they were not sneaking past our surveillance.  The broken broom stood ready at the back door to fend them off (as many as 4 times in a given day!).  Those iguanas just didn’t give up!  I even called the biggest one a “beast” one day.

The whole scene reminded me of our own, very real and just as relentless enemy who can leave us feeling just as helpless and frustrated:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”  John 10:10

“Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  I Peter 5:8

What a thrilling thought to remember that we also have a Defender!  He is faithful.  He is victorious.  His care for us is far better than me checking the window 10 times a day or wielding my faulty broom as a weapon.  No matter how sneaky our enemy’s tactics may be, or how seemingly successful at times, Jesus, our Savior, will always protect and defend us:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:2

 “The Lord is my strength and song.  He has become my salvation.”  Psalm 118:14

 “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One.”  I John 2:1

 “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He ever lives to intercede with God on their behalf.”  Hebrews 7:25

Yesterday I commented to my husband that the backyard had become strangely peaceful and quiet.  The mocking birds seemed less edgy and the iguanas stayed away.  I began to fear that they had gotten all of the eggs, but Mama and Papa mocking bird had not abandoned the nest or each other and still seemed to be tending to it quite happily.

Today, with joy, I discovered a brand new baby bird peeking out of the nest!  I am excited to watch this little one grow and learn to fly across our back patio.  And I have to wonder if the iguanas retreated because they somehow knew the battle was over?  At least for that one new little life, they had lost.

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The thief may only come to steal and kill and destroy, BUT our Savior has come that we might have LIFE and that we might have it in abundance!  (John 10:10)

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We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender;

We go not forth alone against the foe;

Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,

We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

 We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,

And needing more each day Thy grace to know;

Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,

We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

 We rest on Thee our Shield and our Defender;

Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise

When reigning in the Kingdom of Thy splendor,

Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days!

– Edith G. Cherry –

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