It has been a few months since the bitter, cold day that our sweet rabbit, Cocoa, gave birth to her four babies. I remember it clearly, though, because it had an impact on my life.
Since my daughter began keeping rabbits, I’ve been amazed at how rabbit mothers begin frantically pulling their own hair to line the nest for their babies. The first time our Cocoa had babies, she hadn’t done a thing the night before. By morning, there was a beautiful surprise: a soft blanket of fur covering all the babies keeping them warm. After birthing and cleaning, she had pulled her own hair to make a covering so they would live. It was a picture to me of the selflessness mothers and caregivers are capable of.
Imagine our surprise when, instead of finding a beautiful fur blanket covering them during a recent birth, we found that our Cocoa had given each of her kits mortal wounds that killed them all! Cocoa was not being the sweet mother we had known her to be. Another life lesson on the farm for my daughter, Ruthie, and for me.
Just as Cocoa once gave us a beautiful picture of motherhood and care, this time she gave us a scary picture instead. Sadly, Cocoa felt threatened. At the advice of our vet, we had brought her in from the sub-zero temperatures in hopes that her babies would have a better chance at survival. Our plan backfired, as she was keenly aware of other animals in our house. She felt so threatened, that she believed she needed to get rid of the evidence of babies to keep predators from attacking her. There was no way for us to communicate to her that she was safe and alone in a room where our dog and cats would not harm her. She didn’t know the truth about all that we’d done to protect her and her babies from the bitter cold. She smelled and heard the other animals and was operating out of instincts, unable to see the truth that we so desperately wanted her to know.
What a significant illustration this has been for me to ponder! I think that humans, mothers even, do similar things. In our emotions like fear, frustration, and hurt, we can turn on those we love. We may even give them mortal wounds. While these wounds don’t physically kill, they do fail to give life. As Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (18:21). We wield our tongues powerfully for either life or death. Like Cocoa, I’ve sacrificed time, energy, and my own desires for those I love. Sometimes, though, when strong emotions surge, I inflict wounds that fail to give life, leaving scarring wounds to the heart and soul of another.
Do your loved ones sometimes see another side of you other than the sweet mother, sister, or friend they most often know you to be?
If you have done the same, take heart! That is why the Lord came. He came to rescue us from our sinful flesh which hurts those around us. He came to rescue us from our selfishness, pride, and bitter spirit. He came to rescue and redeem this dark world where humans wield tongues of death. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
Christ also came to make us new. If we are in Christ, we are new creations, enabled and called to wield words of life and righteousness, rather than death. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are united to Him, wrapped and clothed in His righteousness. He gave us the Spirit and the Word to both teach us and enable us to live for Him. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds, you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Though He has conquered the power of sin in our lives, the presence of sin still remains. Though we are new, we still battle temptations to sin and hurt one another. This means we must cooperate with and yield to the Spirit’s work within us. We must trust Him in moments of strong emotions, remembering who we are in Christ. We must dwell on the truths of God’s Word, reminding ourselves that we are no longer who we once were; we now belong to Christ. We now have His very Spirit living within us who teaches, trains, corrects, convicts, and transforms us.
We are blessed, friends! Unlike the situation with Cocoa, our Father in Heaven has communicated his rescue and protection plan and the Holy Spirit enables us to understand! Hope is not lost!
I want to grow in this, so I’m asking this question of myself on a daily basis:
“Am I living congruently with who I truly am?”
I’m building on the question with others like it:
As a follower of Christ, am I living congruently with who HE is?
Am I living congruently with who HE says I am in His Word?
What are some truths about who Christ is and who I am in Him that can and should impact how I live?
These truths will fuel how I live the abundant life in Christ with others. They will shape how I respond to and speak to others. They will help me be who I already am in Christ.
About the Author:
Amy Jung is a wife and chief encourager to her pastor, Darrell. They have two children whom she homeschools on their hobby farm in rural Missouri. She loves to read and dabble in photography of God’s glorious creation. An education in theology (Covenant Theological Seminary) and biblical counseling and coaching (American Association of Christian Counselors) impacts much of her writing. Amy is a Christian Life Coach and founder of Cornerstone Coaching where she specializes in helping herself and others remember who Christ is and who they most truly are in Him in order that they would be encouraged and empowered toward growth and change. You can find her writing about these things at WastelandtoGraceland.com, where she creates courses and asks significant, weekly questions to assist herself and others to turn, once again, toward gospel-centered thinking and living.