Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Raccoon Story Published in "The Upper Room"

I love to share my raccoon story. It involves an experience of learning Christ’s way of forgiveness during the early years of my ministry. The full story can be found by clicking the raccoon on the right column of my blog.

I’d like to share a briefer version that was published in the September/October 2009 edition of “The Upper Room.”

“Raccoons at the Table”
Read Philippians 1:15-18

What does it matter? The important thing is that … whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. – Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

One night while we were wilderness camping, raccoons tore into a bag of trash I neglected to hang up. I rose early to find a mess. I pondered three simple thoughts. First, This is what raccoons do. Second, They really didn’t hurt me. Third, Next time I’ll tie my trash up higher!

God led me to write in my journal about the “raccoons” in my life, the people who seem to go through my “trash” looking for something – my weaknesses, scars, and unresolved pain – making a mess and causing me problems. One by one, I prayed for and about them, remembering the three thoughts above.

In Philippians, Paul spoke of those who “preached Christ out of selfish ambition, … supposing they could stir up trouble” for him. But Paul had learned to let go of anger at people like this. He said “what does it matter?”

Some people seem to rummage through our weaknesses, trying to “stir up trouble.” But anger, retaliation, and distress are unnecessary. As Jesus told his disciples, we can be “wise as serpents” and “harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:15, KJV). All of us, even troublemakers, are welcome at God’s table.

Prayer: “Lord, help us to face life’s troublemakers with confidence in your power. In Christ’s name. Amen.”

Thought for the day
Troublemakers are troubled people. Pray for them!

Prayer Focus

Copyright 2009 Stephen P. West, all rights reserved