When I was 12, we had an English Pointer, named Sable. These dogs are known for hunting and every time they discern prey, they stop dead still with their one paw up and their tail straight as a stick. I hated it when my dad would go hunting, I would always cry when he brought back the poor dead animals. But Sable was so loving with us children, super intelligent, loved to hunt and was a real loss to the family when he passed away.
He went everywhere with my dad and they often went to the farm on weekends together for their latest adventure!
One particular day, my dad was canoeing down the river and Sable was swimming right next to the canoe, as was his favourite thing.
They reached their destination and left the canoe on the side of the river and proceeded to walk through the bushveld.
After a few minutes, Sable stopped dead in his tracks and assumed his hunting position. My dad looked around and saw nothing. He urged Sable to continue walking.
After a few more seconds Sable stopped again, whimpering, and his tail was pointing very stiffly alerting my dad to danger. Again my father looked around and in the long grass but could not see anything. Thinking Sable was overreacting to a large rat or lizard somewhere in the grass, he urged him to carry on walking.
When Sable stopped for a third time, my dad grew worried and asked him what was bothering him and tried assuring him it was okay.
Sable was looking up.
My dad followed his persistent stare.
His eyes led him up to the large tree in front of him.
From the top of the tree, looking down on both my dad and Sable was a large leopard.
Sable stood dead still, waiting for instruction from his master to pursue the kitty cat in the tree, while the colour drained from my dad’s face. They backed off very slowly and got back into the canoe as fast and silently as they could!
Just as real as that leopard was, the Holy Spirit is a Person, our Teacher and Guide. It reminds me to always allow the Holy Spirit to lead and show me the way, to avoid the leopard in the tree.
It makes me think how often I make the mistake of not heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come, John 16:13
‘I’ll just ignore that, it’s just my own thoughts…’
How often do I ignore the truth of a bad decision staring at me in the face?
When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, John 16:13
‘Just this once, I know I’m doing the right thing…’
How often do I pass off His conviction that the sin committed this morning was just “a little white lie”? John 16:8
Are we trusting in the Lord with all our hearts, not leaning on our own understanding, so that He may direct our paths away from wild cats in trees? Or roaring lions? (Proverbs 3:5-6) Do we acknowledge Him always, or brush Him off thinking we know what we are doing and are quite capable of making our own decisions?
Well, it can’t be that bad, can it…’
Do we whine about the trial we are going through, instead of taking it as a learning curve and receiving wisdom as to how the Lord works in our lives? I tend to have a lot of cheese with my whine! “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
I try exercising my discernment muscle with prayer, Bible study and obedience. Yet, it is so in my nature to want to lean on my own strength and understanding. The control freak in me says, “Lord this is a good decision, it can’t go wrong, surely!” ignoring the prompting.
But He has faithfully shown me that when I totally surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me and to leave everything in His hands, I am led away from the wild leopards, where no evil befalls me (Ps 91:10), and into the safety of His wonderful arms.