This week we were reminded of something that happened 6 years ago! One morning we found a little leopard frog by our door waiting for us to come and let him outside. All winter we had spotted him living in our basement in various places. Sometimes we saw him swimming in the pool of water that collects in the sump pump cavity. He always seemed healthy though we could not figure out what he was eating. He added a lot of interest in our lives and to others. But now he was telling us that it was time for him to live outdoors in the spring world that had arrived. How did he know? Seasons don't seem to change in the basement! Someone remarked how amazing that it knew it was "safe" to go outside now into warmer weather! That Froggy just went "South" for the winter into the basement...and now it was time to head back "North" up the stairs to go outside. Our basement stairs are just open wood stairs against a cement block wall to a landing where we keep a barrel for plastic recyclables. Then up more stairs where we have more recycles to another landing where the door is located. It is quite a trip for a little frog. He had to be very determined to make that many hops and turns to get to where he was going. What amazing survival properties in his brain that God gave that little frog! We were glad to open the door for him, but we missed him.
Last Sabbath as we were driving home from church, we spotted something dark/black out in a field. We decided we were seeing a groundhog/aka woodchuck. As we watched, the woodchuck began to run across the field, then suddenly stopped and rose upright to have a look around. Apparently he determined that all was well, and began to run again, once more stopping to rise up on his two back legs for another look around. Being out in the open with no cover was a bit nerve racking. Again, he decided it was safe to move on. It was then that my husband gave a short tap on the car horn. That brought Woody to an immediate halt and once again, he stood up on his 2 back legs. This time he took longer to look to see if all was okay and safe! After a bit, he must have decided to make a run for safety and cover! We wondered what he was thinking during his stressful trip.
The groundhog has several nicknames, including “woodchuck,” “land beaver” and “whistlepig.” Woodchuck likely originates from a Native American word, wejack or woodshaw, and may have roots in the Algonquian name for the animal, wuchak. The early settlers then changed to woodchuck.I have always called them woodchucks. When I was younger I liked to read a series of books written by Sam Campbell. He wrote stories of wild animals that lived in northern Wisconsin. One of the books was about the life of a woodchuck family that he called the Sausage family and he gave them appropriate sausage names. Those books were read and reread by me. Perhaps you know of the tongue twister devoted to the woodchuck. "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” It is one of my favorites though I learned a shorter version. I have never seen the wood a woodchuck chucked but the inside volume of a burrow was measured and was estimated that if wood filled the hole instead of dirt, the industrious animal would have chucked about 700 pounds of wood! One day I even learned that woodchucks don't always live on and in the ground. I saw one climb a tree when it was being chased by a dog!
Seeing the woodchuck standing on his 2 back feet made us think of other animals that can do that. We thought of red and grey squirrels, the streaked gopher/13 lined ground squirrel, bears, and meerkats. Meerkats are so amusing to watch. Animals that can stand on 2 hind feet show vigilance behaviour and it is an upright alert (on hind feet with back straight and mostly perpendicular to the ground). The tripod stance may be adopted relatively briefly during foraging, in which case it is termed guarding behaviour, or for substantially longer periods when the animal is not foraging, in which case it is termed sentinel behaviour. Standing is for watching for danger, to see the surroundings better. The idea of standing made me think about one of my favorite songs. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss: From vict’ry unto vict’ry His army He shall lead, Till ev’ry foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The trumpet call obey; Forth to the mighty conflict In this His glorious day: Ye that are men now serve Him Against unnumbered foes; Let courage rise with danger, And strength to strength oppose. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone; The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own: Put on the Gospel armor, Each piece put on with pray’r; Where duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The strife will not be long; This day the noise of battle, The next the victor’s song: To him that overcometh A crown of life shall be; He with the King of Glory Shall reign eternal.
Standing means not being afraid of those different from me and being willing to show the love of Jesus to those in need. It means letting go of the critical spirit and reaching out to the world in need. What does the Bible say about standing up?“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” What does it mean to stand up in God? It means we will not bow down or give in or be persuaded to do anything contrary to God's will. What is the meaning of stand up? It means to defend, (stand up for someone/something) to defend someone or something that is being criticized or attacked. You've got to stand up for what you believe in. How do I stand for the Lord? Ephesians 6:11-16 provides us with advice in how to stand firm in the Lord. Standing firm in the Lord is done by putting on the full armor of God. In these verses, this includes filling your life with truthfulness, righteousness, peace and faith. To put on the full armor of God you must include him in all you do. Where do you stand in your faith with God? When your faith is challenged, remember that you stand on the Rock of Jesus Christ. His Word is a firm place to stand. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). In the Bible, we read a few occasions where God told His people to stand still: Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13); Be still and know that I am God. Just stand!
I am so glad for the little creatures God created. They provided us with lessons that are important for us, too. Lessons from little creatures are easy to learn. Lessons on God's care, His guidance, His timing, His protection, His way is best.