Last night was a first in the Johnson home. I was watching tv in the living room about 10:30pm, getting ready to head to bed when I heard Shaner yell from the bedroom that she heard a noise. “There’s something in here!” was the next yell that I heard, “there’s something in the floor!”
Now, we have had a mouse or two in our nearly three years of living together in our house, and I have to admit I was pretty irritated at the thought of having to put out more traps and clean up the mess that mice leave behind. When I went to listen for the noise she was hearing, Shaner explained to me that it was coming from the AC vent in the floor, and there was something in it. Something big. My thoughts were racing as a listened for the noise, looking down the dark vent. As Shaner had me prepared to see the head of a racoon or a giant vampire bat pop up in the vent, I finally heard the rustling noise. “I’ll go get a flashlight,” I said.
On the way back to the bedroom I was preparing myself to do battle with some sort of angry, vicious animal. I removed the vent and shined the light down, cautiously tilting my head over the vent to see what horrible face was going to meet me. There in the duct, breathing heavily but not moving, was a “5-lined skink”, those bluish-silver lizards that are so common in Georgia – quite suitably scientifically named Plestiodon Inexpectatus, as he was quite unexpected in our home.
I’m no stranger to these little guys, having a childhood of playing in the woods, and I knew that if i were to grab him by the tail I would likely be left holding a wiggly tail and nothing else, as these lizards can shed their tails as a defense mechanism. I had to have another plan. My tools of choice: a Tampa Bay Rays souvenir cup and a spatula. While attempting to rake him into the cup he freaked out, as I thought he might, and plumeted down the AC duct. “Darn it!” I thought, “we’ll just have to wait and see if he climbs back up to the top. A few minutes later, Shaner called me back into the bedroom to tell me he was back. Time to try again.
My second attempt yielded very similar results. As soon as the cup or spatula would touch him, he’d spaz out and go crashing back down into the depths of the AC duct. “C’mon!” I shouted. “I’m trying to help you!” But the skink was too scared to allow me to touch him.
Attempt number 3 came and went around 11:45pm with the same results. This time I was angry. “Fine, you dumb little lizard! Die in there and stink up my house as you decompose!” (Which of course was not what I really wanted, as I didn’t want our house to reek and Shaner wasn’t going to let me rest until I rescued this scared little lizard).
Finally, a few minutes after midnight, on my 4th attempt, I was finally able to flip the little guy into the cup and carry him outside to release him. I would have liked to have been able to know his thoughts at this point. Was it something along the lines of “Ooooohhh… you were trying to help me! Gosh I wish I had of gone along with the first try, it sure would have saved me a lot of pain and effort!” I know… it’s a long shot for a tiny, lizard brain, but let’s go with it.
How many times do we frustrate our Heavenly Father and fight His plan for us? I don’t mean that to place myself in a God-like role by any means, in fact I’m identifying myself with “dumb little lizard.” How often do we lose our trust in Him, and try to do things our own way? God knows what the result will be when we try to do things our way: more falling down and climbing back up.
God gives us a promise in the book of Jeremiah, “”I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). God’s plans are better than our plans. His ways are better than our ways. When might we learn to trust in His plan and His care, to follow Him in faith and allow Him to lead us to the future that He has in mind for us.
We may rest assured that God will never give up on us and leave us in the failures of our own plans. He will seek us again and again and again. May we pray to learn and recognize when God is giving us the help we so desperately need.