Last weekend we went camping at the beach with a group of friends. We are not seasoned campers quite yet as we learned the morning after our first night of camping.
Our camping neighbors in the tent next to ours heard wrappers shuffling all night. They wondered what we had been up to. After seeing my beautiful muffins gone, a bag of rolls torn into and a box of graham crackers taken we realized raccoons had been visiting our site.
Our friends laughed and said, "Don't you know you need to always put your food away, sealed tight, garbage put away from your tents?" Well, growing up in Alaska with bears and other harmful animals, yes, I did know that...but this is Virginia...so I figured the only thing we would have to worry about was a squirrel or two and some ticks.
But what we didn't realize was raccoons liked our site. And they loved our food! They had a special love for our chocolate covered almonds.
I had purchased a brand new jar of almonds from Costco the day before. We all love these delicious pop in your mouth (way to often) treat. They come in a plastic jar with a lid that screws on tight.
After the coons had made their presence known on the first night, we took all of our food and put it safely away. The almonds, we forgot. But had figured they would be safe from harms way due to their tough protective exterior...that the smell wouldn't be detected from inside the sealed, tight lid.
But late into the night, we were all awakened by a most interested sound. A sound that resembled a jar of almonds rolling across the campground site. Rolling over and over again, almonds rolling and rolling. It was quite loud, rather irritating while we were trying to sleep. Eventually the men got out of their tents with flashlights. But it was too late. The jar of treasured almonds were gone. No sign of the sneaky coon. Silence.
When morning broke, we saw the damage in other sites near ours, bananas eaten, trash bags destroyed. But the almonds, my dear almonds, were gone. How could they be taken when they were sealed so tight?
I thought all was lost...you see, I was craving those almonds. I loved them. All was lost until Calvin went running into the woods to see if he could see any sign of those blasted coons. Moments later, he came busting through the thicket with the jar...the jar of almonds. High above his head he carried the almonds...sealed tight. Although the plastic exterior had been scratched and was as dirty as one could imagine, the almonds inside were totally fine. Calvin didn't let those almonds go...he went in searching for them...for he too loves almonds.
Like Chocolate Covered Almonds in a safe plastic jar, we too need to protect ourselves. By building a sure foundation, by living the Gospel, doing those things that will protect our fragile spirits, we too will be protected. And although the adversary will do all in his power to roll us to an fro into his wilderness of despair, the minor scraps (mistakes we make), will not destroy us. And even if we are taken for a moment and make decisions that draw us away from our loving Savior, He will be there. He will come looking for us. He will make us whole. For He loves us.