Life Lessons, the Home Store and the Sounds of Satan

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
    Who is there to fear?
The Lord is my life’s fortress.
    Who is there to be afraid of? Psalm 27:1


With the advent of spring, I begin my regular weekend treks to the local franchise of that huge home & garden store, you know the one. Since I am not what you (or my wife) would consider “handy” around the house, those trips are always full of intrigue and mystery. Intrigue because I don’t know what half the stuff is and mystery because I always wonder why I even bother going.

On a typical trip, I pick an item from one of the massive shelves and turn it over in my hands, as if checking it for quality based on my vast knowledge of such things. Is it the right density, weight, torque?  The other customers are impressed by my apparent expertise. I know that. Only the workers in their vests are savvy to the fact that I’m examining it because I have no idea what the thing is. (Apparently it’s something that keeps plumbing pipes from knocking against each other. Either that or a roof polisher.) I know they’re chuckling at me back there.

The pain of these shopping trips is that I realize just how little I know about do-it-yourselfing. I’m always more comfortable when somebody else is doing it. In fact, I’m pretty happy if I can get the lawn mowed without damaging the neighbor’s garden gnome. Yet I continue to go.

Maybe it’s because that, once, while meandering through the outdoor garden center, I caught a valuable lesson about the Christian life.

I was reading the label of a bag of cow manure when I was jolted by the sound of screaming. Perhaps not really screaming, but screeching. Loud screeching, as if I had somehow been transported deep into the jungle. Yet, I knew I couldn’t have been transported to the jungle because the jungle doesn’t have those fancy bronze garden hose carriers with the decorative bunny rabbits.

The noise was coming from above. It was a hawk or vulture or eagle, or maybe a really manic pigeon.

It was none of those things, as you know, since you are way ahead of me on this. The noise was a recording of some predatory bird, a very annoying recording being played from some digital audio system run by a computer deep within the home store’s bowels. I don’t know what kind of bird it was supposed to be. I’m sure one of you will email me within an hour of this posting to tell me, again chuckling at my ignorance. But it was used for a very specific purpose.

On regular intervals, the nasty sound effect plays for about 30 seconds. It’s this home store’s very calculated attempt at keeping real birds from nesting – and, let’s be honest, pooping – all over its merchandise.

The danger to the real birds isn’t real. If they only knew the truth about the sounds, they could make a wonderful home there in those rafters, safe from the weather, plenty of food – a veritable bird paradise. But they’re afraid. They don’t know it’s all talk. And they’re very unlikely to have read Macbeth, or they might know that the noises are all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Satan is like that. He puts on a show to make me afraid. He can’t do anything to hurt me, since I have committed my life to Christ, but he wails and screams, shouting “fear” and “worry” and “doubt” at regular intervals. He’s hoping I’ll bite and believe. But there is no truth in the father of lies.

And he doesn’t get a say in my destiny.

So as I looked up at the impotent speaker that day in the garden center, I thought one thought.

Whom shall I fear?


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