Our black squirrel took a flying leap from the deck banister and grabbed onto the cage of suet hanging from the roof. What an acrobat! It clung to the cage while it tried everything to get at the suet inside. Finally, it concentrated on the wire tie I had used to keep it closed. It kept gnawing and twisting until finally it broke it off, opened the cage and settled down for a royal feast.
Mary Helen said, “Poor thing. It’s hungry. Let it be.”
True, it’s been a cold, snowy winter that makes it very hard on our furry friends: black, brown and grey squirrels. And they do provide us with almost daily entertainment. The other day I watched one climbing the pole holding our bird feeder until it got to the circular squirrel baffle. It tried dozens to times to climb over the baffle only to be frustrated by its loose motion. Then it would climb down, survey the situation and try again. When we had an ice-storm, the ice froze the ‘squirrel baffle’ to the post keeping it from moving. Until it thawed, our persistent squirrels were able to swing themselve over and empty the feeder.
The ingenuity and persistence of our squirrels is amazing. Until I used duct tape to hold the finch feeder to its bracket, they kept knocking it down. Do squirrels eat niger bird seed? I’ve had to put stronger and stronger wire on the suet cage to defeat them so the woodpeckers have something to eat.
We could learn a lot from our furry friends. Never, never give up. If we accept the difficulties in our lives as a challenge, like the squirrels, we will develop perseverance. Paul and James explain. “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character hope”(Rom.5:4). “The testing of your faith develops perseverance”(James 1:3). Becoming a persevering person is a crucial quality of maturity and character.
As Nelson Mandela said; “The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote; “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Calvin Coolidge is even more insistent on the importance of persistence. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not… nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not… unrewarded genius is almost legendary. Education will not…. the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Lord, give us grace to persevere whatever the obstacle.