Cyndy and I went out in the backyard the other day and discovered that one of the guinea hens from next door had overshot the top of the fence and found herself in our yard. She did not seem interested in exploring our back yard. She seemed intent on finding a way back to her yard, but clueless as to how to do so. She would strut in small circles, moaning with soft clucking sounds between the rose bushes and the fence.

Suddenly, the guinea hen would run for about ten feet along the fence. She would look startled and confused before racing back to where she began. Then she would begin the whole routine over again. As she ran down the fence, she appeared to be looking intently at the fence as if a hole  might open up at any time for her to escape through.

We did not let our dog, Misty, into the backyard for fear she would scare the guinea hen to death – literally. We were not exactly sure what Misty would do. So the hen spent several hours going through the same routine over and over again. Then our middle son, Cameron, let Misty out and she headed for the guinea hen, who flew back over the fence.

Which made me wonder why she did not fly back over in the first place. The obvious answer would be fear and panic. But that’s what made her finally fly back over. Did she continually go through the routine because she secretly enjoying the change, but was worried because she smelled Misty?

As Christians, we find ourselves in difficult situations we have placed ourselves in. When we overshoot a fence we should not be crossing in the first place. We find ourselves pacing back and forth, wasting energy, wondering where God is and why he doesn’t answer our prayers. We look expectantly, as if we will see a “hole in the fence” magically open up so we can walk into a parallel universe in which our problem is solved. But there is no parallel universe – only the one God created.

When God does not answer our prayers in the manner in which we would prefer they be answered, we begin to fear God. We begin to think that if he is not answering our prayers he has an agenda that may well be detrimental to our own, insignificant, agenda. Or even worse, that he is not thinking of us at all. So we keep pacing back and forth by the fence, calling out to any mortal who can hear us.

The fear begins to consume us. Finally, in desperation, we bypass the thought  processes and give ourselves to God’s grace and mercy. The fear pushes us beyond the limits of thought and instinct (understood here as faith) takes over. Surrendering to God’s will, we flutter over the fence and back into familiarity and home, where God put us in the first  place. God gave humans intelligence, but free will keeps us in doubt. We should work on dispelling the doubt and keeping the faith.

Peace be with you.