“What was that?”
I yelled. At the top of my lungs. To no one in particular.
I’d been minding my own business on a quick early morning jog, heading down the same path as always. The serenity and calmness of the morning had just been interrupted by something that swooped right beside my head. It, whatever it was had come from behind me and sounded like a strong whipping gust of wind as it shot past my head. It was fast and it was too close for comfort. I looked up towards the sky but saw nothing.
Hmmm. I shook off the shock and kept moving.
Until, it happened again.
Swoosh . . . I was startled and riddled with bad nerves. Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen whatever it was this time. It was big and long and dark and fast and . . . too close for comfort. I ran faster now and turned my head around to see if I could spot anything. There, in the sky, circling directly above my head were two hawks. They seemed to be larger than life, their wingspan vast, and their eyes peeled in my direction.
They weren’t happy I’d chosen this route.
I kept my eyes on them so as not to be caught off guard when their menacing flights took a downward turn. And, sure enough, one left the circle they’d been carefully crafting in the air to begin heading in my direction. I was running backwards now—trying to keep moving forward while still looking behind me at the fierce, angry bird on my trail. The black hawk flapped his wings furiously to gain momentum and then stretched them out intensely as he pierced the air towards my head. He looked like a fighter jet sailing full steam – kind of like a caricature, a cartoon storyline gone bad.
At the critical moment, right when he was close enough to swipe my head, I ducked and yelled (again) but apparently I didn’t squat down far enough. I felt his belly skim the top of my hair as he whipped past. In the confusion, I hadn’t seen the second hawk who had begun his descent and was just in time to boldly sailed past the left side of my face even while I was trying to recover from the first.
Was I going to lose my head today? I wasn’t sure.
Shaken, I kept running and looking towards the heaven. Whatever nest those hawks were trying to protect must have been in the canopy of trees that I was running underneath. Just a few more steps and I was back out in the open again. Whew! They didn’t bother me anymore . . . at least for now.
I wondered what I was going to do next. I still had a ½ mile to run in the direction I was going, but at some point I would have to turn around and come back this way to get home.
I was intimidated.
I hadn’t counted on being mistaken for prey by an angry mother hawk when I’d laced up my running shoes that morning. Should I stop at a neighbor’s house and call my husband to come get me? No, it’s too early to knock on anyone’s door. Should I run all the way around the neighborhood and back to my home another way? No, that would mean a 5-6 mile run, and I hadn’t done that since . . . never.
I kept running and thinking. And my emotions finally slid down the spectrum from fear until they crashed into a pool of anger. I was upset. These birds were messing with the only few quiet moments I might have today. And what’s more, they didn’t own this street. I had a right to run this way at this time of day if I wanted to.
At the stop sign, I turned around with a firm resolve. I headed back home but this time, I was armed with a fairly thick, two-foot long branch that I found in some brush on the side of the road. When I came to the overpass of trees, I began to swing the branch in a circle over my head—not to hit them just to detour them. I could see the birds stir in the top tier of a tree when I returned. But this time they didn’t bother me. Not today. Not now. Not ever.
Because. I. Was. Armed. And. Dangerous
The Enemy’s got his sights on you, you know? He doesn’t want you traveling along this path—your God-ordained path – increasing your spiritual stamina and developing your spiritual muscles. He doesn’t want you fighting for your marriage; believing God for your kids; having faith for your finances; being content with your current season of life. He’s bound to be nesting at some point along your journey and will go to great lengths to intimidate you from your purpose and your passion to pursue the things of God. He’ll circle you, to figure out what might be the best strategy to dissuade you. Then at a vulnerable moment, he’ll swoop down fast and with fury and he will be too close for comfort.
Don’t you let him scare you away with all of his little ridiculously sneaky attempts to be crafty. Let any intimidation you feel take a turn into toward holy courage and a boldness that causes you to take up arms. Grab you some spiritual armor and be conspicuous about using it. He might still circle overhead but he’ll rethink messin’ with you when you aren’t such an easy target.
Not just today but everyday.
Because. You. Are. Armed. And. Dangerous.
I made it back home with no scrapes or scratches. My nerves were on edge just enough to make me consider changing my jogging route the next morning. But then I remembered that I had something to keep the hawks away.
So, I laced up my shoes . . . ran.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. – Ephesians 6:10-11