Reflections From the Pulpit: A hurting coon and the Grace of God

Posted 2/23/24

A few weeks ago, a little raccoon found his way onto the porch, trying to scrounge some...

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Reflections From the Pulpit: A hurting coon and the Grace of God


A few weeks ago, a little raccoon found his way onto the porch, trying to scrounge some cat food. It moved slowly, flopping its back legs, pain and fear written on his young face. A scar-like mark crossed its back, right across the spine – apparently the reason for its pain and disability. And although he drags his back feet to get around, he is still able to eat. So I put food out for it, and water.

Every night it comes up, looking so pitiful. It clearly hurts him to move, especially quickly. And because it is disabled, the other coons have cast it out of the pack. They often mistreat him, beating him around and taking his food.

Back when the cold snap moved in and the temps went way down into the 40s, the moisture and air chill was so low that the little fellow was extremely cold. He didn’t have a family pack to keep him warm. So, I made him a box to sleep in – to keep the body heat in and help him survive the cold, alone. Sure enough, I looked out about an hour later and he was in the box, snoozing. That’s become his safe place.

For weeks, I’ve been checking on him several times a night, because other coons and animals take the food. But I make sure he gets food and water, nightly. And shelter on the porch.

In all this, I expected him to warm up to me. I wanted him to appreciate me as a friend, not threat. I talk with him, speaking tenderly and loving, trying to make up for the loneliness he must feel, as a castaway. I bend down and carefully place the food, so that he isn’t frightened by any harsh movements. I try always to put him at ease. But time after time, as soon as I open the door, he drags himself away. Sometimes, in his fear, he flops himself down the steps, trying to get away from me.

Needless to say, this hurts to see. Over and over again – same thing: I bring him food, water, and shelter, and he flops away from me, in panic and fright. I am his source of provision and nurture – yet he can only see me through his wounds, and flees my presence. If only he would draw near to me, and find greater shelter!

Recently, in feeding this little coon, and seeing him react in fear once again, dragging himself away, I could sense loving Father-heart of God. I was grieved that after all my concern and gifts, the coon still viewed me suspiciously and would not let me come near. Yet in that moment, a flash of insight: “Son, isn’t this how people treat me?” “I give them all the resources for life – food, care, gifts of intellect, and reasonable health. Every good and perfect gift comes down from me, the Father of lights, in whom there is no shadow, or variation of turning.” “And yet they treat me with suspicion. They view me through their wounds – and even blame me for the pain. They flee my Presence and hold me at arm’s length, when all along, more goodness waits near me: In my Presence is fullness of joy.”

It hit me solid. Wow.

Who gives us our intellect? Our health? Our strength? Our aptitudes? Our ability to work, perceive, and give? Our capacity to love? To act as hands and feet of Good in the world? Who gives us a true desire for family and connection, for purpose – with that haunting sense of destiny and battle? Who feeds a daily with good things “so that our youth is renewed like the eagle?” He does.

And yet… and yet! So many humans view Him through wounds. Not through surround-sound provision and care. And never truly draw near to the Presence that gives us life and purpose.

Prayer: “Lord God, help me to draw near to you, no matter what wounds the world brings in. Cause me to approach you daily, the Source of all that is good and true, and find all that you intend in destiny and care, at your right hand. Cause me to trust you fully, in saving faith. By grace, bring me into your Presence, and cause me to work the good works prepared for me before the world began – becoming your hands and feet in this hurting world. Amen.”

grace, god, coon