Coyote calls

th-2The eerie, curdling cries of a coyote woke me up out of a sound sleep this morning at about 3:30. It sounded like he was in my backyard. I didn’t know what it was at first because I was not fully awake, but then the “yip yip yee-ow-eeeee” did it. We had also heard from our next door neighbor that coyotes were spotted in our neighborhood over the weekend and we should keep our pets indoors as much as possible, so it was pretty easy to put two and two together.

This was not our first experience with coyotes here anyway. I’ve actually seen them twice, and we hear from time to time that they come down from the open hills that back up to the houses in higher elevations around us when their own food supply is running short. Or maybe they tire of rabbit and squirrel and seek a little domestic cat as a delicacy. (Such was the fate of our last cat a few years ago – one that refused to stay inside.)

But though I have seen them here, I’ve never heard them howl up close until this morning and I must admit, it was a chilling experience. It’s a wild sound, and up that close, it feels like something barbarous has encroached upon our peaceful, domesticated lives.

It makes me think of Peter’s warning in his first letter to the early churches: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I think the reality of this is as foreign to us as hearing a coyote howl under my window, but probably as close, if not closer. We are commonly lulled to sleep by our busy lives and by the false notion that we are in control, and perhaps that is the most dangerous place to be. If we can’t see or hear the enemy, we can get the false impression that he isn’t there, which is, of course, just what he wants. But once in a while, his wild scream slips out and we know better.

This is not to make us scared but to make us aware, praying and on guard against the little sins and compromises that plague us. Sin and evil is nothing to be toyed with.

Bob Dylan wrote that we have to serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but we have to serve somebody. The truth of that statement is that we are not in as much control as we think we are. We are mostly in charge of who we are going to follow. Hearing the devil howl is mostly a good thing because it reminds me of his close proximity and his devious ways – how he makes wrong things look right and hurtful things appealing.

He’s real, he’s hungry, and he’s on the prowl. His mission is destruction and his method is to keep people away from the saving life of Christ. Stay alert, stay sober and pray. The wild is closer than you think.

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11 Responses to Coyote calls

  1. Kent Burkholder says:

    In the movie “Instinct” (1999) Cuba Gooding Jr. thinks he is in control. Anthony Hopkins tells him he only has the “illusion of control”. Things are not always as they seem.

  2. TimC says:

    Good catch!
    And how often do we think that since I’m OK, then everyone is OK and there is no problem?
    And how often when we see trouble do we forget about the spiritual battle that is constantly being waged around us?
    2 Cor 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  3. Deana says:

    I know where the wild is – it is right here in my head this morning and I know I should pray but that is not my first choice…Instead I choose to feel bad and down and give in to depression and wish I was anyplace else but where I have to be today. I have a hard time believing that God could, and does, love me. Why would He when there are so many other good people who are actively offering themselves to Him this very minute? I don’t know how to surrender, how to not be in control. Controlling my environment is what got me through when I was a child…it is a default behavior and way of thinking that ensured that I would make it to another day. I am afraid of not exerting my will on every situation. I don’t know how to let go and let God. I know I’m really no different from millions of other people but I feel like I’m making a mess of it all.

    • Carole says:

      Deana, please don’t judge yourself so harshly……you say there are so many other good people offering themselves to Him. Christ came to forgive the sinners, not the “good” people. We are blessed because we are sinners. I know what depression feels like and how your mind can be controlled by depressing thoughts. Have you ever been feeling down (like today) and put some worship music on to listen to. I can tell you that is an uplifting feeling. It really is quite difficult to “feel blue” when you listen to songs praising Jesus and our father. If you want to know how to let go and let God, you just begin by taking baby steps……start today to tell God that you have more than you can handle on your own so you are giving your troubles to Him to deal with then put a smile on your face knowing it is out of your hands for today. When you smile, it is very hard to feel blue 🙂 and tomorrow, you can do the same thing. Baby steps……and I will keep you in my prayers. As far as controlling your environment, I hate to tell you Deana, but there is no way you are or have ever controlled your environment….you only think you have. God is the only one that can do that so you may as well just tell yourself that you are fighting a losing battle if you think you can do it on your own 😉 Hugs to you and have a good day.

    • jwfisch says:

      Your honesty is refreshing. Be sure and read what Carole posted for you. Better than I could say it. You are loved. Like Brennan Manning used to say, “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself today.”

  4. Lynn says:

    Coyotes are God’s creatures, created by Him. I love to hear their call and see them on our property. They get hungry because their habitat has been taken over by man and their natural food sources destroyed. To equate them to evil is to plant fear & revulsion of them in peoples’ minds, and leads to their indiscriminate destruction at the hands of fearful humans.

    • jwfisch says:

      Not what I intended at all. Thanks for bringing this perspective. I meant to only carry the analogy over to Satan and lions. (Lions are beautiful too.) Analogies only work one way; they don’t circle back. Satan is like a lion is some ways. A lion is not Satan. And coyotes are beautiful creatures, but I must add, one of my Chihuahua’s doesn’t stand a chance around one. And one of these beautiful creatures did have my cat for breakfast. I watched it — too late to do anything about it. This is the real world.

  5. Andrew P. says:

    I once read an article in which a man described being up close to a (recently captured) lion — in that case, an African lion, which is probably not the same species Peter had in mind, but the same point applies. In the case of the African lion, the man described its mere growl as reminding him more of an idling Harley Davidson than anything. I can only imagine the terror that his full roar would generate.

    Perhaps we would do well to dwell more on Peter’s metaphor — and to guard our hearts accordingly.

  6. Bev says:

    My vote; Best Catch Ever.

    We become complacent in our snug little world and forget how sneaky Satan is. He is not going to present himself to us in truth. He is the father of lies. It would be easy to turn from the temptation to sin if he would say, “Hey there, I’m the devil and I have this — for you. It will make you miserable after a little enjoyment.” He sure knows how to make sin look like fun!

    Thanks for the warning.

  7. David says:

    “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

    And that reminds me of Bruce Cockburn’s song, Wondering Where the Lions Are.

    Second verse:

    I had another dream about lions at the door
    They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
    But I’m thinking about eternity
    Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

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