Thursday, March 13, 2014

Catch For Us The Voles...

One day last week, I went out into the back yard to do some work that had been long-delayed by week after week of snow. After a long wait, and several comparatively warm days, much of the snow had melted. 

It was wonderful to see the grass again. Well, it was wonderful until I noticed a maze of tracks etched into the grass. The tracks were about as wide as the circumference of a broom handle, and they meandered all over the lawn. In some places, they resembled a map of the rivers feeding into the Nile Delta.

Find image here
I had never seen anything like this before. Of course, I went to m trusty search engine and googled the problem. I think I typed in something like "lawn damage post snow". Immediately, I saw a couple pictures that looked remarkably like my back yard.

Image found here
Those criss-crossing runways are caused by voles, little rodents that resemble field mice. Unlike moles, voles do most of their damage above ground. 

I guess these critters are always around, especially if you live near open fields. However, when the winter is especially long with extended periods of snow cover, voles have an especially good time enjoying the freedom to forage under the snow without fear of being seen from above by birds of prey. 

Of course, this also means that I had no idea that a major "vole fest" was taking place in my back yard. It wasn't until the snow melted that I could see the results of their "partying".

King Solomon wrote in his Song of Songs this plea:
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards...
Song of Solomon 2:15a
Usually, since the Song of Songs deals with the love between a man and a woman, we take this to be a warning to watch out for the little things in a relationship that cause destruction. It is a warning to deal with those little things before they cause serious damage.

Image found here
I think this warning is a good one for any relationship, not just within marriage. Whether we are talking about foxes in the vineyards, or voles having a party under the snowdrifts, little things can cause much damage if left to themselves.

In the same way, petty grievances, selfishness, pride, and unforgiveness can wreak havoc in our relationships. We might call these "relational voles".

Weeks on end with snow covering the lawn hide vole damage. Similarly, time and busy-ness cover up the destroyers of relationships.

So what's the solution to relational vole damage? Allow God to shine His light on the things that cover up the problem. Just as the sun melts the snow, the SON can melt through the complacency that allows us to ignore the problem. 

Once He has done this, we can clearly see what is causing the damage, and He will help us deal with it.

From what I understand, it is nearly impossible to get rid of the voles of the animal kingdom. Fortunately, our God can enable us to deal much more effectively with "relational voles". 

We don't have to settle for "relational vole damage" in our lives. 

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