Last year for Book Week, I created a lesson based around Banjo and Ruby Red written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. I even brought in one of our own chooks to make the experience that much more real and enjoyable. The book tells the story of one very stubborn chicken who refuses to do what she is told by Banjo the ‘chook dog’. Each night when it is time to round up the chooks, Ruby Red remains on her woodheap until eventually, after much persistence and barking, Banjo finally gets her into the chicken shed. One day however, Ruby Red goes missing. Banjo searches and searches until he finds her alone and sick. He gently brings her back to his kennel and cares for her until she regains her strength and is returned to full health. From then on, Ruby Red does not sleep on the woodheap or in the chook shed. She sleeps with her rescuer and protector, Banjo, safe and sound in his kennel.
This was a wonderful book to share with my students for many reasons. Through it, we were able to discuss themes of relationships, obedience and caring for others, however the theme that stood out to me the most, was that of God being our protector and rescuer, just like Banjo was for Ruby Red.
Sometimes in our lives we get stubborn, and just want to stay on our woodheap. Why? Because we know it and we think it is good for us. God, in his wisdom, knows what is best for us. How often does He have to persist with us until we listen to him? How often does He attempt to call us away from the comfort of our circumstances into something greater?
Isaiah 53:6 from The Message says,
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
Despite His great love for us, we like sheep (or chooks) regularly wander off and do our own thing. Even if we have heard and accepted the beautiful message of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we can still at times choose to turn away. We may wander off to the distractions of money, of TV, or of social media. At other times, circumstances may trigger us to wander off into feelings of selfishness, doubt, anger and resentment. When we wander off into these places, we are making a deliberate decision to walk away from God. I’m not saying that we can’t enjoy a TV show, or participate in social media, but when they become an obsession, or steal away your time with Him, then there is an issue. The more time you spend away from God and His Word, the more you will become influenced by the environment you have wandered into.
Dr R. A Torrey said,
“Prayer makes God real. The gladdest thing upon the earth is to have a real God! You cannot have vital faith in God if you give all your time to the world and to secular affairs. Unless you take time for fellowship with God, you cannot have a real God. If you do take time for prayer, you will have a real, living God, and if you have a living God, you will have a radiant life.”
God has called us all to fellowship with Him. He knows that when are still, and listen to His voice, we will be at peace, stronger and more radiant than we could ever be without Him. He knows much better it is for us to get off the woodheap of our making, and rest where He knows we will be safest. And what’s more, when we are sick, hurting, or really and truly lost, He will come after us. He will run to us as the father did with the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. He will search for us as the shepherd searched for the one lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7. He will not stop until He can carry us back to rest in His love, protected and healed, safe in the shelter of His presence.
Psalm 46:10 says,
Be still and know that I am God…
Just as Banjo stopped at nothing to rescue and protect Ruby Red, so too does our loving Heavenly Father seek to find us each and every time we wander away from Him. We just need to be still in His Word, and open our ears to His voice in our hearts.
If you need something beautiful to reflect on as you seek to spend time with God, then have a listen to this:
Song for You by Jenny & Tyler.