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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

February 21, 2012 - Groundhog Days

By Geff Mastro

Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow may grab headlines each February 2, but I have a groundhog of my own, and I’m none to happy about it, particularly in the fall. Oh, he may appear cute to someone else, but to me this animal is just a big, nasty, hairy intrusion.

This “beautiful” creature of God just happens to love vegetables. However, the vegetables this groundhog takes a fancy to happen to be in my garden. Now, I understand that in his groundhog mind, the vegetables are there and that means they’re fair game. But I can’t help feeling a bit of injustice has been done, particularly since I plant and care for my garden patch. On top of that, our darling little girls once rescued this same drowning animal from our pool and nursed him back to health. He has a funny sense of gratitude.

It all started at the end of one summer. I had planned out and planted my garden — the garden of gardens. I worked all winter creating a sizeable compost pile, laid down the best and most fertile soil, and then enriched it with vitamins and minerals and fertilizer. The boundaries of the garden were measured out. A small mesh fence was erected and surrounded by an adorable, low white picket fence, all accented by white stones, creating the most attractive accent to our backyard. It was a piece of heaven on earth!

I thought I had prepared wisely and sufficiently enough to keep out any and all intruders, including said groundhog. But I never realized how deeply groundhogs could burrow. When I first noticed the hole he made under the shed, I thought I could plug it up with some large rocks. The next morning, I noticed the intruder had defiantly moved them. I tried several other measures, including watching my garden carefully from a distance while holding a very large stick.

I know we Christians should consider all trials pure joy. But I’m sure that passage was meant to apply to someone else — and certainly not to a bothersome groundhog. Then I read 2 Corinthians 12:7 about Paul’s “thorn in my flesh” that was “given” to keep him from being conceited. Certainly, if any thorn in the flesh was given a person to prevent conceit, the groundhog was mine.

It’s very easy to take your eyes off of God’s purpose in your life and get so caught up in the things around you, and yes, even get caught up in yourself, that you miss what God is trying to teach you. Hence, like Paul, I believe He sometimes purposely gives us thorns in our flesh to remind us that it isn’t about us. It’s about Him and what He’s trying to do through us. Likewise, it is not anything we do or accomplish that defines us, but it’s only through Him that we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).

As I have come to find out through my ponderings, sometimes the most bothersome and trying things — whether they be a groundhog, a defiant child or argumentative spouse — are things through which God is trying to get a hold of us and create the most and most beneficial change.

— Geff Mastro lives in a Burlington County, N.J., and is a licensed counselor and school psychologist. He attends Fountain of Life Center (AG) in Florence, N.J.



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