THE PRICKLY HEDGEHOG
During my quiet time, I had a picture of a hedgehog with its quills standing on end, ready to defend itself.
The hedgehog used to be a delightful creature, always having fun, enjoying exploring the world around him. He loved other hedgehogs and often engaged them in lively, sparkly and deep meaningful conversation (DMC). He took great pleasure in encouraging others around him, always careful to offer hope where he discerned there was none.
In general, the other animals loved him and saw him as a harmless creature. He seldom had to use his quills to protect himself.
Then one day everything changed in a moment, just an ordinary, quiet moment. It was a life-defining moment that would impact and change history for the hedgehog and the other animals in the woods forever. A stranger visited the woods that day, intent on evil, on killing, stealing and destroying what lay oh so obvious to him. He hated the way the animals lived in a community. He especially hated the hedgehog, so full of joy and hope, offering it to anyone who needed it without hesitation.
“Why should they enjoy life, be content while I am miserable!” He said to himself.
So he plotted and planned for the perfect moment to destroy the hedgehog. The stranger pretended to be a loyal and faithful friend, ready to assist and help whenever needed. He slowly but craftily got into each and every animal’s hearts, gaining their trust and love. The hedgehog was so glad that he had someone who thought like him and was relieved to find another animal who loved DMC as much as he did!
Poor harmless hedgehog! He woke up on that day history was changed, to find that all his possessions had been destroyed. All the other animals had chaos and destruction in their homes too. The hedgehog found a letter from the stranger telling him what he had done and why he had done it. It would take a very long time to restore to them what the stranger had destroyed in a moment. More than their homes, their possessions and all that had been wiped out, their trust and innocence in a good, beautiful world full of hope was demolished.
From that day onwards the hedgehog went off into the woods all by himself vowing never ever to trust another animal again as long as he lived. As soon as one of the other creatures tried to approach him, his quills would quickly and swiftly rise up, ready to attack and defend. No one could get near him. The hedgehog sadly lived the rest of his life in isolation, usually on the defensive, not willing to let another in. He didn’t want to, oh no he wouldn’t ever allow himself to be hurt again!
I just sensed God saying that so many of us have been hurt, let down, even betrayed by people or life’s circumstances. We have become like that hedgehog protecting ourselves from further pain. In doing so, however, we are missing out on all there is still to be enjoyed in this world. Today He wants to come in and heal those wounds, that heartache, that betrayal, that disappointment. He is inviting you to let Him in to heal and restore hope, trust and all that’s been stolen from you. Will you never ever be hurt again? NO! We live in a fallen world with imperfect people just like you and I. But He is the one who comforts, who redeems and restores. He does not want you to miss out on life and all that it has to offer us. He calls us to forgive those who have caused those wounds, to make the choice to forgive even when we are struggling to do the very thing that will set us free…….He will help us.
Ezekiel 34: 16:
“I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the broken, and strengthen the weak; but the sleek and strong I will destroy. I will shepherd them with justice”.