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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, April 1, 2013

It Doesn't Seem Dangerous

It was early evening, still light, as I drove down Fish Creek Road on my way to choir rehearsal.
As I rounded a bend on Fish Creek Road, I saw the herd of elk. Most of them had already crossed the road. But three cows completely blocked both the south and northbound lanes.
Elk see and hear well, but the approach of my car did nothing to make them move. Another car, approaching from the opposite direction slowed. We both waited for the elk to get the hint that they should move off the road.
Frozen like statues, the furry creatures stared at the rest of the herd, grazing on the hillside just twenty paces away.
I tooted my horn. So did the other car.
More cars came around the bend and slowed when they saw the elk blocking the road.
We waited.
I tooted again. The cow that blocked my side didn't even flick an ear.
I considered backing up and taking an alternate route, but I'd probably have annoyed the drivers of the three cars already crowding behind me.
For those of you that don't know about elk, you can't get out of the car and wave at them or get close and try to scare them. Noooooo. Too dangerous.
They look sweet and docile, but they are anything but when threatened or startled.
After about five minutes, the cows decided to move across the road. Slowly.
I made it to choir a few minutes late.
Darn elk.

Tourists love the elk.

"Ooo, Mommy, look! What are they? Big deer?"
Mommy laughs. "No, honey. Those are moose. Let's stop the car and get out so we can get a better look at these cute, cuddly big animals. Maybe we can get a picture of you next to one."
"Oh, boy. My friends at Des Moines Elementary are not gonna believe I got to pet a moose."

Too bad we don't post signs in Estes warning tourists about elk dangers.

We took a trip up to Banff in Alberta, Canada a couple of years ago.
They have signs that warn people to stay in their cars...because of the frequent grizzly sightings!

I guess, in the spiritual realm of our minds we humans tend to be equally ignorant of danger.
The Bible warns us: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5: 8)

Just like the unpredictable elk, or the angry grizzly, all it takes is a second to get yourself into trouble by holding onto destructive thoughts, and chewing on them.

The elk are a constant reminder to me that what appears sweet and docile on TV, on the Internet, on the radio, in my conversations, in the books I choose,  anything that enters my mind for my examination or enjoyment...
may not be.
Be careful, Dena.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
(Philippians 4: 8 NIV Bible)


  1. I'll never look at elk again without thinking of your words, Dena. Thanks.

  2. Powerful analogy, Dena!

    I think people do a great disservice when they downplay the dangers of wild animals or spiritual enemies. I know several people from Africa, and they know first hand the reality of spiritual warfare. What makes us think we're immune from such activity here?

    Thanks for putting up one of those road signs in the form of this post.

  3. I think the powers of darkness study each of us and know just where to send their "barbs."