Hadn’t seen but a few porcupines in the last 28 years…none from a tree-stand.

Then a few weeks back, right there on Highway 26 and Avenue B was a sure-enough road quill. I even pulled up and took a picture of the by-now pretty deteriorated carcass. Yup. It was a porcupine. Back in the day, my Michigan haunts provided many moments staring at a plump and waddling Quill-banger set to defend itself. Forest roads, river banks, tree-tops and mostly nocturnal espyings would be cause for wonder and simple curiosity.

Discovery: dogs and porcupines make for nasty relationships. Our German Shepherd, Juneau, had a head-to-bristle-tailed confrontation with one of our un-neighborly adult porcupines. Both were winners…sorta…and for sure both were losers. The dog soundly defeated the bulky intruder. Several days later Juneau’s mouth was still occupied with undetected (I thought we had removed them all) barbed quills which had penetrated his soft cerebral tissue. We tearfully buried Juneau with a deep appreciation for, and detest for, the bark-chewing night-quiller.

And for what good purpose do they exist? It was even more difficult for me to imagine porkypine purpose than it was to find purpose for my hated mosquitoes. At least mosquitoes served our many friendly feather-winged foragers.

Incidentally, I saw my first fork-tailed blue barn swallow of the Spring last week (pre-snow). One of my summer delights is to watch a bunch of swallows daily swallowing their weight in mosquitoes. Every bridge on the N. Platte River produces mud-nested swallow-lings by the batches. So, mosquitoes at least are a terrific food source…purpose.

The jury’s still out for me to conclude a purpose for porcupines, however. Our U.S. porcupines are of the New World variety as compared to the overseas “Old World variety” … so says https://www.britannica.com/animal/porcupine. Lifespan can reach 15 years. They are listed as an unpopular “rodent”. Underscore unpopular ! Being stabbed by quills is like the universal sin-curse to our souls. It has to be addressed!

The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. I’m seeing a growing frustration rising in our nation and world. Quills without, and quills within inflict our daily walk and threaten our very society and eternity. Yet the grace of God does much more abound. I’d like to worship like Moses in Exodus 34:8 “So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” John the Baptist said of JESUS, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (found in John 1:29-30)

Our Bibles also leave us with this encouraging instruction from Hebrews 12 …” Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (those faith heroes from chapter 11), let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Sin can condemn and “quill” us. JESUS came to give us life…abundant life.

On this 2019 Memorial Day, I’m highly grateful for my dad’s 2 purple hearts, and the sacrifice of the many through the years who have secured our freedom to publicly name and declare the name and work of JESUS…purpose! Thank you all for your service! My heart belongs to JESUS! Yours?

PRAYER NUGGET: Herbert Lockyer said, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of Omnipotence”. Lord, teach us to pray.

Panhandle and eastern Wyoming…I love you and am praying for you.

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