I heard that when you spook an Armadillo, they jump straight up. Since these critters are good at digging up our lawn, I thought I could have a lil' fun at one's expense on my next encounter. So, on an early morning run, still mostly dark and no streetlights, it had rained during the night. A mile into my run (which happened to be a steep hill aptly named, Hillbilly), I see my opportunity ahead in the middle of a road. THIS…was my chance.

Without breaking stride on my run, I come up on it and start clapping and whopping. Except, it wasn’t an armadillo. That dark mass in the middle of the hill was a SKUNK!!

The wet hill was slick as I tried to stop but all I could do is helplessly slide toward the creature I just scared. Skidding up within a few feet of it before I stop, I clearly see the white stripe. Trying to avoid the aim of a raised tail, I turn to sprint up the hill – my feet grasping for traction like a cartoon character - barely escaping its spray like my life depended on it!

Do feel like you’re in a downward slide and can’t stop?  Ever find yourself face-to-face with a problem that you created but didn’t intend?  Do you find yourself trying to move but can’t get traction?

Of course we do. We run our course but it’s only when we realize – we can’t live the life we were called to on our own – that we are saved. I can’t save myself. I have a predisposition to slide into struggle and stupidity. St. Paul tells a group of Christians to “…work out their salvation”. It implies there’s BOTH a beginning AND a process. God makes us alive in Christ with each day, each blessing and each struggle. Perhaps the “ordinary miracle” of our salvation is that over time – almost without notice – God re-shapes the desires of our hearts. What’s more, we can find ourselves in a community of faith SO THAT God’s wisdom and care, inspiration and strength become tangible.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  II Corinthians 3:18