The Briar Patch – Part 1

Covered in tar, tied to a pole, and headed for the boiling pot! That is the predicament one of my favorite childhood storybook characters finds himself one day. Brer Rabbit had to think fast to outsmart Brer Fox this time. Finally, Brer Rabbit pleaded with the fox to go ahead and boil him, roast him, or fry him, just so long as he did not throw him into the briar patch. Desiring to see his nemesis suffer the worst fate possible, he reasoned if the rabbit hated the briar patch so much, then that is where he belonged. Taking the wily critter by the ears, Brer Fox flung him into the thickest part of the briars. His delight was short lived. In a moment, Brer Rabbit could be heard laughing and singing thanks to Brer Fox for returning him to the place he had been born and bred!

Circumstances sometimes cause me to feel as if I am bound and hanging precariously over a boiling pot. I have felt the sting of anxiety and fear, the bite of anger, the weight of disappointment, and the emptiness of loss and hurt. In those moments I find myself longing for a comfortable spot. I want to curl up in a place that is familiar, safe and well known. I want someone to take the pain away and assure me that everything will be okay. How wonderful it is that we have a place of refuge just like that! Psalm 91 tells us that those who call on the Lord and acknowledge Him can rest assured that we are covered by his wings. He promises to command his angels to lift us up and guard us. God will be our refuge and there is nothing to fear. I have gone to bed many nights imagining God’s wings resting over me and angels standing guard. Wow! That brings on some mighty good sleep.

What happens, though, when it seems God has purposefully placed us in harm’s way? What if we were thrown into a briar patch that was not a place of comfort, but a place of danger and thorns? That is exactly what happened to the Prophet Ezekiel. God place him in the smack dab in the middle of the briars and thorns. They were not comfortable nor were they where he had been born and bred. Join me in Part 2 of this series to find out more about this amazing man of God.

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