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The Guardians
Photo: Stephen Rainer
A pair of hawks set up a nest in a big pine tree right behind my house. The tree is not ten yards from my bedroom window. They are big, handsome birds, brown with white breasts. We have seen mom and dad soaring around our neighborhood. If we use binoculars we can see the hatchlings in the nest.

We live in the suburbs, not the country. We are twenty miles from downtown Houston. There seem to be enough squirrels and birds to keep the hawks healthy.

We were a little nervous at first. We did not know how aggressive they would be towards us or our pets. They have proved sociable neighbors, however. They notice us when we sit in the backyard. One or the other makes a low, slow pass over us as if checking us. Apparently we pass muster, because they then return to their nest or resume their hunting.

The hawks have had a beneficial effect on our garden. In years past we fought losing battles with birds and squirrels for our produce. The fruit trees would be picked clean.The birds would peck holes in our tomatoes and bell peppers, which would then rot, green on the vine.

We would put netting or mesh over the vegetable garden, but the critters would rip holes in them, or dig underneath. Somehow they always got through our barriers.

This year it is different. The pear is heavy with fruit. Unblemished tomatoes wait on our vines. We will even have figs to eat this year. An invisible barrier is guarding our yard. Or rather, the hawks are guarding it—invisible to those who do not see.

Acts Invisibly

God’s grace often works the same way. It often acts invisibly. When you live by His commandments you often do not notice what He does—only the effects. Things go more smoothly. Life seems better. You become more productive—and happier.

You may not get rich, but you pay your bills. An unexpected windfall seems to arrive just as an equally unexpected expense appears.

Like the hawks guarding my garden, He acts as my shield, unseen and patient. He checks up on me. At times He tests and challenges me. The challenges, however formidable, are somehow never more than I can take, as long as I meet them my whole heart and with faith.

Sometimes I do not understand or appreciate the benefits God offers me. I do not comprehend His design for me until much later. Just as, when the hawks arrived this spring, I did not understand what gifts they brought.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

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By Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2007, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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