I think half of every kid in America has had a grey bunny they named Thumper. My daughter Rachel wasn’t any different. Her Thumper was the sweetest bunny. With a little nudging, Rachel was good about keeping his food and water supply filled. She often gave him vegetable treats. Under her watchful eye, Thumper even got to run loose in a small section of our backyard sometimes. She cuddled him and dressed him in baby doll clothes. But Thumper wasn’t satisfied with what he had. He constantly scratched at the corners of his hutch, in a desperate effort to get out. I couldn’t blame him; he was confined to a small space.
I suggested we move his hutch into a small yard we formerly used for chickens. We built a ramp to his hutch. The yard was considerably large for a bunny, about 100 square feet of roaming space with plenty of shade and weeds to munch on. A bunny’s paradise. At first, Thumper was visibly happy. He explored every inch of that yard, clearly enjoying his new freedom.
After a few weeks, his yard was no longer exciting to him. I saw him spend much of his time desperately scratching at the corners of the fence, frantically trying to find a way out. Thumper could clearly see the rest of our backyard through the wire fencing. That was the problem. He wanted to run loose in that yard. Rachel took him out of his yard sometmes. She followed after him as he hopped around our large fenced back yard, about ¾ of an acre in size.
Our next-door neighbor had spectacular flowers and a very productive garden. Thumper was no fool. He didn’t need to subscribe to gardening magazines to recognize a good find when he saw it. As you might have guessed, soon the ¾ of an acre was not enough to keep that bunny satisfied. He’d focus on the edge of the yard near the chain link fence, frantically trying to find a way out.
Across the street there was an empty acre lot. Thumper could see lots of grass there too. Oblivious to the dangers on the other side of the fence, that little bunny only saw greener grass. Had he been out there, he could have gotten hit by a car or chewed up by a dog. But none of these thoughts occurred to this desperate-to-get-out bunny.
Another thing that struck me was that Thumper became so obsessed with what he couldn’t have, that he didn’t enjoy what was already available to him. His obsession with getting out blinded him to what was literally right under his nose. Our dog, Annie, used to do the same thing. She’d spend countless hours looking past the fence, outside of our backyard.
As humans, we are not any different. Adam and Eve had the perfect environment. They had the greener pastures. Beautiful garden surroundings. Perfect weather. All the food they could possibly want. No weeds or bugs to destroy their garden. They didn’t even have to water it. Life was good and worry-free. A literal paradise.
They didn’t realize they wanted or needed more, until the serpent opened their eyes to what they didn’t have. Suddenly, they were aware of serpent-painted-greener-pastures. Like Thumper, what they had was no longer good enough. They wanted more. They had to have more. Getting what they didn’t have became a necessity. A risk worth taking. They were no longer enjoying the paradise within their reach. Their focus was on what they could have.
The situation with the unsatisfied bunny gave me a different perspective, a glimpse through God’s eyes. I had a miniscule take on what it must be like to see beyond our immediate comprehension. I knew Thumper had it good. He had plenty of love; he had a safe home, plenty of food and water, a yard for exercise and pleasure. He had safety and security. I also knew that danger lurked outside of that fence, cold nights, dogs and cars. As long as Thumper was within the safe haven we had provided for him, all was good for him. But once he stepped outside of that, into all that was forbidden, he was lost and on his own. Of course Thumper, like Adam and Eve, or you and me, couldn’t imagine what might happen; only that he was missing out on what he thought was better.
Had he gotten out into the forbidden, our family would have been anxiously calling him, looking for him. We would try to save him from upcoming danger and doom. Just like God looks for us and calls us to him, and tries to spare us doom.
This also reminded me of our prayers and petitions to the Lord. How often we are unhappy with the answers, or lack of, to our prayers and petitions to God. We are so sure we know what is good for us, we ask, we plead, we insist. We even try to help him out by manipulating circumstances. We turn circumstances in our favor when it looks like God is not going to give us what we want.
Yep, been there, suffered that. But seriously, just like Thumper, and Adam and Eve, do we really always know what we are getting into when we lust after that greener grass?
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013