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An Imaginary Threat

Last spring the window to one of the rooms in our house was repeatedly attacked by a robin. The bird would perch at the base of the window, ruffle its feathers, chirp loudly, and then fly headfirst into the glass.

I did some research and learned that robins are territorial. While nesting, they drive out any competing robins. This bird apparently saw its reflection in our window and thought it was another robin. The threat was not real; it was only an illusion.

In the Old Testament, we see an instance when Jacob imagined a threat that wasn’t really there. Years earlier, Jacob had stolen his brother Esau’s blessing by their father. Now, after many years of separation, they were going to meet again. Jacob thought Esau would harm him, so he sent gifts ahead as a peace offering of sorts. Then, when he saw Esau approaching with 400 men, Jacob panicked. Yet what Jacob thought was an attack force turned out to be a welcoming committee. “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Gen. 33:4).

In interpersonal relationships, we sometimes misinterpret a situation. We must ask the Lord for discernment so we don’t miss a friendship because of an imaginary threat.

I went outside to find a friend
But could not find one there;
I went outside to be a friend,
And friends were everywhere! —Payne

Don’t be afraid of a presumed enemy, but trust in the Lord to make a new friend.