BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE
By the late Pastor Bob Moody

Several years ago I was squirrel hunting and met some hunters who were hunting for the first time in our northern forests. They were from the south and were using squirrel dogs. Squirrel dogs chase the little rodents up the trees and then bark under the tree until their master shows up to shoot the squirrel.

These hunters weren’t doing very well. Seems every time they got to the tree the dog was barking at, there were no squirrels.

They had never had problems with the dogs “barking up the wrong tree” before. That was because down south where they hunted, the trees were much farther apart. If a critter went up a tree, it was basically stuck there. In our thick northern forests, a squirrel could travel miles without ever touching the ground, Just because these little tree rats went up on tree was no guarantee they would come down the same one.

Often in life, we find ourselves “barking up the wrong tree.” We are convinced we know what the problem is and yet when we decide to confront it, we find we are completely off base. That’s because, like those squirrel dogs, we only see where things began. We don’t always see where they ended up.

The wise thing to do would be to quietly and prayerfully discern what the problem really was, who it really involved and what the correct method of dealing with it would be. We might even decide there is no reason to deal with it now. The problem may have disappeared on its own. One thing is for sure – making a lot of noise usually solves nothing.

Those poor squirrel dogs can only rely on what they saw going up the tree. We can rely on the One who lives above the trees. He sees everything. He’s just waiting for us to ask Him how it looks from His viewpoint.

Lord, keep me on track today in all I do. Above all, if there is a problem, keep me from “barking up the wrong tree.”

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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