Monday, July 4, 2011


I’ve been a Wisconsinite nearly all my life, and saw our state animal, the badger, in the wild for the first time. The badger dug into the soil so fast, in seconds it had displaced it into a large mound. They truly do look like cute rugs with their short legs and long fur. But I wouldn’t want to tangle with one, nor did the prairie dogs. Nature being nature, however, it’s inevitable they’ll manage to catch a few prairie dogs in spite of their warning system and their running speed.


Positive Feedback

On a recent trip to the North Dakota badlands, my daughter, granddaughter, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching prairie dogs in their villages. Cute as buttons to us, they’re tasty morsels for badgers, as we soon learned when we happened to see one (my daughter calls badgers “rugs that run”) chase a prairie dog. The dog ran into its tunneled hole, the badger bounding behind. The other prairie dogs set up a loud and constant chatter, and several “guards” stood on their mounds from a safe distance. The feedback chatter from the other prairie dog villagers lasted during the entire episode. We watched for a long while but didn’t stick around for the final outcome. The last we know is that the badger remained in the tunnel.

Feedback is important. In the case of the prairie dogs, I imagine their feedback came in the form of warnings. Perhaps it came as encouragement, too.

We all need encouragement. The word comes from courage. When we face any sort of danger or feel desperate or discouraged, positive feedback from someone is always welcome. I treasure the many encouraging words I receive about my Eternal Perspectives columns. When I find it hard to write the right words for a new column, I need only remember someone’s email letter telling me how the column helped them get through a tough situation. When I wonder if I’m too preachy in my messages, I’m reminded that my message to you is for me, also. My words then become the positive feedback I need to get my own spiritual house in order.

The Bible speaks of courage and encouragement. God’s people are often beset with problems and dangers, and God intends that His words will give us hope. Paul wrote to the new Christians in Colosse, asking “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love ….” (Colossians 2:2) Like the prairie dogs that live in tightly-knit villages for the sake of safety and fellowship, we too need one another. Being knit together in the love of Christ, we become constant encouragers and hope-givers. Without the companionship of family and friends, we can easily flounder.

The continual feedback from God’s word, prayer, and fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters, brings us hope and joy that will help us through any danger, despair, or discouragement.

Lord, we thank You for Your living Word, Jesus. May we ever seek You through Him so we can become a source of encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Laury said...

'Rugs that run' is a good name for the badgers, that's for sure. Nice devo, Sally.

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

I'd have to say that badgers are more like rugs that are just plain mean. You do not want to accidently trip on one of those rugs. Love the inspiration. Keep writing, girlfriend.