The Element of Surprise: Avocados, Horses and Little Foxes

As much as I love avocados, I was not about to eat that one.

JB had always been friendly but something had shifted. She seemed agitated that day she showed up at my doorstep and I did not feel impressed to ask why. She wanted to know if I remembered asking her to obtain something through a sister she had overseas.

I did not, because I had not. What I did have, however, was a vivid recollection of her making an offer which I never pursued. I reminded her of that fact and she went ballistic for some reason.

She remembered differently and, as she stormed out through the front gate, I pondered whether she was losing her mind. That was the last time she actually spoke to me although I saw her in the community on a regular basis.

Then it happened.

One afternoon, my son ran in from outside with a small avocado in his hand:

“Miss JB says to give this to you.”

“Me? Are you sure?

“Yes, Mom. She said to give it to my mother.”

Luscious, though it did appear, that avocado went out with the trash and I have no regrets. JB still seems disturbed by my existence, so I am certain I made the right choice. When you live among folk who blame obeah (aka witchcraft) for every bush that moves, you learn to be cautious. Contemporary Trojan horses of the poisonous variety have been known to surprise the uninitiated.

I first heard the story of the Trojan horse back in second grade and I have disliked surprises ever since:

The Greek army had besieged the city of Troy of ten years, and it had proven to be an exercise in futility. They made the decision to build a huge figure of a horse, in which they hid some troops. The horse was left outside the city, and anyone would be forgiven for thinking it represented a peace offering of sorts. The Greeks sailed away and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city, thinking to keep it as a trophy of their victory. During the night, however, the Greek troops crept out and opened the gates of the city for the rest of the Greek army, who had returned under the cover of night. The Greek army entered and destroyed the city, ending the war once and for all.

Some surprises have dire consequences.

————-

There is an angel, fallen, whose modus operandi relies heavily on the element of surprise. and his repertoire is not limited to questionable avocados and sneaky gifts.

We are told in Scripture that there will come a time when his followers will “perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (ESV, Matthew 24:24) and there are those who would seek to keep us busy with updates on lying wonders across the globe– but the tiny inconsistencies we cherish today are the things that will lead us to accept blatant error.

fox

Original image (CC0 Public Domain)

The obvious never surprises. It is the pesky little foxes that spoil the vine” (KJV, Songs of Solomon 2:15). A single leap did not lead Eve to the forbidden tree nor did a single step lead David to copulate with Bathsheba and order her husband’s murder, but – once you hit your stride on the wrong path – one small step tends to lead to another.

Whether we are dealing with avocados, horses or foxesvigilance is vital.

In this age of all things instant, personal devotional time with God’s word is often relegated to the back burner, and family worship is deemed inconvenient – unless there is an odd moment when absolutely nothing else demands our attention. Foundations quake and supposedly-innocent tiny steps lead down a road to ruin.

Surprise!

The devil may show up uninvited but, when we neglect to do that which ensures strength for the Journey, we beckon him to pull up a chair and join us for tea.We cannot afford to sacrifice our sobriety and throw aside our armour. Paul’s call to arms in Ephesians 6 is as valid and binding today as it was when he penned it.

May we ever heed the call.

Be ever so abundantly blessed.

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