Echoes From the Campfire

All you can do with a rat is kill him or let him be.”
              –Charles Portis (True Grit)

    “But this is a people robbed and plundered; All of them are snared in holes, And they are hidden in prison houses; They are for prey, and no one delivers; For plunder, and no one says, ‘Restore!'”
              –Isaiah 42:22 (NKJV)
It has been several years ago when in the middle of the night I could hear the claws of the cat running up and down the hallway grasping at the carpet.  It was unusual that I thought I better check what was happening.  Upon entering the hallway I saw a long, narrow tail go around the corner and into the girls’ room followed by a rushing cat.  It was a rat.
    I grabbed hold of a rifle and went cautiously into the closet and slowly began shifting through the pompoms and shoes in the closet.  Behold I saw a tail sticking out of a tennis shoe.  I wasn’t about to grab the tail for I had visions of that rat turning around and biting me on the arm, so I took what was in my hand and brought the stock of the rifle down where I expected the head to be in that shoe.  Once, that did it, but to make sure I smashed its head again.
    My father-in-law enjoyed reading and during World War II he found his books were missing.  Because of his rank his cot was close to the stove.  One night he was wakened with something pulling at his hair–a rat.  He grabbed the poker from the stove and as the rat moved under the boards he stabbed it through the opening in the slats.  The next day he received permission from the officer in charge to tear up the boards of their tent where they found dozens of rats.  They were the ones stealing his books for their nests.  Needless to say they had a rat-killing party.
    Rats, there are few things more despicable.  They are carriers of vermin.  Disease is spread by them, in fact, the rat was the primary carrier of bubonic plague–the Black Death–in Europe.  I was surprised that it came into the house with a cat, but it met its demise.  Rats tend to thrive in dumps, slum areas, garbage dumps.  Hmmm, look at Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, they are now a haven for rats, but it seems that they were also created by rats.
    Man thinks that he is more enlightened today.  But look around and you will quickly see that is a false notion.  In spite of good intentions on the part of man (or some men), the world remains one of war, poverty, hunger, disease, and uncertainty.  Man with all his wonderful knowledge lives like a rat.  He continues to do evil, and when I speak of evil it is not just the murder and the killings and the riotings, but it is also the sneaky ministrations of people in “high” places.  Look at them sometimes and the evil oozes from them.
    Some do not truly want to do evil, but it is in the heart of man to do so.  Yet there are those who delight in evil and in bringing it upon others.  People are lost and they seek to eat the flesh of those left in the streets.  They consume what they can and bare their teeth at those who are against them.  Through these streets we must walk, whether to school or work.  The rats may scatter and hide in the shadows, or they may band together and attack the unsuspecting wayfarer.  It seems that we have gone too easy on the rats of society.  Because of that they have multiplied, they have lost their fear of man, of good.  They have spread evil, poison, and vermin in society.  Perhaps it is time to issue a “writ on the rats”.
    This world represents and is, in fact, evil.  Yet, you must walk in this world.  Carry your weapons with you, whether they be physical or spiritual.  Be sure you are wearing the armor of God and know how to use the sword of the Spirit.  The rats are scurrying around looking for things to gnaw on and devour.