God, Grace, Grass, and Guinea-pigs

God, Grace, Grass, and Guinea-pigs

God, Grace, Grass, and Guinea-pigs

by Dave Carter
14th May 2021

In the book of Proverbs, the writers prompted people to consider various animals to see what lessons we can learn from them. Ants are commended to us for gathering food, locusts for moving in formation, lions for being strong and fearless. Rock badgers are also given honourable mention.

Solomon and his co-authors were referring to creatures familiar to the people around them. As such sometimes it’s harder for us to identify with these examples. I’m fortunate enough to not come across lions very often, locusts have never troubled my garden and I don’t spend a great deal of time contemplating rock badgers.

Yet there’s one animal I am familiar with that I believe, had it been known to Solomon, could have changed the book of proverbs significantly.

Yes, my friends, may I encourage you to consider the guinea pig.

We have had two guinea pigs, Marble and Mento, for a year now. Whilst they officially belong to our children, there are certain responsibilities that have fallen to me. Chief among these is that I am the designated person for picking them up if we need to put them in their run or bring them out for a cuddle and some lettuce.

This duty is deemed mine due to a combination of qualifications: Quick reflexes, not being scared of rodents, and seeming less likely to drop them than the rest of the family.

As such, the guinea pigs now associate me with going out in their run, which they love, and lettuce, which is also popular. Despite this though, they still run around trying to desperately avoid being caught whenever I go near them. As soon as they’re in my hands they’re happy, but they still don’t seem to have learnt that being caught by me never leads to any harm.

If we try to put this into a modern-day proverb, we get something like this:

My son, consider the guinea pig.

  • Fully aware that their keeper brings lettuce, they still fear him.
  • Knowing that the run with fresh green grass awaits, they still run and hide.
  • Yet, as soon as they are caught, they are secure and happy in his arms.

We too can be like the guinea pig.

  • Aware that our Father gives only good things, we still have a tendency to fear.
  • Knowing that God brings joy, freedom, and provision, we still shy away.
  • Yet, as soon as we are held by him, we know security, peace, and love.

Solomon, eat your heart out.