Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saving Hamsters


When I was in Year 7 I decided to raise a little money. I bought two hamsters. A boy hamster. And a girl hamster. When they were old enough the girl hamster had babies. I had talked to the local pet store and they had assured me that they would buy the babies from me once they had hair.

The morning after the first litter of hairless baby hamsters were born I carefully added food to the dish and water to the bottle on the side of the cage. As I was leaving my room to head off to school I realized that it was quite cold on my desk in the corner where the aquarium with the little family in it was resting. So, I quickly picked up their home and moved it over to the window where the morning sun could warm the babies and parents.

When I returned from school I was heartbroken to find that the sun had mercilessly cooked all of the baby hamsters. The mum and dad were fine. But the heat had been too much for the fragile newborns. They were all dead. All seven of them. I felt horrible. It was my fault. If only I would have left them on the desk. If only. I knew they needed sun. But they also needed protection from the sun.

When the next litter was born I devised a plan. I arranged the aquarium so that only half of it would get sun. Then they could get some sun, but still have the freedom to move away from the sun. But the little babies didn’t get the point. They didn’t see the grand plan and they just sat there in the sun. And cooked.

So, with litter three I added a new phase to my plan. I went to the fridge and got a small piece of cheese. Then I went to the spice rack and got the black pepper, some coriander and a pinch of salt. I rubbed each spice into the cheese. It was perfect. I went and arranged myself so that I was leaning over their aquarium. And then I ate the cheese. It worked. Slowly… But it worked. The mixture was perfect and I began to shrink. Soon I was only the size of one of the parent hamsters and I was sitting on the edge of the aquarium swinging my legs. I dropped into the aquarium, making sure not to land on any of the third litter. I curled into a ball and the final phase of my incarnation medication kicked in. I grew fur, four little pink feet and a really cute wiggly nose. I was a hamster! Yes! But I still had all my human super smarts. I had a plan and it was in full swing.

I went to the little baby pinkies and said, “Hey guys, spend a bit of time in the sun and then move over into the shady side. Don’t get cooked like those who have gone before you.” They just stared back at me – with closed eyes and wiggling noses. I tried again, “The sun is hot! The sun – that big round thing out the window – it gets real hot. It’ll warm you up. But, then you’ve got to move! Ok?” They squeeked in my general direction. Had they understood? I couldn’t tell.

By this time their parents had come to check out the new hamster that had dropped from above. They waddled up to me and nuzzled me for a bit. Suddenly I had a thought, These are the parents! The guardians of the little ones. I’ll tell them! So, I did. They didn’t seem impressed. Their response baffled me. They said, “Nope. That’s not why the babies die. They just die. The have all died. Death is inevitable. Nothing we can do about it. And we reckon, why not die warm. So, we put them in the sun while they die.” I was dumbfounded. I tried to correct their misconceptions. It’s the sun that’s killing them! They didn’t like my ideas. Who was I to correct them anyhow?

I went and began picking the babies up in my little bucktoothed mouth and carrying them to the cool corner. The parents began squeaking uncontrollably. After I dropped a baby in the shade and headed back to pick up the next one, the mother would grab the one I’d just dropped and move it back into the sun. It was useless, but I kept trying. And trying. And they kept ruining every attempt I made.

Then I had another idea. I began furiously pulling out all of my hair. The two adult hamsters stopped scurrying and watched me in fascinated horror. I ripped out every bit of hair that I could reach with my teeth. Then I explained, “You are adults. You have hair. Your hair protects you from the sun. Watch.” Then I went over and laid down in the sunny corner. On top of the babies. Protecting them from the sun that was bearing down on us. I began to get hot. Very hot. My breath started to speed up. My back stung where the sun seared my hairless skin. My breath became like breathing fire. Finally it was too much and my little hamster body died. The parents saw me stop breathing. They approached carefully and sniffed. I was dead. They pushed their noses against me and rolled me off of their little ones. Then they buried me with the sawdust that covered the floor of their home.

Moments later my dead body began to pulse. It began to swell. Life returned to me. But I was stretching out of my hamster shape. I was back to the shape of a boy. As I grew tall enough I grabbed the side of the aquarium and climbed over onto the desk. I continued to grow until I was back to my normal size. I hopped off the desk and knelt down to look through the glass. What effect had my example had. Had my death accomplished anything? I watched in overwhelmed happiness as the father and mother hamster gently picked up their babies and moved them into the shade. It had worked. My death had given life to my little creatures. And my example had changed the worldview of two little furry parents.

When did you stop believing my story? How much of it was true? I did raise hamsters when I was in year 7. I did cook a cage full of them in my window. But, I had to solve the problem in a different way. Every day I had to move the aquarium into the sun for an hour and then back to the shade. The parents didn’t understand. And I wasn’t able to become one of them to teach them, to die for them, to show them how much I loved them.

But Jesus did. He had that power. He became one of us. He, the God of the universe – our Creator – took on our broken form and allowed himself to be crucified so that we could live. This is foolishness. Foolishness to the world. But it is life to us who are being saved.

I would rather be a fool for Christ – praising his name, exposing my faith and inviting the world to him. I would rather be a fool for Christ, than the wisest man on this fireball waiting to happen. I choose life. I choose Jesus. What about you? Will you be a fool for Christ? Your story will be unbelievable. And people will tell you so. They will call you a fool and your story a pack of fairytales and lies. But, the more you tell it and the more the Holy Spirit works on the hearts of your listeners the more fruit you will see. People will come to Jesus. They will come out of the fiery future that awaits them without Christ and they will live. If…. If… If you are willing to be a fool for Christ.