Encounters With The Red Tailed Stinkers
by Christian Grandfather Author
Published on November 14, 2022
Categories: Spiritual Growth

Encounters With The Red Tailed Stinkers

By Andy Oldham

When Satan leaves the light on for you, remember that God is your Hope!

“For You are my hope; O Lord God,

You are my trust from my youth

and the source of my confidence.”

Psalm 71:5 

While sitting in my quiet place one late afternoon I began to relish summer’s intermittent breeze. Cooling relief felt good for those brief seconds, but it never lasted long enough to ease the sweat zigzagging through the stubble on my face. I love to sit in my garden in late afternoons at dusk. The sun is leaving for a few hours and it provides a quiet solitude for me to pray and sing praises to  God for his grace and blessings. It is my alone time. I talk with God and myself about life—where I’ve been and where I’m going. One particular day God reminded me of a teachable moment that was painful at the time—but held a lesson in the amazing providence of His glory. I’d like to share that with you, if you don’t mind.

One of my favorite hobbies is woodworking. I’m a greenhorn, always have been. If you could see all the mistakes, and wasted wood that has been tossed, you would not hesitate to ask me the same question my wife has asked me a gazillion times, “Do you know what you are doing?” To which I would have to answer, “Nope!”

But I love to do it. I don’t have a shop and my workbench is outside. One day, the project I was working on needed the edges routed. A twinge of torture sped through the veins of my hand like someone had stabbed me with a bolt of lightning. I tell you, I felt like I was fixin’ to die! When the router stopped, I realized I was under attack from a nest of wasps. I ran inside for cover and first aid. While there I thought, I’m gonna get those little buggers, so I prepared for war by grabbing a can of wasp spray. 

Once outside, my hand felt like it had been vaccinated with a Victrola. As it continued to swell, I eased over to the bench and slowly looked under the bottom. There it was! A large, inverted mushroom covered in wasps. There must have been a hundred of ‘em. Well, not really, but with the pain in my hand and the brainwaves sending catastrophic disaster, it sure looked like it. 

I knew that extreme vigilance would be the only thing that would keep me from being stung again. I began to spray. The battle was on. The fog was as thick as the swamps of Louisiana. Several fell to the ground. Other rusty-red bodies had me in their sights. I danced like I was possessed by seven demons, trying to avoid more of their venomous and inflamed tails. As I had become a sudden threat to their family and home, they shifted altitude and direction in profound retribution, their fury thrusting them forward. At last, the final wasp fell to the ground. I claimed victory and headed back to work.

A while later, another of the nosey little vermin buzzed around my head—probably out gathering food and whatever was needed to enlarge the nest. When he landed on the bench I placed an empty paint can over him. Darkness signaled a storm was brewing, so I ran inside. 

Three days later I returned to the project and noticed the can. I thought, surely the wasp is dead. I raised the can and out he flew; I couldn’t believe it.  It’s hot in the South, y’all! He’d survived the heat and darkness, and now he disappeared into the backyard haze. I was dumbfounded, not because the wasp was alive, but because of the small, three-celled inverted mushroom I found inside. God’s creature not only survived his darkest hour, but also continued the life’s work God had given him. Though he may have been afraid and unsure of the future, he never gave up. Now he claimed victory over his enemy.

This little red-tailed stinker didn’t allow circumstance to keep him from accomplishing his purpose. Our enemy wants us to believe we have no purpose, and through fear, tries to intimidate us ‘til we give up. He sprays his toxic fog of lies and trepidation over us, doing his best to stop another of God’s creatures. Like that tiny wasp, God gave us certain individual characteristics and gifts to become like Him in our Christian walk and build His kingdom, bringing honor to His name. 

Jesus said, “I am the door.”

God exhorts us to make ready for Satan’s certain attacks, providing His Word upon which to draw our strength. Yes. He provides our armor to defend against the enemy and thwart his attacks.

“…be strong in the Lord [be empowered

through your union with Him]; 

draw your strength from Him 

[that strength which 

His boundless might provides.]

Ephesians 6:10-18 AMP

We must not delay our preparation until the enemy attacks, but pageant our armor and the gifts He has given daily if we hope to claim the victory. God’s provision of prayer is a communication system unequaled by any of today’s sophisticated technology. We must be ready to receive His guidance and His blessings when we pray for them. Whatever the circumstance, ask God to bring truth to light, healing to your broken heart, and His love to your soul.

“Yet amid all these things we are more
than conquerors and gain our surpassing victory
through Him Who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (AMP)

When circumstance covers us with defeat it is time to hold our heads high and remember we are conquerors. Nothing comes against us that will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). The beauty of it all is that God goes out before us as we face this circumstance, and He stands behind us as our rear Guard (Isaiah 52:12).

Have you ever wanted to give up? Stop! Be strong! Be encouraged, for . . . once God reveals His truth, He begins directing you to press through and move beyond your circumstances. He will provide that prayer-answering truth only when you are willing to open your heart to it and lay every hurt and anger and bitterness at his feet. Peace comes only if you allow it—get out of your own way—give up your fear of your circumstances. Like the wasp, it is only for a season. Continue to build in the dark and stand astonished when the cover is lifted.

“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you
into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 (AMP)

Now you can get on your knees and give thanks and sing praise to the One who has brought you through the darkness and into the Light.

Peace has arrived!


Thank You, Father!

Andy Oldham is the founder and co-creator of Christian Grandfather Magazine. He received his B.A. in religious studies and education from Anderson University. He has served as pastor to senior adults, and fills pulpits when needed. Andy taught memoir classes at the local library and after writing his personal memoirs wrote Everlasting Cronies, a story of growing up in rural Louisiana. His inspirational column in the Northside Sun Newspaper was well received by his community. A poem, Winters Grace has been honored by the Mississippi Poetry Society. He and his wife, Barbara, have six grandchildren and enjoy retirement in Mississippi.

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Feature Photo by Brianna Bailey on Unsplash


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