Every evening my son and children would be frantic looking for their escaped pet rabbit.
Last summer he was given a pet rabbit. His children named him Peter Rabbit. It was pre-owned but not pre-loved. When a bunny is young it is furry and cuddly, and is attractive as a live pet instead of a fluffy toy that doesn’t breathe. But a pet needs looked after, fed, watered and space to sleep and run. It may not take to being cuddled or it can mess up the kitchen if kept indoors. Soon the novelty of a pet rabbit wears off. Peter Rabbit had grown up, had a mind of his own and didn’t want to be cuddled any more. It wanted adventure.
At first Peter joined in with my son’s children when they were playing in their back garden. An elderly neighbour who lived on his own commented that he loved to hear the children play and listen to their squeals of delight when they played happily together. He would have heard a different cry when they would fall or fight but he didn’t mention that part.
The two older boys played together. The third child wasn’t always included in their play so he made friends with Peter Rabbit. He was chased round the garden or often got soaked when the boys were playing with the hose as their dad watered the garden. When bedtime came mum and dad were busy making dinner and getting their young family to bed. Toy tractors, diggers, buckets and spades were scattered where the children left them. Peter Rabbit was forgotten about. He made his own way into his bed in the shed for the night.
School term started, cold days came and the little children were not out playing in the garden as often. Peter Rabbit was alone. He began to find his way beyond the garden squeezing under the gate. He wanted to explore. He survived cars, dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. Of an evening when mum would return from a school run a neighbour would return Peter Rabbit. This happened a few times. Eventually the neighbours gave up. But Peter Rabbit always found his way home for the night.
Soon this young family were feeling hemmed in and needed for more space for their growing family. Mum and dad busied themselves through the winter keeping up the routine of getting children to school, making meals and caring for their children. The young family and Peter Rabbit survived the winter.
My son began to look for a bigger house. They would ideally have loved to move to the country. But there was nothing suitable available. God cares for the little children. He cares for the parents. He understood our son and daughter in law’s pressure in rearing a young family. He even cares for our pets.
A friend of their’s told them a house was available near where she lived in town. It wasn’t on the open market yet. Would they be interested in looking at it? They went along to view it. It was a big old house with a walled in garden and a green house with two grape vines in it. When I heard about the grapes I said, “That is the house for them”.
They were a bit daunted at first. “How will they heat it?” “Can they afford it?” But look at the grapes. It is private, it is safe for the children, no one overlooking your garden. It has a sunny aspect! The estate agent suggested my son put in an application. The house would be freshly painted and carpets cleaned for the new owner.
I was totally confident that God would provide a bigger home for my son and his family. I believed God for our growing family and he has always provided. In Numbers 33 v 53 I read,
“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land in proportion to their size. A bigger tribe gets more land.”
I went to visit my son and his family a few days ago in their new home. The front door opened into a bright hallway, already family photos on the wall, a spacious living room, kitchen, play room full of toys and bedrooms. More than they could ask or think. The back door opens onto the garden, a natural sun trap. They had their breakfast out on the lawn on their first morning. What freedom and beauty. The Lord has given my son his promised land!
We sat down in the sun for a cup of coffee together. I marvelled at the goodness of God in the land of the living. A Robin flew past me and landed in the hedge behind. It then perched on a chair and pecked some crumbs from the table. Peter rabbit was munching happily nearby. The young children played together somewhere in the big garden. We heard their voices. Mum and dad could enjoy time relaxing in the sun having coffee secure knowing their children were safe. Peter Rabbit won’t want to escape again.
My son and children won’t be frantic looking for their pet rabbit again.