Hopper and Clover loved bedtime stories. Bedtime was a time enjoyed by the entire rabbit family. There was a special closeness felt, as the bunnies would sit and listen quietly to one of their parent’s stories. Tonight their mom was telling them a story about the home they had left.
“I’m going to tell you all about what it was like before your dad and I left to come here,” she began. “It was many months ago, well before you were born. You’ve always lived in this warm cage and don’t understand what a home in the ground is like; dug out with your father’s own paws. Your dad is a good digger and we had one of the best holes in the entire warren. In the old world, he had dug secret escape tunnels in case a snake or another unwelcome visitor such as a weasel popped in. Dad had also set up a warning system, which helped in our escape. Our home in the ground was cozy, but it was also a little dangerous. When the warning thump sounded, we often were far from our mound out in the meadow and the dash to safety underground was a run for our lives. But we made the most of it and it added a little excitement to the mostly quiet days.”
“Dad told us then, `It does no good to fear what we can’t control.’ The Creator made us the way we were and also made the weasel and the snake as well, although at times we wished He hadn’t made them quite so sneaky.”
“I used to wish that our home was safer and less exciting, and guess what? My wish came true. This cage is as safe as anywhere is in the world. Food is always provided for us, and enemies can’t harm us here. But it’s sad when you wish for something that comes true, and it turns out to be what you really didn’t expect. Dad can’t dig in this cage and I miss the adventures we used to have. You bunnies just can’t imagine the smell of a breeze blowing over our rabbit hole, with all of the flowers waving a cheerful hello. I really do hope that someday we can go back to our warren and live in our warm underground home again. It would be fun to teach you the secret thumps and cries to warn of danger lurking nearby, and practice rabbit drills, choosing the path for the best escape.”
Clover and Hopper loved their mother’s stories. She was the best storyteller, and when she told a story it seemed almost like they were watching it happen. Their mother, Daisy, and their father, Twitch, were the only rabbits they had ever known. This talk of a warren and lots of other rabbits to play with seemed like a dream. The world to them was this cage in which they lived. It didn’t have room for many more rabbits. Let’s just face the facts; their world was over-crowded with four rabbits in this small cage. Stories of meadows where one could run for 10 minutes and never see the end of rolling grass were just that, stories! It’s hard to imagine open fields when your eyes have only seen a distance of 3 feet.
Even so, Hopper and Clover had been happy during their short lives. The cage was their home and they had adapted to their surroundings. Still, every night, Daisy told them stories of the way things used to be and the home in the ground where their parents previously lived.
“Why did you leave it, if it was so nice?” asked Hopper.
“There are some things even your parents don’t know the answer to,” replied Daisy. “We just felt drawn to leave our home and come and live here. Who knows if we made the right decision? We have no way of knowing how to get back, so we might as well make the best of where we live now.”
The rabbits lived in such close quarters that it was very important for them to learn to do all things together, and so they became a very close-knit family. They played many games, not tag and games like that, since there wasn’t enough room in their safe but tiny home. Instead, they played listening games such as, “I hear with my big ear” or looking games such as, “I spy with my little eye.” These games didn’t take much room to play but did require a lot of concentration. And so Hopper and Clover grew, with each passing day, more observant and alert to their surroundings.
Twitch would often comment, “You wouldn’t find a weasel surprise either of you out in the wild woods.
“Wild Woods! It sounded a little scary, but also a little exciting. Hopper tried to imagine what “Wild Woods” must be like. Were they dark like the nighttime? Were they full of strange sounds and smells? What did a weasel look like? It was hard to imagine what he had never been able to see. So the days passed into months.
The kind people who took care of them had many other animals they watched over as well. Yet, the rabbit family had never seen these other animals, since their own cage had wooden sides that blocked their view in every direction except straight ahead. Daisy and Twitch recognized some of the sounds and would tell Hopper and Clover.
“Listen! Do you here that?”
“If you ever hear that sound outside of this cage, run lickety-split to the nearest hole. In years past, the Whoo-whoo carried off some of your relatives.
Talk like that made Hopper and Clover shiver. They hadn’t seen the whoo-whoo, but their imaginations had it figured to be a frightful beast about 7 feet tall!
One morning the rabbits awoke as usual and were provided breakfast by kind hands. Little did they know that today, their world was once again going to change. Soon after breakfast, gentle hands picked them up from their cages. They had been held before and liked snuggling down in the cradling arms. But this was different. They were being carried somewhere. Rabbits are nervous creatures, but the hands softly stroked their fur and kind voices soothed their nerves. Soon, they became curious and began looking around at where they were going. They were being carried past rows and rows of different cages of all shapes and sizes, each containing different animals. One rather large cage had two beautiful, feathered creatures with large, wise, but cruel eyes.
“That’s the Whoo-Whoo,” whispered Daisy.
The two young rabbits noticed the sharp claws, and though they weren’t 7 feet tall, the sharp beaks looked dangerous and they trembled a bit. Soft hands stroked their fur and gentle voices soothed them once again. As they continued, the passageways continued to be lined with cages of every kind of animal imaginable. Finally, after going up a couple of ladders and down many passageways, they were brought to a door and saw a brightness they had never seen before. A blue ceiling to the world took their breath away and the brightness came from a fiery yellow light up above. They had come outside!
The gentle hands put them down, and the rabbits were free, for the first time in a year. Looking back, they saw the large wooden structure from which they had come.
“I still don’t know why we were drawn to come to that wooden thing last year,” Daisy wondered out loud. “We used to stay away from people altogether, when suddenly we had that urge to let those people pick us up and put us in a cage.”
While Daisy was sitting and thinking, Hopper and Clover were beginning to explore the area. It was dry, rocky, steep ground and there were green plants poking up all over, as if they were coming out after a long sleep. Clover tasted some, and it was delicious, not like the dry straw and hay they had been eating ever since they could remember. This was fresh and sweet, and the taste was so good that chewing was a delight and was done slowly to enjoy the full flavor.
“Mom! Dad! Taste this stuff. It’s delicious!”
Twitch took a bite. “It’s clover. Your sister is named after it,” replied Twitch.
And so their new life began outside the cage. This world was sometimes a little colder and sometimes a little hotter than it used to be, but that didn’t affect the way Twitch dug his holes. He taught both Clover and Hopper how to dig, and the small rabbit family began life anew in the beautiful world, which was theirs again. Many things had changed since they had gone into the ark. If you hadn’t guessed, that’s where they had been, inside Noah’s ark! Being rabbits and not having history books or Bibles like we do, they never understood the significance of that one-year, which saved the existence of rabbits for the new clean world. They were only interested in getting on with their rabbit lives.
The rabbits adapted quickly to their new world. First, Twitch had to make the doorways to their home a little higher, since water came down from the sky and would run down into their holes. But each time during the sky water, a beautiful archway in the sky would appear in the sunlight and shimmer with many colors. That never used to happen! Also, the wind would come up strong and sometimes the ground would be white and cold for weeks. There were other changes, which had taken place. The fur of the rabbits, which used to always be a rich, deep brown, would begin to lighten, as the days got colder. By the time of the first snow, or “white wind” as Hopper called it, their coats would be a mixture of white and brown. Within a few weeks their fur would be pure white and they could hide as easy in the snowdrifts, as they could in the rocky meadow of a spring day. The world sure was different.
Another change to their world was the uneven ground, going up and down and not flat like the meadows they had left. There were also rocky crags and hollowed-out bare places where water would collect in pools. Meadow flowers appeared in abundance when the weather was warmer and Hopper and Clover loved to just sit and drink in the flower smells. The hillside where they lived gave many hiding places to lie undetected if a “Whoo-Whoo” flew overhead or other predators wandered through. This was a much better place for the rabbits to raise their family then the flat meadow they used to live in.
One day as they were relaxing outside their new home Daisy was thinking about their old world, the cage, and the world they now lived in. “It’s too bad we can’t have the safety of the cage and the freedom of these hills at the same time,” she said.
Twitch thought. “When we were in the cage, I sensed we would be free someday; but now that our new life has begun, it seems much the same as the old, except the surroundings are harsher than before. Yet, along with the harshness, there are more protective hiding places than the open meadows provided.” Twitch’s thoughts had given him the answer. “If we were saved for this new world, the creator must be taking care of us. It’s as simple as that.
Daisy thought about what Twitch had said. “Twitch was just a plain brown rabbit, but he sure understood things. What a happy thought! Now, why would God save them if He wasn’t going to watch out for them?” With that peaceful thought, Daisy fell asleep and dreamed of races on the meadows with Clover and Hopper’s children.
As you grow older, you will find that life is full of changes. Sometimes changes are good and we like them and sometimes we don’t like the changes that take place. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (KJV). This means that God loves us and if we love Him in return, He will work even things that seem strange or not pleasant to us into things that will be good for us. We can trust that He is going to take care of us, even while we can’t see Him doing so. God has given us a world to live in that is perfectly made for us to live fruitful lives for Him. But someday He will take each of us that trust in Him to a New World called heaven that will be far better than where we are living now. Our imaginations cannot even tell us what it will be like. But the Bible guarantees that we won’t be disappointed but excited when we get there.