Lesson from a Tree Frog

A close up of a tree frog hanging on a window screen.

My husband Mike and I were enjoying a quiet evening at our home in Papua New Guinea. We’d finished our post-dinner clean up and were relaxing in our favorite chairs reading books we’d just received in a care package from his mom.

Suddenly the quiet was shattered by the ferocious barking of our guard dogs, followed by what sounded like a small male cat howling in anger and fear. Puzzled, we headed to the front door to take a look outside.

The dogs were crouched by the front stoop, staring hard and barking at the cat that wasn’t there. As we stood mystified, the “cat” cried out again. And again. And yet again.

The ferocious barking of our guard dogs shattered our evening quiet.

And then Mike spotted it: a green tree frog plastered on the screen wire on our security door. The iron grill work that helped secure it against intruders slowed down the dogs. But they’d found their prey, and both they and the frog knew his eventual fate. His howls neither deterred the dogs nor impacted the outcome of the encounter. He was doomed.

The incident reminded me of the nature of the battle in which all followers of Jesus are called to engage. Its eventual outcome has already been decided. God wins. The work we and our teammates all around the world are doing — bringing God’s life-transforming Word to people in the languages that speak most clearly to their minds and hearts — has Satan and his henchmen cornered. They can fight back, but the noise they make is the sound of terror and defeat.

Rising crime rate, unchecked violence against women and children, crumbling infrastructure, headlines trading accusations of corruption — I was surrounded every day by reminders that we were serving on a battlefield in our adopted home.

Although we now live in the country of our birth, we are still engaged in the same battle, though sometimes it wears a different face. At times it feels overwhelming. When that happens, I think about that tree frog and our guard dogs on that now long-ago night. Satan is screaming in anger, terror, and defeat. Collectively we are engaging in the battle. And we already know its eventual outcome.

Eunice Herchenroeder
Eunice served in Papua New Guinea as wife, mom, missionary care facilitator, and in many other roles. She now leads a team of writers and editors at Pioneer Bible Translators’ International Service Center in Texas. She and her husband Mike have three adult children.
See All Posts by Eunice Herchenroeder

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