The Fable of Muddy-Foot Jake

It started out as an ordinary drive to work last Wednesday. 


A light rain was falling from the cold, gray sky. Temps were in the mid-40’s, I suppose, so no threat of the dreaded freezing drizzle common at this time of year in Kinship Christian Radio land. I was on the same road traveling the same speed I always travel. Cruise control engaged and Ryan Freed was playing something good on the radio. All was well.


As I came up over the little hill just before the road dipped slightly into the river valley, I detected something in the road ahead. An animal of some sort. 


I tapped the brake to disengage the cruise control. 


A second or two passed and I could see it was two animals. One in my lane and the other already making its way into the ditch on the right side of the road.




Even though it seemed clear they would both be off the roadway by the time I got close enough to worry about them, my right foot hovered over the brake pedal. Years of driving in the presence of wildlife has conditioned me to approach these situations with an abundance of caution.


Sure enough, in another second or two, I saw a third turkey making his way out of the ditch on the left side, intent on joining his two turkey compadres on the other side of the road.


My right foot applied the brake firmly, but not yet in panic mode.


Two heartbeats passed and it was clear this turkey was not going to stop and let me pass –nor had he decided to avoid my 4,000 pound vehicle hurtling along at speeds he could not fathom by turning around and going back into the ditch.


A voice in the back of my head, doing its best impression of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk said, “Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Sulu.”


I gripped the steering wheel a little tighter and applied more pressure to the brake pedal.


Two more heartbeats passed and I was now close enough to see that there was something very odd about this turkey. He was a young male (a “Jake,” in turkey parlance) and His feet were covered in huge globs of mud. He must have been walking in the plowed field next to the road prior to attempting to cross it.


If you can imagine a turkey trying to run wearing snowshoes, that’s what Muddy-Foot Jake looked like as he struggled to achieve his objective.


By now, I was very firmly applying the brake and was waiting maybe one more heartbeat to decide if I was going to swerve left or right. And then, Jake did something I did not expect.


That turkey opened up his big, broad wings and with two powerful strokes lifted himself off the ground, shook the mud off his feet, and flew right around the front of my vehicle into the south ditch to join his two brothers. 


The voice in the back of my head said, “Oh yeah, wild turkeys can fly.*” And I drove on to work.


I’ve thought about that encounter for several days now and it occurs to me I’ve been a muddy-footed turkey in the middle of the road of life more than once. 


I’ve found myself in situations that seemed like there was no way everything was going to turn out okay. I have recently had numerous friends and relatives in medical situations that looked like they would soon be face-to-face with Jesus and prayers on their behalf certainly seemed to change an almost-certain outcome. 


Now, maybe the deliverance of Muddy-Foot Jake wasn’t strictly-speaking a miracle. God made turkeys with the ability to fly and enough sense to know when to fly. But that turkey’s fate was hanging in the balance of fractions of a second. There were a lot of things that could have gone horribly wrong for ol’ Muddy-Foot Jake on that rainy Wednesday morning, but they didn’t.


And, at any given moment in my life, there are hundreds if not thousands of ways that God is protecting and blessing me. If I had any idea of how many things God is upholding and arranging at any given moment to make my life possible and productive and fruitful for His kingdom, the knowledge would probably be more than this turkey could bear. 


All of which brings me to back to the inescapable and certain conclusion that God is always worthy of our praise. Every moment, every heartbeat, every second of our lives is made possible in Him and through Him.


He is indeed worthy of all our praise. 


Today’s Praise

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) 





* Take note, dear readers, that even though this is a radio blog, I did not go off on a 700-word bunny trail at this point culminating in Arthur Carlson of WKRP in Cincinnati saying, “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” You’re welcome.

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