The Mole Problem

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Life is tough enough without making mountains out of mole hills. 
In her book Fierce Conversations, corporate trainer Susan Scott recalls the family job assignment given to her brother Sam.  Every Saturday during his teen years, Sam awoke to the task of tackling the Mole Problem.
“Our yard was mole central,” she writes.  Mole trails seemed to go everywhere, all of them terminating in a mound of freshly turned dirt.
Sam tried to flush them out, thrusting the garden hose down the burrows as far as possible.  He tried to smoke them out, depositing foul-smelling smoke bombs into the tunnels, “after which our yard resembled a fantastic galactic landscape riddled with active volcanoes spewing toxic fumes.”  He also went for those spring-loaded traps with the sharp spikes.  Susan didn’t like to think overly much about how those were received by the moles.
Ultimately Sam admitted that the only dead mole he ever saw in his yard had probably died of old age.
Years later he found himself standing behind a guy in the hardware store who was toting a bag with a skull and crossbones.  “What’s that for?”  Sam asked.  “That’s for my Mole Problem,” he answered.
Sam was curious:  “So how do you get that stuff down into the burrows?”  “Oh, this is not for the moles,” the man answered.  “You sprinkle it on the grass and it kills the grubs that the moles eat.”
That’s when it dawned on Sam that if he had gone after the grubs instead of the moles, the Saturdays of his teenage years might have been far happier. 
He later confessed to Susan: “The thing is, I’m still whacking moles.  It’s what I do all day at work.  Almost every morning I wake up weighed down with the items on my to-do list.  So I get up and come to work early, determined to make progress, to get that one thing that’s nagging me handled, only to find someone leaning in the doorway of my office.”
That fellow worker, of course, is about to present another Mole Problem.  And after Sam has spent the day whacking at everyone else’s moles, he still hasn’t tackled the real problem – the “grubs” that are causing the moles to pop up everywhere.
A great many followers of Jesus know what it’s like to chase moles. 
Spiritual problems keep popping up – symptoms of some underlying condition.  We may feel restless.  Uncertain.  Vaguely disappointed with God.  Or seriously disappointed with God.  Or exasperated with some of God’s grace-challenged children. 
Perhaps we feel spiritual boredom.  Or a deep malaise about the condition of the world.  Or we feel as if we’re missing out.  From time to time we think about all the “sinners” out there who are having all the fun – doing the things we know we shouldn’t be doing if we want to please God. 
So we feel trapped.  On the one hand we cherish a deep desire for holiness and joy.  But we also feel a nagging desire to hang on to a borderline habit or a fantasy relationship, or maybe hoarding enough money to feel secure before we start figuring out how to be generous. 
Those are the moles.  What’s the Grub? 
What’s the one thing we need to address that, if accomplished, will make a dent in all of these issues?
The late philosopher Dallas Willard suggested that virtually every experience of spiritual frustration and disappointment in our lives would be resolved if we simply made up our minds to follow Jesus – to seriously obey his commands.  Our problems wouldn’t disappear.  But we would be aligning ourselves with a Problem Solver bigger than any of them.
This is not to recommend that we push away our serious questions about God, or do an end run around the search for the truth.  But at some point we need to say, “I may not know everything I want to know right now, but I’m throwing in my lot with Jesus, trusting that he will keep opening my eyes.  I’m going to see this through.”
That’s a big decision.  But in the words of pastor Adrian Rogers, “One big decision will take care of many little decisions.”   
Address the Grub first.  Everything else will follow.  We must not spend the rest of our lives chasing moles. 
To put a new spin on that old saying: 
First go after the mountain.  That will take care of the molehills.