This Is Not a Penguin 

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Photo by Gretchen Engel

This is not a penguin. It’s a duck. And no amount of arguing can get my seven-year-old to say otherwise. There’s that old adage, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck…” This little guy has feathers, waddles, and he’s an aquatic bird. But he’s not a duck. And if you think this kind of deception stops with children, you’re sadly mistaken.

Adults are great at convincing others of lies. For nearly a century our country accepted the lie that it’s acceptable to own humans as if they were livestock. Less than a century ago, a man convinced a nation that God’s chosen people were less than human. Of course not everyone believed these lies. In the case of our nation, those who opposed slavery had the freedom to vocalize their opposition. Those in Nazi Germany weren’t so free. Fortunately, after a great cost of life, the truth prevailed.

Today, I had one of the best quiet times ever. One of those heart-wrenching, soul searching, digging into God’s word experiences. I’m reading the Bible through from various places so I was in Jeremiah, Mark, and Romans. I read Jeremiah 29 which contains one of the most-quoted verses of the Bible. In context, the people of Judah were exiled to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. Think Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednigo, and the fiery furnace. These verses offered encouragement for the exiles. Jeremiah and Daniel are two of the most honored prophets for staying true to God’s word when it was not popular.

My reading in Mark included chapter 8, which talks about taking up our crosses, gaining the world at the cost of our souls, and not being ashamed of the Gospel in spite of a sinful world. Pretty convicting stuff.

My final reading was in Romans 5. It is one of the most beautiful passages in all of the Bible. The rewards of perseverance, the promise of hope, and the outpouring of God’s love. With all of the controversies and tragedy of the past couple of weeks, these really spoke to me especially as a struggled with how to pick my battles and honor God. “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8, NIV) At the end of my time, I walked away with two conclusions.

  1. I love my friends and want them to be able to enjoy what this country offers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and above that I want them to have the abundant life promised in John 10:10.
  2. I love God more. I want to spread the truth of His word and be salt and light to those around me.

As for penguins and ducks, my daughter knows the difference but had fun getting a rise out of me. Now I that I’ve decided to joke about it, I suspect the game will grow tiresome. At least I hope so. If not, there will be an object lesson about how dangerous it is to fall into a deception no matter how convincing or appealing it is.

Have a happy and safe July 4th holiday!

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

2 comments on “This Is Not a Penguin 

  1. Just call it the penguiduck! 😀 (see what she says) It sure is cute though!

    Keep telling the truth in love. We may be having a rough week as Christians, but God is in control and He will never fail us.

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