In the middle of the night, I was awakened by coyotes howling just up the canyon from our home. A coyote howl can be an intriguing and sometimes unsettling sound. The howling of a coyote is primarily an announcement to gather the rest of their family unit who were separated. When I hear a coyote howl, it reminds me that a wild world still exists in the middle of our never-ending encroachment on their historic territory.
Coyotes’ habitat is not limited to forests. They have been seen crossing multi-lane freeways in Los Angeles and hunting in urban centers in eastern states. Coyotes are changing and adapting to their territory. No matter where they roam, the sound of a coyote lets us know their wilderness is not limited to forests or wide expanses of sagebrush. The wildness of their presence is carried with them wherever they roam.
The voice of a prophet reminds me of a coyote howl. It announces that something wild and untamed is still present even if those hearing their sound no longer want to believe this world is a wild place. We have been groomed to hear only sounds of prophetic affirmation and ignore the sounds of a warning. The wild nature of this world and what can take place in that wildness without our recognition or permission are all around us, all the time. The sound some prophets are currently making is warning us the world is not as tame and subdued as we have been led to believe.
The sound of a prophetic warning can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It reminds us that we are living in a spiritually wild place and we need to be aware. When a true prophet speaks there will be times when their words will remind us of what is present in the wildness of our world. That announcement is something we need to hear so we can navigate what is coming with wisdom and discernment.
“The one who has ears to hear, let him hear”(Matthew 11:15).
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins