It was mid-winter in south Louisiana and for some reason the temperature had dipped down into the upper twenties. Apparently a cold front had gotten off course and had stopped here to get directions for some place up north. I showed the frigid beast which direction to turn, but it simply turned a cold shoulder and sat down to contemplate how it had gotten here.
My brothers and I decided to make the best of Mr. Cold's morose mood by traipsing around in the woods near our house. Wandering around in the woods, chopping down trees with our little hatchets, scaring the feathers off of a few birds with the pellet gun, and pretending we were in the army on a mission were some of the various activities we engaged in while tromping through the woods.
While sharing our brotherly time together, my two older brothers took it upon themselves to teach me some of the ways of the world. Considering the sensibilities of some of the readers, I'll limit the lessons I learned to just one G-rated experience, although I'm sure dear ol' mom would probably like for me to expound on some of the non G-rated activities to which I was unwittingly exposed.
Making the mistake of looking up to my two older brothers as mentors made me an easy target for their little experiments. One such experiment took place on this cold mid-winter day. My oldest brother, let's just call him John, was into aerodynamics, the gravitational pull of the earth, and other big words at the time and therefore was our fearless leader. I should have been suspicious when he told me that he would let me jump across the creek first, claiming that he wanted to view from the side my leaping ability and the effect wind drag had on a smaller person wearing several layers of clothes. Personally, I thought I made a graceful landing and therefore was a little put out by the mirthful squeals emanating down from the banks of the creek. "Quit laughing and build a fire, I can't feel my fingers and toes!" We were able to put the fire out before it spread too far, and all that running around stomping out the flames really warmed me up.
This and other occasions like it taught me early in life that I had to pick and choose carefully who I should trust. This may be why I was in my early twenties before I ever trusted in the Lord. A psychologist might agree that my trust issues could stem from the fact that I ate a piece of raw bird (don't ask) because my older brothers said they had done it and that was the only way I could be in their club. Looking back, I should have realized neither one of them was green and therefore couldn't have tasted of the initiation bird.
Although many excuses could have hindered my salvation, none would have been acceptable in God's eyes. Though my finger of distrust could point in many directions, it could never point toward God. No initiation or payment on my part was necessary for God to love me. No feats of greatness and thankfully no leaps except one of faith were necessary for eternal life. Now when God directs, I don't have to worry if I can make the jump, because I know I'll never end up in the water.
Well, there's my brother at the door. He said he knows of a great fishing hole if we can just hop across the creek.
Charles Lee is a Baptist minister currently working in the Denham Springs, LA area. He is married to his beautiful wife of fourteen years and they have four incredibly beautiful and intelligent children. Charles can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.