Friday, December 10, 2010
OUR FOOLISHNESS, GOD'S KINDNESS
I was reading one of the books the Lord has laid on me lately, and have read a number of times in the past, "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. One piece jumped out at me today and caused a laugh on my part.
When he was a young boy before Germany had invaded Holland, he was testing a Christian village member to see if he had the same meanness as most folks do. Andrew climbed a ladder and covered the chimney with a window-sized glass which caused smoke to invade the home. Andrew had run across the road to hide and watch the man's facial expressions. The man came out, and found the cause of the smoke, climbed up on the roof and brought down the glass, and even though he didn't say any poor words, his face was hard. Andrew was happy to notice that the man was not perfect.
Some years later, Andrew, while walking past their house, was given a cookie by Mrs. Whetstra, the man's wife. When Andrew turned away to continue on to do his errands, he says: "Mr. Whetstra called after me. 'You can eat the cookie. Oh I know, sometimes that old stove of ours smokes something awful. But it's worked fine ever since I got my new window in.'"
"That night, lying on my bed in the loft, I got to thinking about Mr. Whetstra. So he'd known all along. But he hadn't told my father, as every other grown-up in town would have done. I wondered why...."
This reminded me of an incident that occurred in September of 1962, my senior year of high school. It was a sunny Saturday. My grandmother had come for the weekend and had been brought by a young man... I don't remember his name or age, although I think he was probably in his early 20s. He had brought her in his car.
While he was there, somehow I had the urge to do something way beyond what I'd ever done. I did not have a drivers license and rarely drove. BUT I decided I wanted to drive his car... and he let me get away with it, for some strange reason. Two of my young sisters got in the car with us. Somehow I connected with friends a year younger than me, Alice and Janet... Alice was driving her brother's car, and Janet, his girlfriend, was the passenger.
We lived in a small town, Klickitat, Washington. The town was at the Klickitat River and often, outside the town either direction, the roads passed with river on one side and rocky nearby cliffs or hills on the other.
For some reason, certainly insane while usually fairly sane teens, we decided to drag race on an almost straight portion of the road. One side was next to the river. The other side didn't have the cliffs, but did have a ditch... no such thing as a shoulder ... and some small trees. Also, some teens were standing next to the road, watching this idiotic, foolish activity.
When we took off, we hit the gas, of course. We went some distance, and Alice skidded, and the car spun around, and, thank God, did not go into the river. I slammed the brakes, and stopped nearly instantly with no damage. However, the other car did end up with the rear end braced against a tree, rear lights broken and a nasty dent. Her brother did not know Alice had taken the car ... and even though Janet was his girlfriend, that did not mean he wouldn't want to beat all of our socks off.
The owner of the car I was driving took over, kept my sisters, and left me there to deal with the situation. A couple of guys gave me a ride back into town a bit later after the other car's damage had been viewed carefully... and we three girls had figured out what kind of a lie we could put together that would keep us out of trouble. [See? 15 to 17 year old kids back in the '60s weren't much different than others in the present days ... and I bet we weren't the first generation to pull this foolishness off.]
OK, that's the story. Now the amazing part...
besides the fact that none of us ended up in a deadly crash or in the river ... my parents never heard anything about it.
The car owner didn't tell them, didn't tell my grandma. My young sisters didn't say anything. None of the "audience" or their friends told their parents who would have told mine. In a small town, EVERYTHING gets spread. My parents spent a great deal of time at the main local bar, and nothing usually got past them. However, this time... this ONE time... it did.
Later that day a local lady, Gladys, who knew me well, said she never wanted to hear anything like that again. I don't know how she found out so quickly ... she lived several miles outside of town in the other direction. Not everyone had a home phone, [thank heavens there were no cell phones with cameras or texting those eons ago, for which I'm extremely grateful], and yet, somehow, Gladys did hear about it. That evening there was a high school dance ... she came to drop someone off and she took my aside and nailed me big time, for which I am grateful.
So, there obviously are times when, even if we do something foolish, God protects us from the possibilities of legal or social or family actions that can ruin our future.
And...FYI, I've never... never, ever... drag raced even one more time. [How bright is that??]