I have spent a fair amount of time poring over motor manuals in my day. As the official family "mechnic," it has often fallen to me to read repair instructions for Danny while he's flat on his back, gravel biting, dirt falling into his eyes, his wrench wedged deep in the underbelly of whatever vehicle is in need of his attention.
The instructions are usually straightforward, once you understand the terminology. They can be a little misleading in their simplicity, however. After all, how hard can it be to follow a two word sentence of instruction? Such as, "Remove engine." Oh. OK. Sure. No prob, Bob. Remove engine. Talk about easier said than done...
Years ago, the motor manual that covered Danny's Ford Ranger pickup promised him "hours of enjoyment working on your Ford." Well, they were right about the hours -- kind of missed the mark on the whole "enjoyment" concept, though.
Several years ago, a friend of Danny's declined further discussion on the who of Jesus and of following him because, "It sounds too easy." He must not be familiar with motor manuals.
The who of Jesus and faithfully following him has stretched both Danny and I to the point of breaking more than once over the years. This old world, and its ever increasing darkness, conspires against faith at every turn. And I doubt it will ever stop, this side of heaven. In fact, whoever is in charge of the thermostat keeps turning up the heat. The murder of Kailee Clapp is but one example of the lengths to which the enemy will go. And she is not the only victim of Friday's crime. Although unable to reclaim our souls, it seems the enemy is determined to steal our testimony, no matter the cost.
Just watching the continued decline of our culture is enough to rock the foundation most days, but when that isn't enough, the gloves come off and he gets personal, attacking our health, our finances or our personal relationships. The enemy has an excellent track record of destruction. Nowhere, however, are we more vulnerable than when the assault targets our children.
Danny's temper has only scared me three times in our life together. The first time was when Ben was injured by thoughtless playmates shoving him into a bed of coals used to roast a pig for a fellowship dinner. The playmates weren't in any danger, but the adults that left that open pit untended barely escaped unscathed.
The second incident involved our youngest, Patrick. He was making his way to a friend's house when he had to pass by a chronically cranky neighbor sitting on the sidewalk working on his car. Since the sidewalk was blocked, Patrick detoured onto the man's lawn. The man hit him with a screwdriver while he verbally upbraided him for trespassing. I'm sure he never did that again.
The final incident involved Lisa, who at 15, attracted the attention of a 32-year-old man. Thankfully, his ill-conceived intentions were uncovered before anything happened, or else I would be spending my weekends in Caņon City visiting my incarcerated-for-life husband there.
We are most vulnerable where our children are concerned, no matter how old they get. I'm sure that when the children were small, we believed that once they were grown and on their own, our vulnerabilities where they were concerned would diminish. It simply isn't so. I lamented not long ago on what ended up being my last Facebook post, "The Lord blesses you with children. You love them, feed them, protect them and prepare them (you think) for the world and the world? It just sucks them up, chews them up and spits them out. My heart breaks for my children, wounded by this wicked world."
The enemy of every man is still pursuing his dream of unseating God. And he doesn't care who gets in his way. Nothing is off-limits. Not you, not me, not even our precious children. There is only one defense. There is only One who has overcome and in overcoming, has given us the strength to stand, even as everything around us falls.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.