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Our New Home
Fall is in the air!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (and the case of the broken barrel)

I received the last toy of my childhood from my parents on my thirteenth birthday.  As it turns out, I later found out that my parents actually had an argument over the purchase of this gift.  My Dad thought that I was getting too old for toys and my Mom insisted that I needed one more… and you know… I sided with my Mom’s train of thought!  As I expectantly tore open the gift and joyfully squealed and salivated over the Super-Spy, Man From U.N.C.L.E. Napoloen Solo Gun, my Mom triumphantly turned to my Dad at the kitchen table and smugly stated: “I told you!”

As I look back now, I think that this “last” toy was one of the best toys I ever received!  I can’t tell you how many “secret missions” my friends on the block and I went on as we played together after school and over the weekends.  I mean you have to admit… it was a cool toy gun… and maybe, just maybe, I looked a little like Napoloen Solo with my dark hair and Italian features! (although I actually felt more akin to Illya Kuryakin… who was your favorite character?)

Let’s face it, Junior High (or Middle School today) was and is an interesting time for growing children.  In many respects you’re still a kid but yet there are the beginnings of many physical, mental and emotional changes going on in you.  I can remember when the Parents of Youth group that we had organized at the first church we ministered at as Youth Ministers, asked if we would teach their Junior High kids on the subject of Sex Education from a Biblical standpoint.  

Once we started the series with the younger youth, we quickly realized that we were speaking way over the heads of most of the boys as they would sit on the floor in the youth room and toss paper wads at each other while the young ladies hung on every word with a rapt attention.

Once again, I remember my own experiences in Junior High.  I mean, I was becoming “Mr. Cool” in seventh grade (or so I thought!).  I transferred from six years of Parochial school to the public school where my Dad taught and was a little overwhelmed by everything.  But I quickly made some friends and began my transition from just “okay” to “Cool!”  As it turned out, my first acquaintances that year were from a little… shall we say “rougher” back ground than I was used to.   

But at the time I thought they were “hip” so I got my dark green suede boots (come on… this was the sixties!), my tight pants (or as tight as my parents would let me get away with… which wasn’t very tight!) and I learned to walk with a swagger with my hands dug down into my front pockets!  (My Dad wasn’t too keen on my new look and when were together in public places he would always remind me to “take your hands out of your pockets for you look like a punk!)
So I was “Mr. Cool” on the weekdays at school and a pretend “Secret Agent” at home among my neighborhood buddies as my closet friend in the neighborhood still attended Parochial School and didn’t know the “other” me!  Anyway… I digress… That Super Spy gun was fantastic and was the envy of the neighborhood until I had the extended barrel attached one day and slipped while running for cover and leaned on the gun (against the sidewalk) for support.  Well… guess what?  The plastic extended barrel snapped and I got some nice cement burns on my arms and face!  

When I put my weight to the plastic it gave and my gun was never the same again!  I guess you could say that it failed me when I needed it the most.  Which is exactly what the Lord was showing me this morning just before I got out of bed.  Somewhere around 5:30 AM I thought I heard Piper make a noise so I got up to check on her.  She was fine and in fact, I think it was actually the dog snoring on his bed that made the noise!  But when I got back into bed I suddenly found myself repeating Proverbs 3:5-6 over and over again saying: “I trust in the Lord with all of my heart, and do not lean on my own understanding, but in all my ways I acknowledge him and he makes straight my paths.” (English Standard Version – personalized)

When I finally fell back asleep, that confession continued to reverberate within my sub-consciousness.  It was still there when I got up at 7:00 AM and I automatically took it over with the confession of my lips.  Then as I was getting dressed I began to see my trust in the Lord likened to a thick steel rod that would definitely support me and never bend in times of trouble.  I also flashed back to that traumatic time in 7th grade when my bestest ever toy gun broke!

Over these last nine years since the beginning of this journey with Piper’s health, we have repeatedly found ourselves “leaning” on the solid, strong and unbending rod of our trust in Papa God and His Word… and you know… It has always carried the weight of our needs through each and every adverse situation… and even though things sometimes look totally impossible, I plan to continue trusting that Rod as much as I can.  I have seen His support through all kinds of very hard physical and emotional experiences and I choose to believe that it will not fail me now!

So… let me ask you today.  What rod do you trust to support you when you trip and look like you’re going to have a close encounter with the sidewalks of life?  Will it be the newest fad that is sweeping the country like that Man From Uncle gun did in 1966 (by the way, I knew I had a keeper when my wife told me years later that she had a Man From Uncle Attach√© Case that she also received on her 13th birthday… You see… it was a match made in heaven!), or will it be the tried and true, always faithful, always able and always strong in every and all situations, Word of God?

Okay… that’s an easy decision.  The hard part comes in the midst of the tough times when you have to turn a blind eye to the circumstances that are screaming to you and grab and hold on to God and His Word!  Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What rod am I expecting to lean on today?”

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