When I was a small child, I used to play in the back yard with a friend named Benji. I don’t remember much about Benji. We moved away when I was 6. I remember even less about Benji’s dad. But there was one incident involving Benji and his father that has always stuck with me.
It happened one hot summer day in Benji’s side yard. His property backed up to ours and I could see his house from our back porch. I remember one day Benji’s dad had dumped a load of mulch in the yard. To a six year old, it was a huge pile. I’m guessing if I were to see that pile today, it would hardly be enough to fill my flower beds. Anyway, for me and Benji, it was a new playground.
It has been my observation, and perhaps I have even noted it before, that piles attract kids like steal to a magnet. Put a pile or a puddle in front of any boy and he feels the sudden urge to jump in it. Benji and I were no exception. In no time at all, we where yelling and jumping and rolling around in those wood chips like a couple of lunatics. We were digging under, crawling over, covering up, hiding in and bounding out of that pile. Wood chips were flying everywhere and life was good. Benji’s dad kept working, seemingly unconcerned that we were quickly spreading his mulch everywhere but in the flower beds.
The fun turned to terror a few minutes later. Had I known that something else was living in that pile, I might not have been so eager to jump in. As I flopped around on top of the pile for the umpteenth time, I glanced down at my leg. There, slowly crawling up my blue-jeaned pant leg, was a giant spider. In my memory, it was about as wide as my leg and had this giant sucking mouth. Only Benji’s dad knows what it really was.
I yelled and screamed, barely intelligible syllibles exploding from my mouth. In a crazy panick I started kicking my leg but the spider just kept crawling up. This is how it would go down for me. I would be eaten alive by a giant spider. My life slowly sucked out by that giant sucker mouth.
Lucky for me, it was not to be. Moments later, Benji’s dad came to my rescue. He came running over once he figured out the inspiration for the yelling and screaming had morphed from delight to terror. When he saw the spider, he quickly flicked it off my pants and squashed it with a shovel. I had been rescued. I would live to play another day.
I remember being grateful that I had been rescued from the spider. But I also remember being a little upset that this relative stranger of a dad had done the rescuing. Where was my own father? I soon realized he was not as close by as Benji’s dad, so he arrived on the scene a little later. Benji’s dad was closer, and though he seemed busy with his flower bed task, it was clear that he was also watching us boys as we romped through the wood chips.
I know now that this whole incident was no reflection on the attentiveness of my own father. He has rescued me many times. I also know why on that day, this strange dad was the one to rescue me from the spider. It’s really pretty simple. He was a dad. He was close enough to hear me cry, so he came to help. That’s what good dads always do. They rescue those in trouble.
It’s no wonder Jesus taught us to pray to our Heavenly Father ” . . . deliver us from evil.” He knew we would get in trouble. He knew there would be times when we suffer. He knew the devil would like to suck the life right out of us. And He knew the Father would be close by, listening for our cry and ready to come to our rescue. He knew it because, that’s what good Dad’s do.
But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.
– Judges 10:15,16
. . . and lest you think “rescue” means fix whatever problem I have, notice what the result of the “rescue” is in one of my favorites . . .
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
– 2 Timothy 4:18
My heart cries out ABBA FATHER.