One of my earliest boyhood memories goes back to the time we were living in a little house in Navotas, a suburb of Manila, Philippines. Just beyond the house there were stacks of giant Caterpillar rubber tires. They were about seven to eight feet high. But to the eyes of an eight-year old they seemed as impressive as the Himalayas. They posed a challenge. I had to climb them.
And, yes climb them I did, indeed, one early, misty morning. To be sure, I had with me my kid brother Dan in tow. Crawling up onto the highest ledge I ventured to climb to the top of those giant piles! The most difficult feat I had done so far.
I was highly rewarded. The view at the top was so exciting that I was simply beside myself with joy. And, before I knew it I was leaping from one pile of tires to another. Then, so quickly, I became a show-off. With my brother cheering me on and laughing with delight, I was now over doing it. Finally, one oily, slippery tire and that was all that did me in. I crushed into the mud below right inside the holes of the giant tires!
It was dark inside and my immediate reaction was to climb out. But my legs could not reach the upper side of those giant tires. I was trapped.
Outside, I could hear my brother's cries, calling my name. I remained trapped in the dark for almost an hour and I remembered what my Dad had told me every now and then, "Don't even go near those big dirty tires."
Momentarily, I was now more scared of the dark than of my father's spanking. But it still took me several more minutes before yelling to my brother, "Dan, please go, wake up Dad."
While waiting for Dad, my mind had accepted the spanking as a far better choice. No wonder therefore that soon the feel of my Dad's familiar big arms was no small comfort as he lifted me out of the pit of certain death. Once rescued, I heard his voice, saying, "Go wash yourself clean." Running towards the house, I glanced back and saw my Dad smiling and shaking his head!
That was enough punishment that day for me and that stuck with me with the passage of time.
You see, my parents raised us in the 'old' way of the Methodist Church that goes back all the way to John Wesley. Because of this, that experienced prodded me to 'climb' all kinds of 'cliffs' and 'mountains' ever since. My dad has since passed away but as a father figure he reflected that of the Father above. Who "will not forever chide us; hath not dealt as we offended, nor keep anger in His mind... As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those who fear Him." (Psalm 103)
Lest we think that sin will go unpunished, wrong things we commit, if unconfessed, will always come back to haunt us. Our Father in heaven is none of the stereotype belief in some cosmic white-haired old man. Sometimes He 'spanks' us with love through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, at Calvary. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever beliveth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
That's John 3:16. If you know that and believe it, smile – God loves you!