I don’t remember how old I was when this happened–maybe around 6 or 7. I don’t know what it was that I did to garner the ire of my mom but I am sure I did it. No excuses.
The problem was that my parents believed in spanking, but I didn’t. We just didn’t see eye to eye on this. I can’t figure out why they never saw things my way. I was looking down the barrel at some good ole’ corporal punishment but I had only reached the rank of private.
For whatever reason my mom decided to up the ante this time and send me out in the yard to “pick my own switch.” Ugh. I now see this was the real punishment. It set into motion a series of mental gymnastics that burned my 70’s puffy hairdo. While I was alone with my thoughts running amok and the guilt mounting, a thought popped into my little but incredibly formed cranium (think Megamind).
I made a beeline for a brush pile in the back and located what to me was a log. It was actually a tree branch about 3 1/2 inches thick and 5 feet long. The gargantuan thing was half-rotted and so heavy from being waterlogged that I could hardly carry it. I snatched it up and headed for the door.
The thinking was simple. Demonstrate how contrite I was by being willing to suffer through a beating with this beam. Then Mom, at seeing how sorry I felt and noting that clearly the tree trunk is too large to smash a small child with, would consider my guilt pardoned. Foolproof. I was going to get off. I really hated getting a spanking.
With tears in my eyes I mustered up my best “I’m sorry” face and presented my mom with the redwood. She was valiant and fought off tears of her own. However, I was thwarted. She sent me back out to dispose of the tree limb and bring back a suitable rod of correction.
Doh! and I mean for real. Pounding heart, racing mind. And then I was rocked by the explosion of epiphany. She wasn’t fighting tears but laughter instead. She was laughing at me. The single greatest comeback in child history flooded my consciousness. An idea that would surely go down in the annals of time and secure my freedom.
I ditched switchzilla and headed straight for the grassy knoll. There I selected the longest stiffest Dandelion I could find. I was almost giddy with excitement. It. Couldn’t. Fail. If she let me off the hook for being a smart little guy and making her laugh, then no spanking. If she decided to spank me anyway, well, it was a dandelion. How bad could it be? Woohoo, things were looking up.
I bounded into the house with my latest find and handed it to my mom. She started snickering. SCORE!! Then she said the most horrible words a budding schemer could ever hear.
“I guess I’ll have to go get my own switch.”
Oh, crap. I never considered that she could be entertained by me and still need to let me suffer my consequence. I won’t bore you with the details of my demise. Let’s just say I wasted a lot of precious brain power.
I look back at that and am reminded of how God treats me. He loves me. He is entertained by my antics at times. And, at the same time He has set up a natural progression of things. If I jump off of a 1,000 foot cliff, when I reach the bottom I will suffer the consequences of my actions.
He loves me too much to leave me as I am, and experience does seem to be the best teacher.
Have you ever tried to dodge what you had coming to you? Do you think we should be or are kept from our consequences by God?