The story was originally told to me by my brother that you will read about later. As he was describing this adventure the thoughts that went through my head was, he was lucky he wasn’t hurt. With all of our unsupervised adventures I started thinking how God definitely had plans for us and kept His protective shield around us, traipsing and playing through our woods.
I always start planning my next story by prayer and then the stories and bible verses start coming to me when I am climbing in spin class. I began to think of the well story and all the “what ifs”. The thought of falling down a dark hole, where no one can hear you. Your lost, wet, possibly hurt; this would be a dark and troublesome time. This led me to thinking how God never turns away from us, even when at some point in your life you turn away from him. All we have to do to return is call out to our Heavenly father and ask for help and forgiveness. He will reach down and pluck you out of your well. It may be He sends someone to pay for your groceries in line one day. A friendly smile or prayer from a stranger, the comfort of a friend or loved ones voice on the phone.
Luke 15 is about Jesus talking to the tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees and law makers where questioning how Jesus could eat and and welcome sinners to this event. Jesus tells them three parables in this chapter. The first parable the shepard leaves the ninety-nine and goes to look for the one lost sheep. When the one sheep is found the shepard rejoices and celebrates. Jesus explains there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The second parable a woman loses one coin out of her ten coins. She cleans the house until she finds the coin and rejoices.
The third and most relate-able parable to many of us is the prodigal son. This parable is about a wealthy father giving his son his inheritance and the son leaves home only to waste his money on “wild” living. The son soon finds himself working as a slave feeding the pigs. He was trying to eat the food the pigs were eating. He finally picked himself up, swallowed his pride and decided to go to his father and beg for forgiveness. He would ask his father if he could be his servant. His father fed his servants better than what he was currently doing. As the son was crossing the fields to his home his father saw him and met him with arms open wide. The father rejoiced and was happy for his son to come home. The father would not have his son be a servant, he clothed him in rings, fine robs and killed the fattened calf to celebrate his return. Well this did not set well with the brother. The brother who stayed home and followed his dad’s rules and work ethic questioned his father about why would you celebrate and give him stuff back? He already wasted what you gave him and I have done everything right. From the love of a father’s heart he explained we will celebrate because your brother was lost and dead. He has returned and now is found and alive again.
All three of these parables represent the love and happiness of how our heavenly Father feels when we repent of our sins. Today in church, Pastor opens with Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Then he starts in about sin, your darkest place, hiding from God, and the prodigal son. My reason God has me in this church. His lessons have been connecting and wrapping up my stories I have already written. When your yoke is heavy you are pulling against Jesus. You are not allowing Him to “drive” or direct your burdens, problems, or life. 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
No matter what your sin may be, you have not fallen so far that God will not welcome you back with open arms with your request for forgiveness. At your darkest point and you are battling with yourself, thinking you are not worthy of this love and forgiveness. Thinking why would He forgive me? Listening to a pod cast and for the life of me I can’t remember which podcast this if from, but this quote from Jerry Bridges says it beautifully “Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”
Today was another one of those days on the Red Dirt Road.
Our three-bedroom, white wooden house- with red shutters, sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road. You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors. Wooden walls with peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling. This wooden house that sat on cinder blocks was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees and one beautiful wisteria tree. The cedar trees were so large their limbs touched the ground. Their limbs created a canopy of shade and wall of protection from the red dirt road.
We headed outside on this warm summer day to the sounds of hammers echoing through the tall pine trees. Mom and Dad must have started early on working to build our new home. We had been down there just yesterday putting our treasures in our chosen bedrooms. Last night we had to hear about keeping our stuff out of the way on the building process . The house only had two by fours up on the slab. We each knew where our bedroom would be and the excitement of having our own room always led us to playing in our new home when they weren’t working on it.
We,being my sister and brother. I am the oldest. My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby. At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old. We moved in with Granny when I was entering the 4th grade. Granny’s house became home to us for 5 years. The red dirt road and surrounding woods was our playground. Today we were going into the woods behind our new house. We hadn’t gotten to explore this area yet. We were still learning the fields and forest around Granny’s house.
We had stopped in to see what Mom and Dad were doing and to check to see if they had finished yet. No, they still had a long way to go. Brother picked up a two by four and Sister grabbed a hammer and nails.
“What are ya’ll getting that stuff for?” I asked.
Brother went into details about a water well he had found out in the woods, at the far end of the fields. Sister told me they were going to make a bridge across it. Oh this will be fun. Something different, a bridge to a new club house we can make. As was carefully picked our way through the briers and trees we realized the ground covering was becoming softer with each step. Ferns and mushrooms were growing in this part of the woods. The sunlight was barely peeking in between the tall pines, magnolias and oak trees. We walked for it seemed like miles. I started complaining to Brother he didn’t know where he was taking us.
“Are you sure it was out here?” I questioned.
Sister’s response, “Yes he has showed me the wishing well before.”
I’m thinking where was I during this adventure? They must have gone out playing when I was doing laundry. Oh well, we kept going. No sooner had I started thinking we were so lost, we didn’t tell anyone where we were going, and we were going to miss lunch, there it was.
Oh good heavens. We could have all fallen to our death. In the middle of these woods there was the largest hole I had ever seen. It had to have been twenty-five feet deep. It was well over five foot in diameter. Yes, I am in fourth grade and I know what diameter is. This should have been the time my protective mother hen instincts kicked in. It wasn’t. Brother took off his backpack and started unloading all his supplies.
“Why do you have all that stuff?” I asked.
Sister kept talking for him. I began to think, they had this adventured planned and didn’t bother to include me in the details. She responded, “We are going to see how far down it goes.”
Brother began to tie the rope around the flashlight. He lowered the rope down into the hole. It’s walls were dirt with roots coming out of the sides. We could see these divots cut out in the walls of this enormous hole.
“What are those holes for?” Sister asked.
“I don’t know. ” was my response.
Brother gave the most logical answer. “These holes are for the wood we brought to make a ladder.”
We had only brought three pieces of wood. We wouldn’t be going down very far. I was ok with not going to the bottom of this hole. We couldn’t even see the bottom yet.
Brother laid down on his belly and placed the first piece of wood into the divots. He stepped out onto the bridge he had made across the hole. I began pacing. This was not a great idea. Sister handed him the next piece of wood. Brother carefully laid down on his belly and placed the second piece of wood into it’s divot. He then jumped.
Oh sweet Jesus, he had jumped! I had closed my eyes and ducked my head. When I looked up Sister was handing him the last piece of wood. “Why are we doing this?” was my brilliant question of the day. I am wishing, praying and still with curiosity wanting to see if our hole had water in it. It could be our drinking fountain or wishing well.
Brother responded, “The rope isn’t long enough to reach the bottom with the flashlight. So I am going to go down into the hole. See watch, Sister it’s easy.”
I stood there thinking I should stop this. I did want to see what was at the bottom of this hole. Brother stepped down to the wood below him and grabbed the wood above him. He bent down and placed it below his feet into the next set of divots. Sister stepped out on to the first wood, our bridge.
I holler, “What are you doing?”
“Getting above Brother so I can shine the light down there for him.” she replied.
He continued this process for five more times. He was only about eight foot down when we heard dad hollering for us.
Sister stepped off the bridge and we both started telling Brother to start coming back up. He was not too happy with this request. We could hear dad getting closer. Do we watch for Dad or keep our eyes on Brother? We didn’t dare take our eyes off Brother as he began to maneuver his way up out of the dark hole. It seemed like it was taking him forever. As Brother’s head comes to the top of the hole, we hear Dad behind us. It’s not that we heard him moving in the woods, He hollered.
“What the hell are ya’ll doing? Are ya’ll trying to kill yourself?”
In unison, “No sir!”
He bent down and pulled Brother the rest of the way out of the dark hole. Dad began to tell us the dangers of the open well. This was an old water well dug when our Mom was a little girl. Dad then began to fuss about how we had taken his pre-cut wood he was using to build our house. Though we thought he wasn’t watching, he had seen us come through and take the wood. His watchful eyes saw the direction we had headed out that summer morning.
To say the hole was covered, I can’t. Brother as he got older still played out there with his friends. Just last week during my visit with Brother he took us back to the water well. It is almost covered with the vegetation. He was talking of covering it soon.
Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.
Knowing God loves you. Your sin will keep you separated from God. But not to worry Jesus died for your sins. By simply doing this – A-B-C
Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins
Accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.
Believe He rose again and that He will forgive your sins
Confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.
To learn more of the prayer of salvation and to grow in your walk with the Holy Spirit I encourage you to find a church to start learning more of God’s promises for you. I also welcome you to visit a church I now call my home church: Church of the Living God, Galveston Texas