I must have been about five years old. I was playing outside and found a bunch of pretty worms. I was so fascinated by them that I ran to the house to tell mom about my find! Her interest was piqued enough to stop what she was doing so I could take her outside to show them to her. It turned out I had stumbled upon a rattlesnake nest and the worms were actually baby rattlers! Mom promptly told Dad about my findings and I was confined to the house until it was determined it was safe for me to play outside once again. After all, even baby rattlesnake bites can be fatal.
A couple years later, a visiting cousin and I were looking for something fun to do. At the time we didn’t have any horses, but we did have pigs! We decided the sows were large enough to carry our weight so we crawled into the pig pen to try our hand at pig riding. We figured it was a novel idea destined for greatness!
As fate would have it, it seemed our sows had never been ridden before! They certainly didn’t respond like a well-broken horse would have. They were tricky to catch, difficult to mount, hard to hang on to, and amazingly fast on their feet! And their squeals were deafening! After several attempts to ride them, and after an equal number of abrupt and ungainly dismounts, we decided riding pigs was for the birds! While we came out of the pig pen with only a few scrapes and bruises, we smelled horrendous! Evidently some of our dismounts had been “softened” by fresh pig feces.
Mom wasn’t thrilled with our vague explanations about how we had ended up smelling so terribly bad! Mom told Dad and once again I was confined to the house until I learned my lesson not to play cowboy riding pigs. We were told that if one of them had kicked us or stepped on us, we would have been seriously hurt. Apparently we hadn’t adequately considered the “what-ifs” of sow riding!
These two instances are most likely the tip of the iceberg of the number of times I have been exposed to life or limb threatening situations. Yet somehow I’ve settled into AARP age without too many scars! However, I can assure you it wasn’t because I wasn’t exposed to danger. Rather, it would appear I was protected from it!
There are at least three aspects of God’s faithful care that should continually bring us great comfort. His presence, His provision, and His protection. While we may go many days without an awareness of God’s threefold care, it is His protection that is most often overlooked and under-appreciated in my life. Yet without it, I would not be writing this article, and you would not be reading it. I suppose God’s protection should not only give us comfort, but also call us to thanksgiving and praise!
Bruce Hendrich is pastor at Oak Street Baptist Church 804 Oak Street • Elizabethon, TN 37643 • 423.542.4022 • oakstreetbaptist.net