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Childhood reflections with a touch of grace: Caught between a window and a wet place

One fine Saturday afternoon, my brother and I were playing a bit of cat and mouse in the yard and if memory serves me right, I was the mouse.

This was really a game of hide and seek gone terribly wrong, especially for me. I thought I had found the perfect hiding place in some shrubs near my bedroom. The plan was to make a perfectly timed escape into my open bedroom window when he wasn't looking.

When I knew the coast was clear, I made my ninja-like approach to the window, lurching into it. I was expecting a smooth landing onto the bed which was right below the window frame. Instead, it was as if I was suspended between time and space, never landing anywhere.

There was a good reason for all of this. My blue jeans were caught on a nail in the window sill and I was going nowhere fast. Who was getting somewhere fast was my brother, who had just discovered that my backside was perfectly positioned for a suitable conclusion to our game.

For a moment, I wondered if he thought the house was on fire and my rear end was the match that lit it. For what seemed like an eternity, he proceeded to soak me until my pants were thoroughly wedgied and even my bed was beginning to look like a kiddie pool.

When the City of Madison ran out of water, the torrents ceased and my brother's laughter rang through the neighborhood. Meanwhile, now that it was pointless, I managed to unhinge myself from the nail and dropped onto the drenched remains of my bed.

Now, I've never been known as the silent type and this was no exception. My anger and frustration over having been bested in such an aquatic manner billowed from my lips for quite some time. My time would have been much better spent putting on dry clothes, but that never occurred to me. I was too busy rewinding the previous events in my head, searching for a way to remove or bypass that nail. Removing it would have been better, as I could have used it to poke enough holes in the water hose as to deaden most of the water pressure.

The problem with all of my ponderings was that I was focused on a past I could do nothing about. I could have easily remained calm while plotting a new reign of terror to meet the next challenge that came from our sibling rivalry. Instead, my thoughts, like my jeans, remained stuck on a single nail that left me suspended between time and a very wet place.

This wasn't the last time I was stuck in life and then soaked by results that were out of my control. I confess, I often forget to just put on some "dry clothes" and forge ahead with new plans for a better tomorrow. Sometimes, we can feel simply inadequate to come up with new plans on our own strength.

Fortunately, God never intended for us to do anything alone. Even when Adam and Eve made their fateful decision to do things their way, God was on the scene, providing a covering for their newly discovered nakedness. In John 6:63, Jesus reminds us that all fleshly efforts are impotent, but then He drops a Glory Bomb, saying, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

To put that in terms that make sense to those of us caught on a nail of some sort, if Jesus comes into our situation, the situation will be at His mercy. Either He changes it or He changes our perspective on how to conquer it. He is the answer to all the things that suspend us in mid-air, leaving us feeling hopeless.

So keep this nugget in mind the next time you feel trapped. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Cor. 3:17) He is everywhere, all the time, and He has some experience with nails that assure us that the ones we face must be submissive to Him.

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