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  • Tim Patterson

Jump



PLYMOUTH – Not long ago I received a letter from a former high school classmate. We had not had contact with each other since the summer we graduated from that marvelous institution of higher learning that was nestled among the sand dunes of West Texas.


I guess if we had been closer in our friendship that we would have kept the lines of communication flowing more freely, but as we all know, time and life have a way of creating chasms of forgetfulness that can separate even the closest of relationships. As I went off to college and she to another town, our absence began to eat away at our memories, or at least it pushed our thoughts of friendship into obscure corners of our minds into which we would seldom venture.

 

I was glad to hear she has continued to grow in her faith and has come to know the pleasures and the pains of a family. The photographs of her children and grandchildren are a testament to a life well lived and a legacy that will linger long after she and I are conspicuously absent from this planet.

 

Yet recently she has experienced some of the sad realities of life. She has tragically lost a son to an accident and now his children are being mistreated and neglected by a mother that cares more for personal pleasure and feeding her addictions than she does for the precious gifts that have been given to her care. 

 

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be the grandparent of those or any child, and be forced to watch from a distance as the vestiges of your own loins are thrown about and abused like a rag doll that has outlived its usefulness. I am the blessed grandfather of five wonderful Grand Girls, and my instinct and passion to protect and care for them is intense.


May God help anyone who would try to harm them. As I have jokingly said on many occasions, “I will hurt you in Jesus Name!” If it came to my Grand Girls, it would be no joke.

 

But as we well know, many times we do not have the privilege of “interfering” in the affairs of our grown children or our children’s children. At times we feel like we are in a bad dream from which we cannot awake. Our loved ones are in harm’s way, and we are trying desperately to get to them, but we cannot. The anxiety and frustration together form a type of fear that is not only difficult to explain, but almost impossible to imagine.

 

What do we do when our hands are tied, so to speak? What do we do when we are consumed by fear and a sense of hopelessness? What do we do when there is nothing we can do? This story I heard years ago explains it well.

 

A family was awakened by their smoke detector in the middle of the night to discover that their house was on fire. The father ran into the upstairs bedroom of his children and carried his eighteen-month-old baby in his arms while dragging his four-year-old son by the hand.


They were halfway down the stairs when the little boy remembered that he had left his teddy bear in the bedroom, so he broke free from his father’s hand and ran back to the bedroom to retrieve it. In the furor and confusion, the father didn’t notice that his son wasn’t with him until he got outside.


By now the flames and smoke trapped the little boy in his second-story bedroom. Smoke swirled around him, and he coughed and cried out from the upstairs window, “Daddy, Daddy! Help me!”


His father yelled from below, “Jump out of the window, Andy! I’ll catch you!”

In the darkness and smoke, the little boy yelled back, “But Daddy! I can’t see you!”

Daddy shouted back, “That’s okay, son. I can see you! Jump!”

 

What do we do when the black acrid smoke of fear and confusion surrounds us? What do we do when we cannot see the way to safety and security? What do we do when we seemingly have no choices? We must JUMP!

 

Jumping is not some blind, irrational leap into an unknown darkness, but an act of faith that will deposit you in the arms of the Savior. Place your trust (grandchildren, children, job etc…) in Him who can see everything and has the strength to carry it all.

 

I know that is much easier said than done and even though my spirit is willing, my flesh can be very weak. I also know that if I am ever in a situation as my friend is, I will have to keep repeating that to myself as I take that leap of faith, “Don’t hurt anyone in Jesus’ name before you jump.”

 

His arms are outstretched, and His eyes are open. Just….


 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.




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