My Favourite Stories #97

Don’t Snap My Stick.

Nine-year-old Chris just sat there on a log with his shoulders slumped. His lips were quivering as he fought to regain composure as a tear slipped down his cheek. He was heartbroken. They were on vacation. His parents were leading a group of teenagers on a wilderness expedition. As soon as they arrived at the camping site Chris wandered away to do his own thing. Like any boy Chris liked to explore rocks and streams and look at insects and reptiles. But of all the treasures he found, the most pleasing discovery was “the stick.” Every boy likes that special “stick.” It was the right size, and the right length. He carved it with his knife. He tempered it in the fire. Ah, fires! Boys love pocking fires with a stick. He was proud of that stick.

However, his spirits were crushed when a teenager from the youth group reached over and broke off the end. The boy didn’t know what he had done. To him it was just a harmless prank, but to Chris it was a cruel attack. He slid off into the darkness and plopped down on a log. Dad found him just sitting there, his world broken by a thoughtless act.

          “What’s wrong son?” Chris felt the comfort of strong shoulders as dad wrapped his arm around him. This was a place where he had often found refuge. Chris looked into his dad’s face and with tear filled eyes he simply said, “He snapped my stick!”

Maybe your kids have carted sticks home from wilderness trips. My granddaughter loves to collect shells and rocks from the beach. But let me tell you; the world is full of stick snappers. Some are intentional, they get some sort of twisted satisfaction in causing pain. They enjoy popping someone else’s balloon or ruining someone else’s party or day. Others don’t mean to be stick snappers; they just don’t seem to know any better. But their thoughtless words, and careless actions hurt just the same. As Christians we must listen to the cries of struggling people who plead “Don’t snap my stick.”

We all have our special sticks. Some are physical, like sandcastles on the beach that are carelessly trampled, or a pretty dress that is intentionally messed up. As we get older our search for sticks moves beyond the physical to things like trying out for the soccer team or singing in the choir and then someone makes a joke of our efforts.  Maybe we worked up the courage to ask a girl on a date only to be told no!

The world is full of stick snappers! They come in assorted sizes. My mother tried to snap my stick when she told me I would never get my HSC because nobody else in our extended family ever had. My inner spirit was fortunately resilient, and I went on to work on three degrees. Employers can be stick snappers and so can friends.

Just imagine what would have happened if Christopher Columbus had allowed the stick snappers to quench his exploring spirit with their flat earth ideas. Or the Wright brothers: “Hey Orville! Wilbur! What’s that? if God had meant us to fly He would have put wings on us.” Where would the world be today without planes?

What about Beethoven who wrote his last symphony will being stone deaf. Or J F Kennedy, “We are going to put a man on the moon!” Even though they didn’t have the technology to do so at that time.

Stick snappers are everywhere and if we let them affect us there wouldn’t be anything worth getting excited about!  Some people, thankfully, are stick givers. What does it take to be one of those?

God made us all stick hunters. We are all searching for “special sticks.” They are our dreams bursting with potential, ambitions, and aspirations. Within each of us are dreams aching to get out. God invites us to dream, the Bible talks about a new earth, a holy city descending onto a recreated earth with no suffering, sorrow, death or dying because the curse is no more.

Unfortunately, the devil is a stick snapper: “You won’t make it, you’re not good enough, it’s too hard, the standard is too high. You keep making the same mistakes what hope is there for you.” This is the roaring lion of 1 Peter 5:8

But our God is a stick giver. You can trust your stick with God! There is forgiveness (1 John 1:9) There is rest (Matt 11:28-30,) there is the gift of eternal life (Rev 22:17)

Because he relied on God David defeated the giant. With the same faith Elijah went to Mt Carmel with the odds of 850:1. God inspired Noah to be a stick finder. He would build the boat that would float through the flood. God convinced Abraham and He provided. The Apostles turned the world upside down as they told the story of Jesus.

God does not snap sticks, He inspires dreams, He grows heroes from nobodies, even when they live amongst stick snappers.

The Bible is loaded with stick finding language, e.g., Rom 8:28,31 – all things work together for good, or Galatians 6:9 – don’t become weary in doing good, or Phil 4:13 – I can do all things… or Rev 2:10 =- be faithful unto death & I will give you the crown of life.

Snapper vs givers! Do you have a dream that reaches beyond the sky, are you out there fantasizing, imagining, dreaming, and struggling with the significance. Are you living your faith? The rewards in this life may not be great but the superannuation benefits are out of this world. Remember also, that the good news of Jesus is not just pie in the sky bye-and-bye, but a piece on your plate while you wait.

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