Peter carefully drove the tractor across the flooded creek. The water came only a little above the front axles, so we quickly chained the Landcruiser behind the tractor. As I towed him across, only minutes later, the front tires of the tractor completely disappeared below the water. I suddenly understood his caution! I asked if I should come down to the creek in a couple of hours, to pull him back.
“No, she’ll still be too high. I’ll just wait until she drops down. It won’t take long.”
When Peter returned, the creek was higher than he’d ever seen it, and it was clear he was in for a very long wait. Although deep and wide, the creek seemed fairly slow flowing, so Peter made a decision. He carefully wrapped his boots and clothes in his big drizabone, planted his hat firmly, and plunged in. It was very soon evident this had not been a good idea! He realized that if he did not abandon his clothing to a long trip down to the Darling, that’s where he would go!
A mile downstream, cold and shaken, he came ashore with only his hat. It was a long limp home through the Bathurst burrs and the rain.
When everything goes wrong, we at least try to maintain some dignity by sneaking in unseen, through the rarely used front door of the farm house. Even this was denied. Peter’s 13 year old daughter heard the veranda creak, and puzzled there could be a visitor during the flood, added one last insult to all his injury.
Our best plans sometimes end up down the creek. We are left feeling naked and humiliated. It matters not that we are doing the right thing; Peter was checking the safety of his animals, and did it himself, rather than leave the dangerous work to me, his hired man. Sometimes we make unwise decisions, and begin to cross rivers which are too wide for us. We do not always wash up in a good place.
One thing I have found about the living the Jesus life, is that I can always limp home. Even If I suffer the shame of needing a lift from a neighbour who found me naked in the paddock, the front door of God’s Love is open and waiting. God does not greet me with the offended primness of a school girl- “Dad... you are sooo disgusting.” God does not humiliate me with the hilarity of the rest of the household, who pass the story on to the whole district. God does not scold me like my badly frightened wife. God simply loves me, lets me curl up and get warm, and understands I need time to pick the prickles out of my feet.
This is the love of God.
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