My look at her turned from concern to terror.
When I was six years old, my mother hung wallpaper in our town to try to gain some extra income for our family. She would bring me with her on her jobs because there was no babysitter to watch me.
One day she brought me to a house that was just down the street from where we lived. No one else was home, and she was hanging paper in an upstairs bedroom.
As was usually the case, when Mom worked, I was bored and wandered around the house investigating. During my investigations that day I discovered a dish with several coins in it on a down stairs table. I looked around the room, around the corner and up the stairs to see if my mother was looking. When I was certain that no one was, I heisted a nickel from the dish and put it in my pocket.
That night while watching, Leave it to Beaver with my father, the phone rang. My mother answered it. I didn’t pay much attention until I heard my mother say, “It’s missing? Are you sure?”
All of a sudden recollection of my crime flooded back into my mind and I began to breathe hard. I heard the phone hang up and within a nanosecond I felt my mother standing over me with her hands on her hips. I turned my gaze upward, only to see a stern look on her face that was staring back down at me.
She looked at me with suspicion that seemed like daggers shooting at me from her eyes and said to my father without taking her eyes off of me, “Fay, (my dad’s name) that was Mrs. Rayford. She said there was a nickel missing from the change dish on her downstairs table.”
Then, while still looking at me, she turned her words in my direction and said, “Chris, do you know anything about that?”
At those words, my look at her of concern turned to terror and I stuttered, “I…I…I” and then I began to cry.
I received the spanking of my life—at least up to that point. (There were much worse ones later.) My mother made me go over to the Rayford’s home, sit down in shame in front of them, apologize, and give the nickel back.
And I’ll tell you what… I learned my lesson.
But something else happened. My mother quoted a scripture to me. And though I was only six, it was etched into my brain to be there forevermore. She said, “Chris, maybe this will teach you what the Bible says, “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
I believe it. In fact, I still believe it to this day.
I couldn’t figure out how anyone could have found out that I had taken that measly nickel out of a dish filled with all kinds of change including several nickels. Any natural explanation I tried to apply, even as I increased in age and reasoning power, wouldn’t diminish the truth of that scripture.
I knew my mother hadn’t seen me. I knew no one else was present to watch me perform my crime. I knew I had reasoned when I took it, “How could they miss a nickel out of so much change?” Perhaps there was a natural explanation. But even the natural explanations seemed implausible.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalms 139:7-10 NKJV
God watches over us to lead us in His everlasting ways.
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