Friday, December 07, 2007

Our In-House Jail Break

I’m sitting in my study when from upstairs comes a terrible scream. A real ripper. Only Emma and I are in the house, so I’m out of my chair with all the adrenalin needed to blast a rocket off the earth. I don’t even remember running up the stairs to my screaming Emma.

As I rushed to her bedroom door, she yelled, “Despereaux is out of his cage and loose in my room! Daddy!” And I thought, “Ah, ha. One of her gerbils has broken out.” You should know that my family is one of those rare groups which thinks mixing animals that like to eat meat with those that would rather remain off the menu is a great idea. We’ve already been through one catastrophe—our dog killed Ellen’s prized parakeet when it fluttered within reach of her mouth—so I knew that event was playing on my daughter’s inner movie screen. Why wouldn’t it be? (Click here to read that story.) Closing her bedroom door behind me, I stuffed a towel into the gap between carpet and door in order to block Despero’s exit.

For the next six hours (well, it was only about ten minutes, but it seemed a lot more), we prayed together and all the while lured Emma’s gerbil with soothing words, outstretched hands, sunflower seeds and promised rest from his traumatic day.

Looking back, it was strangely fun. While muttering our hopes to Jesus—“Oh, Lord, will you rescue Despereaux? Will you guide him into our hands? Would you be a part of this?”—we watched that cute little rodent scurry about the room, dart in and out of our hands, pluck food from our fingers and run under the bed—universal safety, I think. As God would have it, Emma finally secured Despereaux herself, and placed him back in his cage, which she then fortified and secured like a bank vault.

Ten minutes later, Emma was at school with a terrifying story to tell her classmates. Me? I just now ran upstairs to make sure that little rat is still in jail.

I’m lately aware that faith is so practical, and that God is determined to exercise it with us. To Him it’s normal. To Him it’s how we live, only sometimes we’re not so normal. I’m thankful today that He is working in everything for us—even with little gerbil breath, Despereaux—and that my daughters are living well and becoming normal with their faith. We talked to God together during that harrowing experience, and because we were sowing to the Spirit thereby, we reaped in the moment God’s life and production of peace, patience, gentleness and self-control—and a little joy. Emma giggled even before we’d captured her little escapee.

Emma and I will chat about Despereaux’s jail break this afternoon, and I’ll ask her what she felt during the gerbil hunt and capture. I’ll ask if she felt some of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we talked and wished our desires to God. I know she did because my little girl knows God, and she knows where He lives—in her. So, I want to help her understand and comprehend what it feels like to be a vessel in her day, with God moving about within her. What a thrill that is.

Even during a jail break.

We’re better off than we think.



  1. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Ralph, I loved this!


  2. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Thank you Ralph, if I ever end up in jail I'll
    remember........the Lord is in me and I am always at home in Him and He in me.
    Life's fun, enjoy!

  3. Thanks for your comments! I do appreciate that you've taken the time to add them.

    Thank you.