By Freeman Martin

 When I’m kicking up gold dust (barefooted!) on the forever streets of Glory, I want to look up ol’ Noah and have a little sit-down with him. I’d like to ask him about some of his fellow ark-mates during the Great Flood.  For instance, I’ve never liked chiggers and mosquitoes and especially yellow jackets. Used to get eat up with ‘em back home at Route 4, especially in the summer time.

 That would always bring out Mother’s rubbing alcohol or calamine lotion. In her opinion, a bite from any kind of varmint lower than a grizzly bear could be properly cured with generous portions of rubbing alcohol and/or calamine lotion and sometimes a combination of both.

 But we could always feel safe if we stayed on the front porch near Mother in the cool of the evening because she was never far from her battled-scarred fly swatter! I mean, when that thing was worn out, she would weave string through the holes in the mesh and it became a weapon against the mosquitoes and yellow jackets or an instrument of punishment, depending on the situation. But with no central air conditioning (imagine that!), the windows were always raised out of necessity and the screens were long since lost.  

 Now the girls, that would be my little sisters Estelle and Anne, could be involved in starting another world war and they’d get a little love tap from the fly swatter! But you let one of us boys be accused of something as monumental as maybe leaving the door open, and WHAM! It’s repair time for the old fly swatter! I guess that was Mother’s mini-woodshed, ‘cause the heavy duty stuff occurred, of course, with Daddy at the main Woodshed.

 This trip down the dirt road of my memory was inspired by a recent evening on the back porch. We were enjoying some sandwiches and chips with family when a couple of uninvited guests, two hungry yellow jackets, showed up. Helen immediately called for the heavy artillery, her store-bought, plastic-coated, wouldn’t-hurt-a-flea, fly swatter, which she promptly handed right over to her brother, James, who was sitting closest to her.

 To the delight of his grandson Isaac, James took a couple of wild, left-handed swings and misses. After each miss, Isaac (his name means laughter) would squeal even louder, “Get him, Papa. Hit him, Papa.” And each time his Papa missed, Isaac turned up his laughter another decibel or two until James finally connected and the game was over.

 Whenever I hit the replay of that scene, I feel how urgent it is to spread the Good News. Without a close personal relationship with Jesus, some would think that God is holding a Holy Fly Swatter, just waiting for us to fly around and land in sin so that He can whack us for doing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all come up short against His measuring stick. But He is loving, kind, compassionate and seeks to renew, restore, and reconcile when we land where we shouldn’t. Not to say that, because of our mule-headed stubbornness, He won’t ever have us visit the Woodshed for a lesson or two. But His rebuke and discipline is because He loves us (Rev. 3:19 NIV) and it is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).

 Keep telling the Story, be faithful and true……..and, by all means, keep whacking those yellow jackets!