Devotion in Motion: Learning the Hard Way

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

All the people I know who grew up shooting fireworks have one thing in common:  They’ve all had a firecracker go off in their hands.

Now, it’s never the first firecracker that goes off in your hand. You’re much too nervous when you light your first one, and, because of that, you treat your first firecracker with respect. You lay your first firecracker on the end of the driveway and stand as far away as possible when you light it. You crouch down like a track runner on his mark before a big race. You reach behind your back and extend your arm and the “punk stick” that you’re holding as far away from your body as you can, looking over your shoulder as you try to find the fuse. And as soon as you hear the sizzling sound of your first lit “Black Cat,” you’re already sprinting toward the front porch. You’re in your grandma’s lap before the thing explodes. No—it’s never your first firecracker that goes off in your hand.

But, eventually, everyone experiences that incomparable pain in the fingers that only an exploding firecracker can deliver. First you hear the deafening report, followed by a shock wave, followed by numbness that quickly gives way to a throbbing ache that thumps with every beat of your heart. Yes, a Black Cat firecracker has exploded in your hand. The only thing you can do now is to go inside and seek sympathy (and an ice pack).

How does this happen? Clearly you knew firecrackers were dangerous. And from the way you lit the first one, clearly you knew the safety rules. Your downfall came from familiarity and overconfidence. You began to believe the warnings on the package (“Put firework on ground before lighting. Get away!”) applied only to other people, folks who were less fireworks-sophisticated than you.

You started to take chances, little by little.  You light one while you face it. Then you light one and only take two steps back. You light one in your hand and quickly fling it away. Then you light one in your hand and hold it a little longer before you calmly toss it. All is well until the time that the fuse is a little too short and your reaction time is a little off. The firecracker blows up in your hand.

There’s a spiritual lesson here. None of us is smart enough to toy around with temptation and sin and expect to wind up unhurt. King Solomon wrote, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Whenever we think we’re greater than temptation, we’re heading for trouble.

Dear mamas, let’s not trust in ourselves and our own strength this week, but let us draw near to our Saviour. Teach your little ones, “If you want to be happy, be good.” When we draw near to the Lord, the devil flees away, and our hearts and homes are filled with joy.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that  title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his 25th year of  being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church” (where the Cash brothers lay their firecrackers on the ground—as long as their Dad is watching).  You should write him at