The Skill Saw

For the month of MAY this chapter, in it’s entirety, will be online at the link above. There are some references to the chapter in this blog, so if you missed last weeks, you may want to go read the chapter.

The Skill Saw

For most of my life I have been fed a lie. For most of my life, even though the lie hasn’t tasted right, I have swallowed it down anyway, and worse, I have even fed it to others…

There were a couple years when my family lived in Western NY. We had a house on Cedar St, which was located just a few blocks from the church school we attended. At that time I was around eleven years old, my sister Aimee was ten, and my brother Joel was eight. Because we lived so close, we often walked to and from school. We had many adventures along the way. Snowball fights, yelling fights, pushing fights, slapping fights, and one time there was even a peeing fight… well, kinda.

I really loved them, but sometimes my brother and sister just wouldn’t do what I told wanted. I was the oldest, I was in charge, I knew best. One day after a good bit of yelling, we got home and found the house locked. Mom was gone so we had to wait outside for her return. After a couple of minutes, Aimee announced that she had to pee. I told her she would have to wait for Mom to get back. A couple minutes after that she said, “I’m going to go pee in the bushes.”

I thought that this was grossly inappropriate. Now if Joel had needed to pee, I would have told him to go pee in the bushes. But Aimee was a girl and so, well, it was just different, that’s all. Plus, I had already told her she would have to wait. I had made myself clear.

“Aimee, you will not pee in the bushes!” I said firmly.

She glared at me and said, “I will pee in the bushes if I want to!”

“I’m in charge and you have to listen to me!” I shot back. I was losing control of her.

Aimee became enraged; yeah that’s the word. I think she said the first thing that came to her mind, the only thing she really could have said at that moment,

“Then I’ll pee in my pants!!” She screamed.

It worked. Now I was enraged as well. You see, if it was unladylike to pee in the bushes, it was definitely worse to pee in your pants. Like any good dictator, I didn’t appreciate being questioned and if peeing in the bushes challenged my control, peeing in her pants was practically like spitting in my face. “You are not going to pee in your pants” I yelled.

“I will too!” she screamed back.

And then...she did.

Mom literally pulled into the driveway as Aimee’s jeans began to change from blue to wet. Needless to say, while Aimee may have been the true victim that day, Mom didn’t see it that way. She wasn’t impressed. I still remember that look on her face; slightly angry and a little confused.

We were greeted with that face a few weeks later. Coming home from school, we discovered not only Moms car but also Dads truck in the driveway. Dad’s truck was never in the driveway before 5PM. We ran into the house excitedly looking for him. Mom met us at the door. Dad had been in an accident.

My dad had a construction company at the time and had been on a job site. Apparently while cutting a 2x4, the skill saw snagged on the wood, bounced out of his right hand and landed on the left. Then the saw proceeded to crawl up his arm. He had several deep gashes. The worst was his thumb, which he almost severed.

I walked into the bedroom with my brother and sister. Dad was in bed, his hand bandaged. He had been sleeping but was now awake and sitting up. He smiled at us. Then he showed us his bandages and told us how it happened, and how he should have been more careful, and how the doctors barely saved his thumb. Yes, it hurt, but he had medicine now and felt better. Yes, lots of blood…

When my dad finished explaining the accident, my brother and sister’s interest waned. Not me, I moved to the next - to me - obvious question. “Why did it happen?” I asked. I didn’t just want to know how; I had to know why. “Why” was one of my favorite questions as a kid. …It still seems to come up from time to time.

As a kid I put my dad in some tough situations with that question. “Dad, why did God let Keith Green die?” , “Dad, why does God let African children go hungry” And finally, “Dad, why do you think you nearly cut your thumb off, why would God let it happen?”

My dad would have a completely different answer to that question if it were asked today. But at the time, my Dad had been fed bad hamburguesa, a lie.  And it caused him see and say things that weren’t true… so he responded,

“I think God may be trying to get my attention.”

It was a lie. But at the time, my dad believed it, and so did I. Its not that I made an intentional theological decision regarding the nature of God, I was eleven, but my subconscious bought it. The idea that my Heavenly Father uses Skill saws, that He either orchestrates or just allows bad things to happen to people so He might get their attention, or teach them a lesson, or to get them to do His will- it became a part of my spiritual DNA.

It’s bad hamburguesa; if you eat it, you get sick. It’s a lie that is as old as humankind. It’s a lie that was birthed in the Garden of Eden. Everyday, both believers and unbelievers buy into it. Like me, they swallow it down and then pass it along. In my opinion, it’s the worst kind of lie. It’s the worst because it distorts the true nature of our Heavenly Father. It implies that God is in control...

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