During my childhood, the beautiful Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia served as the playground of my friends and me. We were rugged outdoor kids who simply loved adventure. We didn’t sit indoors like most kids today, playing video games and surfing the Net; we were too busy out playing ball, swinging on grapevines, catching crawdads and minnows, hiking, swimming or fishing at the old pond, camping, or anything else that would get us out of the house. Had our parents only known a fraction of what we were doing, they would have surely maintained a fuller prayer life.
We especially loved to play games. We’d play hide-and-seek, tag, and tackle-the-man-with-the-football, as well as make-believe games like cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. In the world of make-believe, guns were created by sticking your thumb straight up and extending your index finger straight out while curling the other three fingers around a make-believe pistol grip. If someone pointed his “gun” at you and shouted “Bang!” or “Pow!” you were considered dead and were obligated to fall to the ground immediately without moving.
One day in particular we were playing cowboys and Indians deep in the mountains. Envisioning myself as John Wayne, better known as the Duke, I had my “five-shooters” out and ready for action. I decided to climb a huge tree to get a better view of where the “bad-guys” were hiding. Climbing higher and higher, I saw no sign of anyone until I was six to eight feet off the ground. It was from there I noticed Gary Browning (my cousin) quietly sneaking along, ready to shoot the first thing that moved. I allowed him to move in a little closer before taking aim and shooting; however, I was distracted by a noise from the other side of the tree.
Turning to investigate, I found myself staring straight down the index finger of Curtis Gibson. “Pow!” he shouted from the ground. Panicked that I was so far up the tree, I began climbing down as fast as I could. “The Duke has been shot in the foot!” I screamed. Remember, I was obligated to fall, but I was eight feet off the ground in a tree! “Bang!” shouted Gary who was now aware of my hiding place. “The Duke has been shot in the shoulder!” I screamed as I kept climbing down. “Pow, Pow!” A double shot came from Curtis. “The Duke has been shot twice in the calf!” I squalled, nearly reaching the ground. Then as I was dangling from the lowest limb, Curt and Gary emptied their imaginary ammo into me. “Pow! Bang-Bang! Pow, Pow-Pow! Bang!” From just about a foot I finally fell to the ground and announced, “The Duke is dead!”
Just like the make-believe bullets of childhood games, Satan’s fiery darts cannot make you fall. His blistering trajectories usually whiz toward us in the form of stinging words—words like “I want a divorce” or “You have cancer,” maybe even “You’re fired!” All of which can be painful, and sometimes even enough to make you want to give up, but none have the power to make you fall.
In Romans 8:38-39 the apostle Paul wrote: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
No matter what Satan throws at you, it will never be enough to make you fall. Remember, he can shoot all he wants, and even scream “Bang!” until he’s blue in the face, but the truth remains: if you do happen to fall, you will be forced to live with the fact that you had been shot down with blanks.
Mike Collins copyright 2003 [email protected]
Mike Collins is a syndicated columnist, broadcaster and author of Christian-related material. You can find Mike’s previous stories “Valentine’s Day Balloon” & “Mike’s Knives” in our archives. Www.2theheart.com/archives