Saturday, July 9, 2022


A few years ago, as I was single parenting the children for a weekend, the inevitable happened.  It never seems to fail, that some unexpected, perhaps even catastrophic, event will always occur during these, “Mommy is gone, Daddy is in charge weekends.” It could be a vomiting 5 year old or a concussed toddler.  It could be a broken, glass mixing bowl or a small fire in the oven.  Nothing is really off limits.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, I sent my son Isaac out to the minivan, which was parked in the garage, to clean it.  I commissioned him to throw away all of the trash, which there was A LOT of trash. He was to remove the items that didn’t belong in the van, (i.e. bowls, spoons, notebooks, pens, toys, etc…) and vacuum out all of the dirt.  While he was diligently working in the van, I was still in the house working on cleaning up other areas of the home.  I empowered the 3 girls to help me.  I encouraged them with exasperated exclamations, beckoning them to clean up their messes…and stop making more messes. 

Isaac had been at his work for about 20 minutes when, between my barks at the girls I would hear a periodic… squeak…from somewhere that I could not place.

“Girls! You need to take care of your Lego Friends and your dolls!”…squeak…

“Ok, Daddy!” they replied…but continued to do nothing. …squeak…

“Girls! Why is there milk spilled all over the kitchen floor? I just cleaned it!” …squeak…

“We don’t know Daddy!” they squawked back cheerily.  …squeak…

As this squeak continued…it seemed that the noise began to take on a literary form.

“Girls! Why are your clothes on the kitchen floor!”  …Dweack

“We used them to clean up the milk Daddy!”  …Dwaaadck

“Girls! Do you hear something?” Dwaaaaad!

“Like what Daddy?”

“Quiet girls!...Listen…” … … …Dwaaaaad!...

“There…did you hear that?”

Dwaaaaad!   The sound squeaked again.  It sounded as if it were coming from the garage.  I went out to check on Isaac, and as I stepped into the garage, I heard the squeaking sound much clearer.  My son’s small but muffled voiced echoed from inside the van.


I looked and saw his screaming face through the window of the sliding side door of the van.

 “Daaaad! Heeeaaallllppp!”

I reach to open the door. It wouldn’t move. My son continued to scream.

“Daaaad! Heeealp! Ouououch!”

I scurried to the other side of the van and opened the opposite door and crawled inside next to him. 

“What’s going on?”

“Myyyy haaand! Ahhh!” he squelched as tears flowed from his eyes.

I now saw that his hand had been slammed in and was stuck in the closed door.  I reached across and attempted to open the door.  It still would not open.  I checked the lock.  It was unlocked, but completely stuck with his hand caught tightly inside.  He couldn’t pull it out and I couldn’t open the door.  He continued to wail as I hopelessly worked to open the non-functioning door. 

Finally, all I could do was brace my feet on the opposite side of the car while pressing outward on the jammed door, and performed my best horizontal squat.  I gritted my teeth and growled in effort, pushing as hard as I could against the door, not knowing what I could actually accomplish.  To my relief, I was able to create just enough clearance for his hand to slip out of the lodged van door.

I think that this is the picture that Paul is referring to when we read Galatians 6:1-5.  Paul describes a person who is “caught in sin.” In Paul’s context, to be “caught” is to be “trapped.”  Paul then calls for those who are “walking in step with the Spirit,” to help restore them.

Consider how absurd it would have been for me to walk away from my son who was trapped with his hand stuck in the door.  Consider how absurd it would be for me to sit down next to my screaming son and tell him how foolish he was to close the door on his hand and tell him how messed up he really is.  It wouldn’t make sense.  Likewise, when we are following the Spirit…we are led to help one another…we are led to “carry one another’s burdens.”  Paul is calling people to help one another out of the trap of sin.  Paul is not calling us to point out everything that a person is doing wrong.  There is a huge difference.  Yet…we are responsible to HELP restore!

May we come to see the Spirit’s work in our lives and help to carry one another’s burdens.

No comments:

Post a Comment