Kneeling on the small bed of my four-year-old sister, I stared at the tree in our backyard. Our bedroom was small so I had to first climb up on the double bed where my older sister and I slept before I could continue on all fours across both beds to the window. My gaze intensified as I rehearsed the words in my mind. The harder I strained to put together just how I would present my case, the more severe my stare at the young tree.
The previous year this tree was a mere branch on the neighbor's front yard Weeping Willow. It was a beautiful tree and a child's dream because the branches bowed low enough to easily grab on and begin climbing! Since my adult height never made it above five-foot, four-inches, at age six, well, the branch needed to be pretty low to be an available arm for this young climber! However, it proved as weak as it was low. That sickening "Crack!" signified it would soon be living in our backyard, independent of the mother tree! I am not sure just why my father decided to plant the proof of my disobedience where we could all see it everyday for the five years we lived in this house following this event, but it is likely just because it was a wonderful tree. It would be a major part of my plan.
I needed a spot where I could monitor the progress without drawing attention to myself. The growing tree would be an excellent choice. Now, I just needed to get the words right.
I tried on many openings and softly spoke the words aloud to see how they "fit". Finally I realized that I did not need a lot of words because the Lord already knew most of the facts. God knew just how much He would miss me should He failed to come through. I talked with Him all day long every day for as long as I could remember talking to anyone. Not just before sleep each bedtime or meals… and, by the way, who was the one the family asked to pray before each and every family gathering because they liked to hear me ask the Lord's blessing on the huge meal spread before us, giving thanks for all the foods, even those I did not particularly like? Wasn't it my body sitting atop that stack of Montgomery Wards and Sears catalogues or standing up in that adult-sized chair at Grandma's on Christmas or Thanksgiving Day speaking clearly our family's thanks to the Almighty for His bountiful blessings? There was just no doubt about it; God would miss hearing from me!
Recognizing two facts, that God knew the meat of my defense already and, secondly, I had already spent so much time practicing my speech that someone would surely catch me here if I didn't hurry up. I decided to just cut to the chase and give God my bottom line.
"Okay, God," I began with as much seriousness as a determined seven-year-old could muster, "I want a two-wheel bike, a blue one. It needs to be right there in front of that tree by tomorrow or I will never speak to You again." I waited but did not really expect to hear any audible answer. God got the point… blue bike by the tree before this time tomorrow.
Now, I probably should mention here, the family tradition, which had started with my older sister who received a green two-wheel bike on the occasion of her eighth birthday. I do not know how that exact age had been determined but I DID know just how much I wanted to leave my tricycle for my younger sister and join my older sister riding the neighborhood on two wheels! She had been doing it for a whole year already and to wait one whole year more, well, it was just too much. There was no real reason I SHOULD wait, right? God could put a bike right there by the tree and I would not have to wait for my turn to come next year.
I backed off the two beds and climbed down, very pensive over what I had just done. God COULD come through but would he? Well, He would know the consequences if He didn't.
…watch for Scene 2 tomorrow (unless our Internet connection here in Africa doesn't work!)