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South Texas Living


He leads us not into temptation




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May 24, 2011 | 1,827 views | Post a comment

The weather of late has been absolutely crazy. While parts of the country are flooding, we’ve been deprived of rain for months. While we await a favorable weather pattern to develop, other than a dry wind, we watch the weather unleash horrible violence across many states day after day.

Tornadoes in the hundreds have brought fear and devastation to many communities who now are in need of much prayer as they piece their lives back together. I’ve never experienced such a cataclysmic event, and pray to God I never do, but when I see such on the news, my heart aches for the people involved.

Well, we’re one day closer to our next rain and trusting in what all the old timers tell me, “... it’s gonna rain, just as soon as this dry spell is over.”

I was reminded the other day of a childhood story, Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch by Joel Chandler Harris. Brer Rabbit is a central figure in the Uncle Remus stories of the southern United States. He is a trickster character who succeeds through his wits, rather than through strength, tweaking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. The story of Brer Rabbit, a contraction of “Brother Rabbit,” has been linked to both African and Cherokee cultures. Disney later adapted the character for their “Song of the South.”

The story can conjure up many meanings. I had an English teacher who had us read the story in its original context, not an easy thing to do. So, Brer Fox, sort of a Wile E. Coyote, built a Tar-Baby of pitch, knowing Brer Rabbit couldn’t resist trying to socialize with it and touch it. Well, Brer Rabbit did just that and after hugging the Tar-Baby, Brer Rabbit was stuck and couldn’t escape Brer Fox.

‘“Who ax you fer ter come an strike up a ’quaintance wid dish yer Tar-Baby? An who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in de roun’ worril. You des tuck, and jam yo’se’f on dat Tar-Baby widout waitin’ fer enny invite,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘an dar you is, an dar you’ll stay twel I fixes up a bresh-pile and fires her up, kaze urm gwineter bobby-cue you dis day, sho,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.”

Brer Rabbit had only one escape, the briar patch. “Den Brer Rabbit talk mighty ’umble. ‘I don’t keer w’at you do wid me, Brer Fox, jist so you don’t fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas’ me, Brer Fox, but don’t fling me in dat briar-patch,’ sezsee.” In the end all Brer Fox really wanted to do was hurt Brer Rabbit. “Co’se Brer Fox wanter hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin, so he cotch ’im by de behi-me legs an slung ’im right in de middle er de briar-patch.”

There was a lot of commotion and at the end of the story, Brer Fox saw Brer Rabbit sitting on a log at the top of the hill combing the pitch out of his hair. Hero or villain?

(James 1:13-15) The devil is definitely the “Wile E. Coyote” type. He has a knack for building “Tar-Baby” temptations to place in our path, hoping we’ll try to socialize with it and get stuck to it. James says when we desire a temptation, that’s when we get stuck to it. “Oh, I’ll only touch it, I won’t embrace it.” Just touching a sticky situation has a tendency to not let you go. But, because we have decided in our own mind to sin, we can also decide to escape.

“... And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide you a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

God does not tempt. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). “Please, whatever you do, Mr. Devil, don’t throw me into the presence of God!”

Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. His e-mail is twbonham@felpsis.net. You can read and share more of his columns on the web at http://ontheroadtoforever.blogspot.com
 

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