All I really want right now is an apple. Just a simple, shiny, crunchy apple. Fuji. Or Gala. Or Pink Lady. Even Golden Delicious. I don’t really care, so long as it has a core, a peeling and is roundish.
I thought I’d been grumpy all day long. Hardly felt like myself, I was so exhausted, and weaker than the third brewing of an herbal tea bag. “Was I grumpy?” I quizzed Josiah, as I washed dishes from a jug of water. After supper the well again went on strike. “What? Grumpy?” he looked at me funny. “Just a little quiet maybe.” As queen of the roost for the day, I tried to keep all three of my charges occupied profitably. Lizzy’s not hard to entertain. I handed her “Rachel’s Tears” and zipped around the house, marking things off Mom’s list as I went. Well, actually, I tried to zip, but my feet felt as if they’d discovered a quagmire and decided to stay and search it to the bottom.
(Overheard from the dining/school room)
Lydia: Spell “famous.”
They told me it was humid down here. I don’t remember who “they” were, but they were right. Chainsaw in hand, Josiah attacked the enormous tree that last lightning storm had shattered, while the rest of us tugged branches, piled logs and tried to keep out of the way of falling limbs. Soon I’d stripped my sweatshirt off and tied it around my waist. In a flash, Lizzy’d followed my example. Still feeling like a head of broccoli in a pressure steamer, I rolled my sleeves up to my shoulders and glanced up to see Lizzy doing the same. “Stand back—way back!” Josiah called, walking up a huge branch that had knelt to the ground and beginning to saw. I stepped into the shade, hands on hips and noticed that Lizzy had assumed an identical posture. I crossed my arms in front of me. A second passed and she did the same. I shoved my hands in my pockets. Soon hers had found her pockets as well. I peeked at her from the corner of my eye to see if she was imitating me on purpose. To be funny. She was watching me intently, as usual, but slyness doesn’t fit her sense of humor. With a shrug, I tugged off my green leather gloves and laid them across the handle of the wheelbarrow. As if it had just occurred to her, she pulled her pink pair off and laid them next to mine. I flopped down on the ground and she flopped down next to me. And then I scratched my nose. Just to see what she’d do. She reached her hand up and scratched her own before a confused look crossed her face and she quickly dropped her hand. That’s when I looked away to hide my smile. And that’s when I missed the excitement. “Oh!” Lydia exclaimed and I turned in time to see Josiah leap off the branch bridge he’d climbed, chainsaw still in tow, and land barely out of reach of the branch that had just crashed to the ground. With his monkey feet and spider instincts, he’s never managed to wind up hurt. Yet. Maybe it’s Someone looking out for him.
Zach must be trying to redeem his “prodigal” status. “I’m too tired to go to Wes and Audrey’s,” he told us. “Can I come spend the night?” “John A’s going to be the next Martin Luther!” he exclaimed for the fiftieth time. “I’m telling you, he’ll reform the church!” Then he turned glum. “If that’s possible.” While I played piano, Zach preached about corruption in the church, in the Bible Belt and in Arkansas, where everyone names the name of Christ, but no one abstains from wickedness. It was almost like our own big tent revival. When he quoted William Booth, that prophet from the last century, he really caught my attention. “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” I wish his prediction were not so accurate. “I don’t do Christianity because there are too many hypocrites in the church,” I’ve heard countless times. Usually I mumble something about not imposing the character of “Christians” on Christ. Yesterday my heart was burning, frustrated to think that “Christians” might be keeping the world from Christ. “The hypocrites are headed to hell,” I blurted out. “Do you want to spend eternity with them?” I couldn’t believe I’d said it straight out, but relief flooded over me as I realized I’d finally told the truth. I’ve always been afraid to condemn, to point the finger, to admit that those who don’t live for Jesus don’t live in Him either. How can I even begin to speak of others when my heart is so far from staid on Him? But my fault is not in pretending Christ when I don’t love Him. My fault is not loving Him by preaching His truth—to those who are pretending. I wonder what Jesus thinks of His bride?
Lord, Thy bride is so divided,
She’s taken grace that Thou provided
Turned it into chance for lust,
Forgotten what it means to trust,
Counterfeit the way to heaven,
Mixed Thy holy bread with leaven—
She’s grown not in Thy grace, but size,
Engorged on devastating lies.