Monday, December 7, 2020
Today is the day I will satisfy your curiosity. I don’t think in the twenty-four year history of these devotionals I have ever been asked a question more than this one: “What did you find in the attic?”
The summer after that memorable Christmas Eve dinner, on my family’s next visit to Grandma’s house in Cleveland, my brothers and I let our curiosity get the best of us. It was mostly me, but I needed them along for support.
It was a hot summer day; too hot to play outside. We were bored. We needed an adventure. It was not normal for three boys, ages eight, seven, and six, to sit still. We weren’t necessarily looking for mischief, but we definitely needed some excitement. Playing with the jars of white beans grandma kept in the sunroom had become boring, even though to this day I have vivid memories of those containers of beans. We would occupy ourselves for extended periods of time doing nothing but pouring them back and forth from one container to another. Don’t laugh, and certainly don’t feel sorry for me. Life was simpler in 1961. Imagination was the best game ever.
On this particular day, the imaginations of three little boys ran wild. Bored with the beans, we started talking about the attic door, and what we thought we would find behind it if we opened it. We decided to have a look. One of my brothers wanted to ask grandpa for a flashlight. I stopped him. I knew that wasn’t going to get us behind the door. This had to be a secret mission.
One by one, starting with the youngest, we left the sunroom and headed upstairs. It was smart to start with the one most likely to spill the beans. When I arrived in the room my brothers were already moving my bed to get at the attic door. I immediately took the leadership role, starting with the command to be quiet. It is surprising how quiet three boys can be when they don’t want to be caught.
When the bed was pushed far enough away for the door to swing open, I asked my brothers if they were ready. Not wanting to be left out, they both agreed, even though body language said otherwise, as one brother stayed on the other side of the bed. After getting their consent, I pushed the sliding lock to the left and grabbed the small doorknob. The door creaked open. I was hit by a blast of hot air from the poorly ventilated attic. I pushed the door shut. I had never gone in an attic before. Not only did the unknown scare me, but I had a sudden awareness of the known potential of bees. Do they like it hot? Are they more touchy when it’s hot? Do they attack more easily when they are hot?
Then one of my brothers said, “Chicken!” That was all the motivation I needed. I slowly opened the door wide enough for me to squeeze in. My two brothers followed. All I could think about was the three young men in King Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. As we stood there, we could see tiny beams of light coming from a vent on the far end of the attic. We decided to walk towards the light. About halfway to our destination, the floor boards started creaking. We heard the voice of our father yelling from below. “What are you boys doing up there?” We were directly over his bedroom where he had been trying to nap. BUSTED.
We quietly but quickly exited the attic, shut the door, and moved the bed back into position without answering his question. We hoped he had gone back to sleep. He must have because he never came to check on us.
We had succeeded in going into the attic. We had not found bees, but we also didn’t get to really search and we had no light. All we know is we didn’t get stung. At least not by the bees. But I did get stung by my conscience. Do you know how hard it is to keep a secret, especially a secret sin?
Two days later, before we left for home, Grandpa pulled me aside. “Did you find any bees?” After he allowed the shock to have it’s full affect on me, he continued. “I was a curious boy once. It’s how we learn stuff. I knew you would go in the attic, so before you got here I went in there myself to make sure there were no bees, or anything else that could hurt you.”
Grandpa taught me what my Father God is like. He goes ahead of me, even in places I shouldn’t be, and makes the way safe for me. The only real danger is my knowledge of my guilt. But when I told grandpa I was sorry for disobeying him, he hugged me and said, “I hope you learned a lesson.”
I actually learned two lessons: God is always watching out for His children; and guilt is removed when we repent of our sin.