And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
In a day and age before cell phones. . .I went to work on a normal day. After completing several morning meetings, very normal, I found myself driving back to the office, which was close to our home, just before lunch. It was very normal for me to have lunch at home with my wife and three small children, and so, on such a normal day, I did the normal thing and headed home for lunch.
For the first time that day, things were not normal! When I arrived, the garage door was standing open, the car was gone, and the front door was open with only the storm door closed. None of that was completely abnormal for a family the age and stage of ours, but when I went inside, it was very quiet—totally abnormal—and when I called out a “Hello,” no one answered.
I quickly went upstairs to see if there were clues up there. The kids’ bedrooms were beautifully cluttered—as normal. But when I got to my bedroom, the sheets were disheveled and it looked like a small pile of vomit was in the middle of the bed—definitely NOT normal!
My pulse quickened. I called out for my wife and did the “roll call” thing for the kids. Nothing. I ran out the door, got back in my car, and drove (a little manically, I admit) to my office where I reasoned Cindy would have left a message (remember, no cell phones!) if something had happened. . .and definitely, something had happened!
Sure enough, our administrative assistant ran out to meet me as I pulled into the office: Cindy had called—a child had fallen and hit their head—seemed unable to keep the child awake—and she was at the ER of our local hospital!
Long story much shorter—he had “ridden” the garage door as it opened, only to get “scraped off” as the door reached the top falling on his head on the garage floor. He had a significant concussion, but given time, once again returned to “normal.”
The Lord’s Prayer invites us to pray for deliverance from both temptation and evil. God knows how both can lead us into pain and suffering, which is not His ideal plan for any of us. The temptation of a passing garage door handle in the face of a three year-old led to a nearly disastrous result. Today, we tell the story and can laugh at the impetuousness and resilience of children. We felt very fortunate, and realize other outcomes can be much more severe. A reasonable question for our prayers as we focus on this part of the Lord’s Prayer might be, “what are the attractive things we are reaching for that can lead to disaster?”
In this case, my son’s suffering was short-lived. But the bigger truth is this: God is always watching over His children. He does not prevent accidents, nor fix all their consequences in this life. But Easter, the resurrection of Jesus following his cruel crucifixion, demonstrates that even in the face of the worst evil has to offer, He will go through all “evil” incidents of our lives with us. As our pastor, Matt Carder, likes to say, ”the way of Jesus wins.” May we be encouraged by His power.
God, we do pray for deliverance from temptation and evil. We are grateful that, in Your care, we can have confidence to embrace life in the present moment even as we anticipate the eternal life You have promised. Grant us Your perspective and keep us close to Your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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