Last week I wrote the article “You Cannot Beat It With a Stick” which cited Gary Fields of New Haven, W.Va, for the Sassafras walking sticks he has crafted in recent months. Our fourth son, Jeshua, read the article, and he sent me an email about how “the stick” with which Gary gifted our family inspired him to compose a poem. It is titled “Ode to My Mom,” and goes as follows:
I’m glad my mom didn’t have that stick,
When her son would need a lick
Cuz she sure whooped on me.
She had no care for that in hand
Whether spoon, bat, or frying pan
My mom would have whooped on me.
With fire and fury she made me yelp
When she was swinging my dad’s belt
As she was whoopin’ on me.
It was instilled so I always knew
That no matter how big or large I grew
My mom would whoop on me.
And despite the sport no player of ball
Held nothing to this five foot tall
Momma, who sure whooped on me.
Thanks for the spanks, #4
I have to admit that Jeshua probably got spanked more than his brothers. But, it was because of all the troubles he caused. For instance, he constantly broke things and made big messes. We nicknamed him “Jesher Messer” because of it.
Once he climbed the TV stand and made it fall, breaking the TV. His older brothers were livid because it eliminated being able to watch the one channel we could receive. Furthermore, it was eight months before we could afford to buy another TV. My stereo system was on that TV stand, too. Yep, you’re right.
I think that was the time Terry threatened to whip him with the frying pan.
So, here he is with retrospection giving praise to the one willing to discipline him. He is doing so because he has seen that the discipline he received from his mother has steered him well in life. He is glad about it. It rather reminds us how we should respond to God when He chastens, or disciplines, us. We should be thankful.
Often enough this is not the case, however. People chaff and complain whenever God seems to be sending correction their way. They wring the hands and utter, “What did I ever do to deserve this?” They express anger toward God, and claim that He is not being fair to their lives.
In actuality, God chastens us, disciplines us, corrects us, or convicts us to get our attention to get back in fellowship with Him so that He may have righteous opportunity to direct us more providentially in our lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong and everything right with it.
The Writer of Hebrews gives us context for it, “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Therein is the providential guidance. Consequently, he adds, “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loves He chastens.” Through correction, God proves how much He loves us, about which we can be confident.
The Psalmist was also confident about the correction of the Lord. He wrote, “I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me.” You cannot beat that with a stick.
What makes Jeshua’s “Ode” funny to me, however, involves an incident that took place last weekend when he was here. He did something that his mother took exception to. She scolded him hard about it at length. “The Stick” was close-by in my study area, and, if she had remembered it was there, she probably would have whacked him with it just for the principle of it all. But, what he got was her “evil eye,” as I refer to it, and that is not easy to withstand itself.
As long as that woman lives, the boys will have to deal with that woman when they do things she thinks are wrong.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.