What about the Rats?
Jess, Carol and the boys loaded their relatively few belongings into the new blue pickup truck, which Jess had just purchased to help with the work on the farm. Jess had bought a new 10 cubic foot deep freeze to use to store garden produce when they had a garden in production, so the family put many of their belongings inside this freezer which had been loaded in the truck.
The family started off on their move, in a happy mood. As they traveled along on this bright and sunny day, the family sang songs which the boy's had learned in Sunday school. Jess and Carol didn't like the boys to listen to songs on the radio (at least most stations). Even the ‘religious stations’ would allow anyone, who paid for air time, to present their own strange religious beliefs, which were sometimes a gross distortion of God's word. Many of the songs on the secular radio stations had words which glorified illicit sex, hatred and rebellion. The beat of these songs were designed to drive listeners into frenzy. The boys would get enough of that kind of influence later and had already received a good dose in public school. For now, they didn't need to be exposed to such filth at such an impressionable age. This kind of thing could even have bad effects on stronger, more mature Christians - but at least the stronger Christians knew about the flaming arrows, with which Satan tries to destroy them. They are more adept at deflecting those arrows with the ‘Shield of Faith’ and are also more proficient with the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ (God's Word). Jess and Carol had known Christians who thought they could dabble on both sides of the fence and engage in unchristian-like activities (or sin). In every case, these people came to ruin. They either ended up leaving the Lord and his body (the church) for good or they had to repent with great emotional, mental and physical distress and torment. It always took them years to get back to serving the Lord the way they once had done.
The hours passed swiftly as the happy family traveled up the winding mountain road. It was getting near lunch time, so Jess said "Let's stop up ahead at that big clearing and have a picnic. We're about an hour away from our new home. We need to rest for a while and get some of the kinks out of our legs." Everyone agreed this would be a fine idea, so Jess pulled off the road a few feet and everyone jumped out of the pick up. The boys ran around the truck a few times and decided it was time to go exploring.
Carol instructed "Boys, stay within sight of the truck!" The boys nodded in agreement and started off for an outcropping rock formation which was about a 25 yards from the truck.
Carol spread a blanket under a big pine tree, while Jess brought the picnic basket from the truck. When everything was set out and ready, Carol called the boys to lunch. The boys ran up, all out of breath, and showed the adults the ‘marvelous discoveries’ they had made. Billy held up a quartz crystal rock that sparkled in the sun light. He excitedly exclaimed "I think this rock is made of silver or maybe diamonds or something!" Timmy was more reserved, since he didn't consider himself to be a little kid anymore. He held up a plant which he had found and exclaimed "We've been studying about this plant in school! It's a milkweed, Latin name ‘Syria’. It's called a milkweed because when the stem is broken, a fluid comes out that looks like milk. See!" Timmy abruptly stuck out his tongue and touched it to the broken stem, then made a puckered face "It sure doesn't taste like milk, though." He threw the plant down and tried to spit the bitter taste out of his mouth, with a lot of sputtering but very little success. (It seems hands on experience, is a little different than theoretical learning.)
The family held hands around the blanket and bowed their heads, in order to go to the Lord in prayer. They thanked God for each other, for the beautiful day and for the ability to enjoy it. They gave thanks for the food, they asked God to help the people who were sick and they prayed for those who didn’t know the Lord and were lost. They closed their prayer as always “In the name of Jesus.”
The family sat down on the blanket and as they ate, Carol commented that she didn't think she had ever tasted food quite so good. Everyone agreed and Jess said "It may be the scenery, or maybe the solitude that makes it seem so good." Everything was quiet except for the birds singing, a few insects buzzing or chirping in the tall brown grass and the wind whispering through the big pine tree. All in all, it was a very restful experience.
After a few minutes of this solitude, Carol said "This must be the way Adam and Eve felt when they were in the garden, before they fell to Satan's temptation and sin entered their lives. I wish things could be like this always."
Jess added "But we know it can't always be this way, because of the sin that's in the world. Because of sin, we'll have to get old and die someday - but because of what Jesus has done for us we'll be able to live forever with God when our life here on earth is over. That's why we, as a part of Christ's body, will never be without hope.
Paul wrote almost two thousand years ago, in Romans 8:38 & 39. "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - -
I certainly thank God for Paul's writing, which was directed by God's Holy Spirit. If we didn't have this record of God's thoughts, we would never know how much God loves us and what He wants us to do. We'd be just like all the other people who reject God's wisdom and blunder through life, always searching for the truth but who never come to the saving knowledge of the Lord."
The family spent an extra hour there, while the boys ran off their excess energy. Jess and Carol sat under the big pine tree, just holding hands. Too soon, it was time to go. The family would have to hurry if they hoped to get to their new home in time to unpack, eat the evening meal and get things in order before bed time. As they went on their way, each one was silently thanking God for this time they had shared. At almost the same instant, Jess and Carol started to say "We should come back here again when we have more time." They didn't realize they would enjoy their new home just as much (or more).