The Bullwhip

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.

My neighbor walked out into the middle of the street in front of my home with a bullwhip. As I watched from my living room, he unrolled it, swung the tip through the air, and ended up with both of his feet in the air trying to avoid the snap that barely missed taking a bite out of his left leg!

He must have a new hobby, I thought, and not one he’s tried before!

His dance with danger continued evening after evening, week after week, and I continued studying his body motions and the resulting reaction from the whip. After several weeks of this I found myself standing at the window, whispering to myself. “Don’t yank back so soon! Let the whip snap at its full extension. If you must pull back, pull all the way back and let the whip snap behind you as well.”

Following the Principles

After studying my neighbor’s maneuvers (and injuries) for some time, I began to wonder if the principles I’d derived would actually work, so the next time he went out to the street, I followed him to chat about his new toy. As expected, he invited me to try my luck, so I ever-so-carefully thrust the whip forward as it should be done. To my surprise, I did not have to outrun a wild snap! Then I grew bolder and thrust the whip forward and backward quickly. The bullwhip responded with two consecutive (safe) snaps!

After developing some faith in following the principles, I exercised my faith by thrusting the whip forward, backward, then forward again. I was rewarded with three successive loud reports. Snap! Snap! Snap! It was a beautiful but hair-raising experience, but having survived this far, well, I quit while I was ahead!

Learning the Hard Way

“How did you learn to use a whip?” my neighbor asked me.

“I never learned how,” I replied. “I just learned how not to.”

He asked me to explain what I meant, so I told him I’d been observing him for weeks and had learned from what hadn’t worked.

And so it is with God’s warnings. His commandments are for our protection, so when we refuse to comply we end up missing our blessings and suffering many hurts, instead. So our wise choice in life is to study God’s Word first. However, if we choose to rebel and not comply with His commandments, the resulting suffering can teach us what not to do! That’s the hard way to find new and better choices, but by God’s mercy, wrong choices can still lead us to the right ones provided in God’s instruction book for life, the Bible.

How much better it is if we study His principles earlier in life, Keeping in mind, it also hurts God to see His children suffer!

Joe O’Brien

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The Dangerous Void