When I was a wee little lad my family lived on a small farm on the edge of the Western Australian wheat belt. While we only had 14 acres with a few sheep and a horse, we were surrounded by the real deal â great big farm machinery and endless paddocks of wheat and hay. All the hills were speckled with the dots of grazing sheep and cattle.
One day we visited some friends who had a 'real' farm. There was another little boy my age there, and we went traipsing off over the fields chasing butterflies and slaying dragons. Presently we came to a paddock full of sheep. My friend wanted to play with them, so he expertly jumped the fence and called for me to follow.
Now, I'm a small fellow even now; back then I was knee high to a grass hopper! So when I tried to jump the fence I didn't quite make it and caught on the wire. But I wasn't the only one to go tumbling down to the ground â the fence had decided to play follow the leader!
Stunned, I staggered to my feet and looked around at the carnage, a growing sense of dread filling me. 'You broke the fence!' A shrill voice cried, again and again. I turned to my friend and saw only his long, pointing finger aimed directly at me! I had broken the fence, and I had no clue how to fix it. So I ran.
Everyone went looking for me, calling out my name. I hid in the bushes for a while but then got worried I would be left for good so went and hid in the back of the family van. But soon enough my Dad found me and dragged me red-faced to the Farmer. Everyone was there, and I was thoroughly embarrassed. The worst thing though was my buddy still pointing that finger at me. I couldn't hide from it.
In hindsight it would have been a lot better if I hadn't run â after all it was simply by accident that I had broken the fence. But I was young, and I freaked out. But you can't run forever, eventually you always get found.
I have done much worse things than break a fence. And while my childhood playmate no longer points his finger at me, there is someone else who always does. In the book of Revelation Satan is called 'the accuser of the brethren'. The thing is, the accusations he brings against me are real.
There are things I have done, lines I have crossed, and fences I have broken and don't know how to fix. I know the penalty is much more than a parent's scolding. I have broken God's law, and the punishment is more than I can bear. But I can't run, I can't hide.
Cue one of my favourite scriptures:
Romans chapter 8, verse 39: "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies."
Jesus took the accusations against me and nailed them to His cross, taking my place and bearing the full weight of the consequences for my actions. God himself has taken my case and cleared my name.
The accusations brought against me are true, but they hold no water. The punishment has already been poured out. The sentence has been served. God has fixed the fence.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day.
Thomas Devenish's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html