[callout]Are you on the lookout for illustrations you can use to explain spiritual truths to your children? They’re all around us. My friend and colleague, Steve Baker, writes here about something that happened when his children were young that provided a perfect illustration to apply to an important principle in God’s Word. He was alert. He and his wife, Joyce, were prioritizing God and His Word when raising their children. That’s why Steve could do this.

We both hope Steve’s example inspires you to be alert to God’s truths presented in different ways. I’m grateful he’s allowing me to share this with you. Enjoy![/callout]

Of Bailey, The Pickup Truck & God’s Grace by Steve Baker

Andrew came running into the house through the back door. “Bailey’s hurt, Bailey’s hurt!” he exclaimed.

My wife, Joyce, and I asked what happened as we tried to calm him down and hurry outside at the same time. Bailey, his pet Rottweiler, lay in the back of Andrew’s pick-up truck. She had minor scrapes and cuts on her right hip and shoulder, but she would not move.

“I took her for a ride in the back of my pick-up,” Andrew explained. “She must have decided to jump out when she saw some neighborhood dogs, because everything was fine until I drove past the house with the big, brown Boxer. All of a sudden she started barking wildly and the next thing I know she’s lying in the street. I stopped and picked her up and drove straight back here.”

By now the whole family was standing beside Andrew’s truck bed inspecting Bailey. She lay there looking up at us without lifting her head. She had a sad look of guilt and pain. Our smaller dog was in Joyce’s arms, and he stretched his already long body forward to touch noses with Bailey. It seemed as if he wanted to comfort her while she was hurting.

We fluffed up Bailey’s bed, carried her to it, and laid her in it to rest. I doctored her cuts and scrapes, as the kids pet and consoled her. Andrew and Timothy fixed her something to eat and gave her water in a dish that she could reach. Andrew, Timothy, Katherine, and Kevin each took turns sitting with her that first night. For the next several days she lay fairly still, and the kids took extra care in giving her attention. But, she eventually began moving around, walking slowly and limping for a few days. Soon she was running and playing just like new.

Bailey’s experience gave me a great illustration to teach the kids more about God’s grace. Her ride in the pick-up is much like our life in relationship to God’s graciousness. Bailey was given the opportunity to travel in the pick-up to enjoy the wind and go see places she would love. The sides of the truck bed were there to protect her and keep her in. As long as she stayed inside the truck bed she was safe and well, but as soon as she jumped out of it she was in trouble.

In the same way God has put boundaries around us according to His gracious wisdom. He records commands and principles for us to live by in His Word. These boundaries are like the sides of the pick-up bed. As long as we choose to obey God’s Word and live with a desire to please Him, we’ll be safer. However, if we choose to disobey God and His Word, it is like jumping out of God’s gracious protection. There will always be consequences. Some will hurt us. Some may hurt others.

Bailey learned  to never jump out of the pick-up again when it was moving. Will we choose to benefit from God’s protection?

[callout]Cropped_SteveBaker_022916_105100_AMSteve Baker has served in ministry for over thirty-five years and is currently finishing his masters in divinity. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. In 2010, God called him and his wife, Joyce, to help launch a University-Model school. He is currently the Principal of Summit Christian Academy in Boerne, Texas. Steve has a passion for families and mentoring believers to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.[/callout]