During the last two summers that my family lived in Texas, we had an above-ground pool. The pool lay dormant from fall to spring, and that first off season—for reasons that were unclear to my brother and me—my dad didn’t drain it completely but left it half full. During the fall and winter, the water went from clear blue to cloudy to a soupy, algae-filled green. It collected twigs, leaves, and bugs, and metamorphosed into an unsightly cesspool.
At the first hint of spring in late March, anticipation of summer fun inspired me to start cleaning the pool. I ascended the ladder and with the water level now even lower, held onto the rail to reach out with a dip net to remove the off-season debris. Not long into the task, my younger brother appeared from nowhere, put his hand to my back and tried to push me in. I held on, and in the inexplicable way parents have of being all-seeing, my dad immediately came out of the garage and admonished my brother not to push me into the pool or else there would be corporal consequences. But the temptation for my brother, who was about 7 or 8 at the time, was too strong. A few minutes later, he returned and finished the deed. When Dad heard my yell and the attendant splash, he emerged again from the garage to deliver the promised punishment. As I spluttered and gasped in the green pond scum, my brother wailed at the pain of failing to pass on the temptation, despite the warning.
We face many trials, and not all of them come with a warning. Jesus knew that about our lives, so he taught us to pray this way to remind us to be ready for whatever trials or temptations may come.
What trial do you face today and how can you prepare to face it?
Ever-present God, you are with me now, throughout this day, and throughout every day as I face life’s challenges and temptations. Help me to recognize you and the resources you’ve given me to pass the tests. Amen.