by Mary Turbet
Hitting Satan for Six
It has been said that we talk too much about sin and that we should speak about happier things. What happier thing can we talk about than the fact that Jesus has paid the price for our sins. He has given us a magnificent gift. Despite all the things I have done and shouldn't have done, and all the things I should have done and haven't done, he still loves me. How can I, how can we, thank him enough?
So now I'm going to talk about cricket and in a roundabout way, I hope I will end up here where I started from.
Summer has more or less gone but in summer thoughts go to the beach, swimming, cool drinks, cicadas and of course cricket. By the way, did you hear any cicadas this year? I didn't. Our childhood was somewhat unusual in that there was no bus to catch to school or to come home, that arrived at a respectable hour, and so we were driven both ways. This gave us well nigh no time to really make friends. On Sundays all the family was expected to congregate at my Grandma's home in Burradoo. Our place was in Moss Vale, but three miles away across the paddocks, we could almost see the ridge on which Grandma's home was. To get there by this route, it was necessary to go under the Main Southern Railway Line and also to ford the Bong Bong River. There was a viaduct under the line but the ground beneath was covered with boulders about half a metre round and the river was sometimes fordable and sometimes not. Needless to say, it was considered much easier to go the nine miles through Moss Vale to Burradoo.
Grandma lived in this little old home which grew like Topsy. It had elastic sides - it needed them. She lived there with her 7 daughters as well as two grandsons who stayed there so they could go to school. Occasionally the grandsons would go home for the weekend but usually their parents would come to Burradoo. So most Sundays 16 of us sat down to dinner together. It was O. K for my cousins and brother but I always had to help with the washing up!
After this we would go to either the tennis court or the front paddock where we would play cricket, hockey ( with hockey sticks cut from tree branches) football (with my brother wearing football boots and the rest of us in sand shoes) or high jump, broad jump, hop step and jump - all without any nice soft landing area. We usually chose the front paddock in the summer time because of the cricket season. Needless to say we had special rules etc. No one ever hit a ball as far as the fence so there was no rule of "over the fence is out". The pitch was rough - I mean sheep and/or cows would walk all over it during the week. The boys had erected a netting fence behind the wicket and this saved us chasing a lot of balls. It was a long time before I realized that in a real game of cricket there were two batsmen! Our team consisted of my Dad, the 3 boys, that boy with the surname Lamb, the man who did odd jobs for the Aunts, Aunts Amy, Ede and May and sometimes two other Aunts would help in the out field while the remaining two would look after my Grandma who had a special seat made between the trunks of some small trees and there she was able to watch the whole of the proceedings. Aunt Ede would invariably arrive with a bottle of cream which she would shake and shake to try and thicken for the cream cakes she had made for afternoon tea. It was rather a handicap when she tried to catch a ball which would be accompanied with "Oh, Oh, Oh," and a delightful leg kick, but the cakes were as light as a feather.
One of my first memories of cricket is of being woken up to be told that Hammond (the famous English batsman) was out. Is life like a game of cricket? Let's think of the bowler being Satan and the batsmen, You and Me. The bowler sends down all sorts of deliveries, - fast, slow, medium, leg spin, yorker, full toss, - He wants to entice us, to trick us into doing something silly, to catch us out, to get beneath our defence.
Sometimes we just let the ball go and have nothing whatsoever to do with it; Sometimes we just say no - jam down the bat and stonewall, that's telling him. Other times we are tempted and if the bowler has put a spin on it, watch out - you will probably snick it on the edge of the bat and send a catch to slips. Caught out. Sometimes we watch the ball very carefully, and smash it between all the fielders to the boundary and doesn't it look and feel good?
Did you watch that match between South Africa and Aust. in January, when Warne hit all those fours and sixes? Wasn't he a delight to watch. If that bowler had been Satan, what a beating he was getting.
So that's what we have to do to Satan. Just hit him for six and have nothing further to do with him. No matter what he throws at us nor whether the pitch was like ours or well cared for as in a test match, the call is to hit him for six.
When Satan sends down these tempting deliveries all we need to do is to ask for the strength to say No. Jesus is anxious to help us but we hesitate to ask for help. We think, `Why would he be interested in "little old me"'. Matthew 10:29 says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered; so don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
Jesus really cares. We should ask for forgiveness, for help in all things. Why do we hesitate ? Why don't we take advantage of all these things he has provided for us? Is it pride or just carelessness? To all these questions, I hope we all can say - We do ask for forgiveness, and for help and we do take advantage of all Jesus has provided for us and we thank him for his wonderful gift to us all.
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