The Perfect Switch

A friend of mine, J. S. Thomas, told me about growing up in Ewing Virginia as a member of a family with thirteen children. His father worked on the railroad and would often be gone from home two days at a time. When it came to discipline, all accounts would be settled upon his return home. This did not preclude his mother from taking care of this area of their childhood education, if the situation warranted it
His brother Johnny often began winding up the day Dad left and would soon be pushing the willingness of his mom to withhold physical punishment until her husband’s return. Although he was often guilty of provoking his brother to higher levels of foolishness, J.S. usually knew when to duck and take a low profile thus avoiding Mom’s wrath.

There was one particular time when his Mom had endured quite enough of his brother’s antics, she directed J. S. to go and harvest a switch for her to use on Johnny. He was more than willing to be of service. The fact of the matter was that he was delighted to be of help. You see, this could not be just any old switch, he decided, it must be a great one. “My brother deserves nothing but the best,” he chortled.

He cut one branch after another and gleefully tested them and chose the one that appeared most durable. As he trimmed the small shoots from the switch he was careful to leave small nubbins in place. They would add to the effectiveness of the switch, he surmised. He felt that he held in his hand, the perfect switch.

Feeling that he had done his best to see to it that Johnnie got what he deserved, he returned and gleefully presented this masterpiece to his mother. She looked at his work and looked again at him and said, “J. S., you have been pretty ornery also. I saw how you stirred up trouble today. I better just whip you too, while I’m at it”, which she promptly proceeded to do. The effectiveness of his work became painfully evident to both sons.

J.S. grew up to be a wonderful, loving, father of two sons and many grandchildren who are strong in the Lord. He was a kind man who loved Jesus deeply, showing clearly that his mother’s efforts were not in vain.
Through this experience he learned the practical truth of Proverbs 24:17, “Rejoice not when thy enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:” If only he had shown a little compassion for his brother, life would have gone a lot better for him that day. Perhaps there is a lesson in this story that all of us should consider.

Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing!

Roger Allen Cook

I love to write stories about God’s grace.  If you have a story I should consider, please contact me at:    

Other stories can be viewed at

Through the eyes of Grace

How quickly we jump to conclusions about someone’s actions or attitudes and become judgmental. Since God has so graciously forgiven us of every sin through His Son Jesus Christ, it seems that our gratitude should be demonstrated in our reactions to others. As forgiven sinners, we ought to be people who are eager and ready to forgive the failures of others. Getting bent out of shape at the smallest offense will not be a characteristic of one who has abundantly received God’s mercy and grace.

The Father was looking down one day
At all of us in the human race.
His view was one of compassion,
Looking through the eyes of grace.

“I will send them My salvation.
It will be packaged within My Son.
His death will pay for their sin.
For a Savior, He’s the only one.

Hereafter My view is optional,
Whether as a judge or a father,
Forgiving all those who will call,
Condemning all who don’t bother.”

When Jesus has entered the picture
And every bit of sin does erase,
God watches my life continually
With only the eyes of Grace.

I am not even close to perfect.
He of all knows that very fact
And patiently and firmly corrects
Each and every rebellious act.

Now where is this story going
And what is there here to learn?
That God looks at my actions,
Shows me something to discern.

His kindness in my weakness
Is offered to a repentant heart.
With the grace of understanding
I receive a brand new start.

As I consider the lives of others
And the stress upon each face,
Surely I must view my brother,
Looking through the eyes of grace.

Roger Allen Cook