Sweet Gum Road was the most traveled road in our backwoods neighborhood of southeast Texas. It was the artery which gave passage to every other road, street, drive, and dead end (what fancy folks call a cul-de-sac) in our neighborhood.
Therefore, Sweet Gum Road was the obvious choice for mischief. The invisible chain prank was one of our favorites. My pal, Andy, and I would get directly across the road from each other and kneel down (facing each other). We wrapped our hands around an invisible chain and focused our gaze intently on our hands. We never looked at the oncoming cars because people have a tendency to wonder what you're looking at.
Sure enough, a car would approach and the driver would inevitably slow down to try to see what was in our hands. When the front bumper of the car got even with our invisible chain, we would shout, "PULL!" and jerk our hands up like a fisherman setting the hook. Without fail, the drivers of those pranked cars would either slam on the brakes or swerve to miss the invisible chain. Then it was time for Andy and me to run into the woods and hide.
Most everyone would get out of their cars and check for invisible chain damage. Quite a few of them would wave a fist or single digit in the air, shout expletives, and leave a burnt rubber offering on the asphalt as they drove away. One or two got out of the car and chased us.
We learned not to pull this prank as darkness neared. You can't see things as clearly. Like sirens on top of a police car, for example. We only had one police car and one policeman. He only had one bullet. But he had a really good spotlight and recognized the preacher's son when he/I ran into the woods. He didn't chase us or shoot at us. He just turned the corner, pulled into my driveway, and went into my house to have a talk with my dad. They talked a long time.
A couple of months ago, I was driving down a two-lane highway through the woods. Ahead of me, I saw two boys. One on one side of the road and one on the other. They were both squatted down. I smiled. As I passed them, they shouted and pulled at their invisible chain. I didn't swerve, slam on the brakes, or shout expletives. I smiled and waved (with all five digits, of course).
The difference between my reaction to the invisible chain and the reaction of others was experiential knowledge. I knew by experience that the boys had nothing. They had no power but the power of the unknown. The power that tugs at our fears.
That's all the devil has on those who have an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ, too. The devil has limited weaponry. Fear, doubt, and ignorance of truth are his primary weapons. All invisible chains. They work well on those who don't know better.
But the devil made a big mistake and tried to pull his invisible chain on Jesus. Because the devil is always in darkness, he couldn't see clearly who Jesus was. Jesus' weaponry consisted of one life and one sacrifice. His own. Jesus' death and resurrection took both the fun and the power out of Satan's chains.
Jesus also had a really good spotlight. Before He went to the cross, He shined that light on the devil's chains to show us that the devil has nothing on us when we follow God. "And He (Jesus) said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you'" (Luke 10:18-19).
Don't be punked by the devil. The scars in Jesus' hands have removed the threat of the invisible chains in the hands of the devil.
Trusting the Nail-Scarred Hands,