My grandmother rested in her grand poster bed sandwiched between my sister and me, in that home up on the hill in Texas, bordered in brick, with the windows raised high, the breeze blowing in, unafraid.
Pink and blue hydrangeas bordered the front of her home, and the cows and baby calves grazed the pasture borders, while her Border Collie, Rex, slept on the porch and my Pa-Paw snored the roof off in the bordering room.
The giggles subsided.
A hush fell over the room.
"But this little pig built his house of brick.
And the big bad wolf came. He knocked on the door and said, 'Little pig, little pig, let me come in.'
'No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.'
'Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.'
And the wolf huffed and puffed but could not blow his house down."
The end. Sigh.
I'd pull the patchwork quilt, hand stitched by my grandmother, up under my chin with my tiny ivory hands and smile. She taught me to love stories. She taught me to love Jesus. I went to sleep knowing the one who built their house with brick, on a solid foundation, could rest in peace. No matter what comes.
When the big bad wolf comes ... the one who says, "You don't believe like me, so you die. The one who says, "You don't look like me, so you die." The one who says, "You don't dress like me, so you die." The one who lines up rows of Christians, or Israelites, or anyone different and beheads them, making a statement to the world, "You aren't like me, so you die."
What can we do? We can sadly watch those who built their houses of straw and wood fall prey. Eternal prey. We can watch those choose to place shackles on their feet. Eternal shackles. And we can pray for them.
But how can we withstand?
By knowing and trusting that sometimes the standing is in the bending of the knee. And sometimes the standing is in the falling. But most importantly ...
1. Know your enemy.
We can watch the enemy continually try to imitate Jesus, saying, "I am the only way, the only truth, and the only way that you will live." And we can be the wiser.
The only mistake the enemy makes in his masquerade is that he forces his way. And that's how we know the enemy. That's what makes him recognizable.
2. Know your hero.
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"—John 14:6
Jesus, our hero, never forces His way ... He's a gentleman and, since the Garden of Eden, has always given us a choice. Free will. He will not hold a gun or a knife to our heads and force His way upon us.
But how can we build our house of brick?
We choose to believe ...
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."—John 3:16
And we remember ...
"The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."—1 John 4:4
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."—Philippians 1:21