The end block of 17th street in Paris, TX was generally a quiet place at night. There was the occasional train rumbling by down where the street dead ended into the railroad track. A stray cat, random raccoon or opossum would sometimes excite all the neighborhood dogs into a barking frenzy. At certain times of year the woods across the street sang out in a cicada symphony. Other than that it was pretty peaceful at night.
It was rare that anyone walked past my grandparent’s house on the last block of 17th street at night. There were only about four houses past theirs. If anyone was going past my grandparent’s they were either headed to one of those houses or they were lost. Because there were so few who walked by at night Granddaddy felt comfortable sitting on the front porch… in just his boxer shorts. He was kind enough to keep the porch light off.
Let me describe Granddaddy for you so you’ll have an appropriate mental picture. Granddaddy’s nick name from his army days and what most of his friends called him was “Short Barrel.” He was short, round and mostly bald. He always seemed to have a couple days worth of stubble and often an untrimmed moustache. Granddaddy chewed cigars and wore horn rimmed glasses. I hope you got the image.
Granddaddy was a very social man. He’d talk to anyone about anything at any time. Those few unfortunate folk who happened to wander down 17th street after sunset would often be startled by a gruff yet friendly holler from the darkness as they reached about the halfway point. Most would slow a bit straining to see who was interrupting their trek. Some would stop and engage the voice long enough to be polite yet wouldn’t approach the house for fear of any lengthy dialogue. But on occasion someone would stop and listen and talk and gradually come closer to see with whom they were conversing. There on an old metal glider bench with boxers pulled to just under his breast was Granddaddy replete with chewed cigar and horned rim glasses. Not the most welcoming sight.
In our lives we may have similar experiences; some event, person or thing that from a distant perspective seems innocent enough or maybe even somewhat attractive. Yet the longer we’re engaged and the closer we get we begin to realize things are not what we thought. Not as good. Not at all. God’s word exhorts us to use discernment and good judgment in our lives… the things we do, places we go etc. Be careful when you hear those “voices in the dark.” They’re not always what they seem.