image courtesy of

image courtesy of

In the rompin’ stompin’ days of kindergarten through first or second grade, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how to get to my school via the mean city streets, but I could run the trails through alleys, high weeds, and bamboo forests almost blindfolded.

Not one kid I ever knew even considered not taking the shortcuts to school or town. Kids are naturally efficient and the shortcuts they discover generally work in their favor… or at least enough of the time to etch the pattern of looking for shortcuts into our DNA.

By the time junior high strolled around shortcuts had become an art form. Over or under fences, behind buildings, over mountains, through people’s backyards, and in the summertime, through the water.

The hotspot, aptly named for more than just the Arizona summertime temperatures, was a place at the tip of the island that sticks out into the heart of Lake Havasu like a little kid’s tongue does for an ice cream cone in the southwest heat.

At that point in life shortcuts had to be contemplated like a professional poker player. My other buddy and I knew if we hadn’t been picked up by someone headed our direction via hitchhiking by the time we got onto the island, chances of hitching a ride were rapidly diminishing. If there were more than two of us trying to hitchhike, I can tell you first hand, and thumb, that a successful hitchhiking endeavor was anorexic at best. Enter; the shortcut.

The marina is about half way between the London Bridge and the Nautical Inn and is loaded with signs; directional signs, slippery when wet signs, speed limit signs, private property signs to name a few. One of the signs was posted at the entry to the docks that housed the private boat slips. On the swinging spring-loaded gates that we pushed past, in bold printing that was brighter than the red letters in the latest King James edition Bible, warned trespassers that they would be prosecuted.

We knew we’d be hard to catch…

Sometimes if the coast were clear we’d stroll to the end of the dock and tie our T-shirts around our tennis shoes and effects, like we did for PE class in the days long before backpacks, we preferred to keep dry. We’d throw them like footballs over the murky carp-infested marina channel before swimming our shortcut.

There were other times when what we referred to as “Rent-a-cops” were yelling at us, demanding we stop… that never did happen. I never did like the feeling of walking in soggy shoes, but a shortcut taker has to be willing to live with the consequences.

I confess that even as a well-seasoned bloke that has learned the hard way time and again that shortcuts never gain or payoff, I’m prone to look for a shortcut like a duck does for water.

In our fallen world, we learn to seek shortcuts, to take the easy way out. That after failing to deliver what we hoped for at every turn, we look for the next shortcut like the gambler does the bloated winning lottery ticket.

I’m praying when the next shortcut that inevitably whispers seductively to me, I remember not only the lies of this world but also the origin of the temptation…

Then the power of God over it.