“HA! Ol’ Sheriff Hankin ain’t gonna catch us now, is he Giles?”
“No siree--now that we got that new hidin’ place up on the mountain.” Giles shifted the old SUV into low gear, made a hard left turn and went up a steep, abandoned dirt road. “Bernie—switch the radio over to the other channel.”
Giles and Bernie targeted gas stations with convenience stores along the main highway, usually at night. Always, after they robbed a store, the thieves high-tailed it into the mountains to hide and plot their next move.
Shop owners all over the County were terrified of the pair.
The police-band radio squawked through broken speakers. “Uh, that’s a 10-4, Sheriff. They got away again.”
Simultaneously--while Giles and Bernie guffawed like pirates--Sheriff Hankin angrily yelled at his deputies over the radio.
Later, after he calmed down, Sheriff Hankin prayed while driving home.
Thank You Lord for helpin’ me.
“Good Mornin’. From the looks on your faces, it’s not such a good mornin’.”
One of the deputies boldly asked, “What’re we gonna do, Sheriff? These guys are out-runnin’ us at ev’ry turn.”
Another added, “Yeah, an’ they got a new hidin’ spot.”
The Sheriff held up his right hand to stop them. “Hold on, just a minute. I have a plan. We need to borrow some equipment from the local Army Reserve. Ted, can you get these for me?” He handed Ted a piece of paper.
“Sir, yes sir.”
“We’ve been playin’ a dangerous game of hide ‘n seek here, but it’s time we ‘up the ante’. Let’s bring an end to Operation Mountain Nemesis, once and for all.”
Giles and Bernie drove up and parked behind their next target. The men covered their faces with checkered handkerchiefs, and wore tattered, old cowboy hats. They burst into the store, brandishing weapons.
Giles demanded, “EV’RYONE hit the floor, NOW! DO IT, an’ no one gets hurt.”
Immediately, the shop owner pulled out a hunting rifle and pointed it at him.
“I ain’t gettin’ down. But YOU TWO ARE GETTIN’ OUT!”
The echoing, faraway sounds of the Sheriff’s sirens alerted the thieves.
“Ohhh, c’mon Giles, let’s get outta here!”
Giles and Bernie jumped in the truck raced up the mountain road, as the Sheriff pursued about a mile back.
Bernie looked back. “HA! Ol’ Sheriff Hankin still ain’t gonna catch us!”
“Not if I can help it.” Giles accelerated and made two dangerous turns, almost flipping the truck, but ultimately he found their hiding spot.
Then Sheriff Hankin radioed his deputies to meet at a scenic mountain overlook nearby.
“Now we know just about where they are. Team ‘A’ will go up the north side of the mountain, usin’ flashlights. They’ll scare the robbers an’ flush ‘em outta their hole. Team ’B’ will go the south side, usin’ the Night Vision gear we borrowed from the Army Reserve.
“We’ll get these varmints tonight.”
After a long day of victorious interviews with the media and meetings with County officials, Sheriff Hankin was relieved to finally go home.
Bouncing like ‘Tigger’, his daughter Gabriella greeted him at the door with a request he couldn’t refuse. “Daddy, daddy! Let’s play hide ‘n seek again, puhleez, daddy? You promised.”
“Oh, sweetie, all right.”
“Gabby, your daddy’s tired—he probably wants to relax now.”
“It’s okay, I don’t mind.” Sheriff Hankin set his laptop case down, removed his shiny black shoes and rubbed his feet for a moment.
“Come on, daddy, c’mon!” Gabby pulled at the Sheriff’s tan-colored uniform sleeve.
“Okay, how about you go an’ hide. I’ll start countin’, Ready?”
“Ready!” With a giggle, Gabby ran into the house, and—with mom’s help—she completely concealed herself.
“…seven….eight…nine…nine-and-a-half….nine-and-three-quarters….TEN! Ready or not, here I come!” Sheriff Hankin stood up, stretched for a minute, and then started looking. Normally, he would act like he was looking all over the house, then find Gabby in the same spot every time--but this time was different.
She wasn’t hiding in her normal spot.
“Gabby!?” Nothing. Not a sound.
“Gaaaaaaabby!? Where are you, baby-girl?” Still nothin’.
“Aww, come-on now, this isn’t funny.” Sheriff Hankin was getting frustrated. Still no answer.
“Gabby, WHERE ARE YOU?”
Gabriella couldn’t sit still any more. She slowly opened the closet door in the kitchen, poked her head out, and giggled herself SILLY to tears. “Here I am, Daddy!”
Sheriff Hankin spontaneously bear-hugged Gabby. “Ohhh, baby girl!”
Then they giggled together in a tender, victorious moment of God’s love.
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing—you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?" Luke 11:10-13 (The Message)
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