Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes…

“Didn’t Jesus help Papa, Grammy? Jesus will help us!”

Ok, your “grands” know the moment. You’re right in the middle of telling a real life cautionary tale to one of the little ones. Suddenly boom! Out pops a question that stops you in your tracks.

Last Saturday in the backyard with my lovely granddaughter Vallarie, we were having fun around one of her first experience with a “campfire”. She seems to be continuing a family tradition of being absolutely fascinated with everything about bright blazes. She kept asking me if she could put twigs, sticks or leaves in the fire. After a firm “NO” to each request, she would find a smaller twig, thinking that was the problem and ask again.
After about half a dozen such requests, we had a little talk about how fire was dangerous especially for children. To illustrate I began to tell her about the time “Papa” (her grandfather) got in trouble because he was playing with fire.

As a youngster living in dry southern California, he and some friends were setting small fires in a large field and trying to see how big a fire they could make and still stomp it out. Within minutes they had the answer –bigger than you think! The flaming field was soon filled with fire trucks, firefighters, and a furious field owner, not to mention angry parents and a very frightened and embarrassed little boy “Papa”. (Can you imaging the headline “Local Pastor’s Son Burns Down Vista”?)

“But didn’t Jesus help Papa, Grammy? Jesus will help us!” Vallarie interrupted emphatically. I had a little mental pause, but I can recognize a teachable moment when I see it and this one wasn’t for four year old Vallarie, but for 58 year-old Grammy.

“Well, yes, Vallarie, Jesus DID help Papa. He kept Papa safe from getting burned and Papa learned an important lesson. But, Papa still got in trouble for playing with fire.
Yes, Val, Jesus certainly DOES help us, all the time.” I said, silently thanking Jesus for helping me to answer her question.

Vallarie seemed pretty satisfied with that answer and so we got a stick and marshmallow and continued watching the wonder of fire. But for me the highlight of last Saturday was not the sharing the sweet experience of roasting a marshmallow for the first time, or the magic of watching the beauty of “sparkles” (as Vallarie called them) floating up on the wind. No the real treasure of the day was hearing the precious proclamation of a 4 year-old, the next generation learning and believing , that

“Jesus will help us!”

Thank You Jesus!
P. S. That is NOT a real fire in the picture!

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