Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Girl Who Drew Jesus (Short Story-Fiction)

A short story by Cassandra Benefield

David R. Tribble (on Wikimedia Commons)

THE DAY began with the shade of gray on the sidewalk where the girls took their oversized chalk and began drawing everything that came to their minds.

            “See here. That’s my pa.”

            “He sure has a funny shaped head.”

            And on that same sidewalk a little girl took a tiny square and claimed it as her very own with every color she had. On her slice of the world, there were blues and hues only a Technicolor movie could have made brighter.

            “What are you drawing?”

            “I’m drawing Jesus.”

            “You silly goose, Jesus doesn’t look like that.”

            “How do you know?”

            “I just know.”

            “Well, my Jesus looks like that.”     

            Just then, the little girl who was drawing her very own Jesus packed up her chalk and walked merrily home. She even skipped some.

            One step, two steps, three steps, four. And off she went into her very own door.

            “Hi sweetheart. Did you have fun today?”   

            “Yes, Mommy. I drew Jesus.”

            “Oh. And what did He look like?”

            “He was very colorful.”

            “That’s nice, dear.”

            The little girl put her stuff in the foyer and took off her tennis shoes. It was easy to do, since her laces were on the verge of being untied anyway.

            She pulled her socks up as far as they could go, which happened to be just under her knees. She stood up, wiped the dust off of her pleated skirt and skipped to the kitchen for her afternoon snack. She even hummed a bit.

            “Mommy, what does your Jesus look like?”

            “That’s a good question. I guess He’s the color of fire and of sinless perfection. Of the fullness of time and of endless ages. He’s the color of air and the wings of eagles. He has dove’s eyes and sounds like the voice of many waters.”

            “That sounds pretty.”

            The little girl smiled and swung her feet back and forth under the table. Both feet forward, both feet back. Both feet forward, both feet back. Then, she was done. She took her plate and placed it on the kitchen counter next to the sink, which was just above her head.

            After her snack, she went into the living room and turned on the television.

            “This just in ….”

            The little girl saw on the television people who were angry at each other, yelling and carrying on. Some even had guns.

            “Today in Jerusalem, hundreds have been injured due to a …”

            “Mommy! Mommy!”

            “Yes dear, what is it?”

            “Where is Jerusalem?”

            “It’s in the Middle East. It’s where Jesus walked.”

            “But Mommy, if Jesus was there, why is everybody so mad?”

            “Oh, honey, just because Jesus’ feet touched the same soil as the feet of those that are there now, doesn’t mean there is peace. He told us there would be wars and rumors of wars until His return.”

            “But if He goes there now, surely He will die.”

            “No, dear. The next time He comes, He cannot die. You see, He died the first time He came. He conquered death and has the keys to both hell and death now.”

            “You mean, they can’t kill Him.”

            “That’s right.”

            “I’m so glad.”

            “Do you understand dear, that Jesus died so that we may go live forever in Heaven with Him? All we have to do is believe He is who He said He was. That He was sent from God, His Father, led a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose up from the grave alive, so that we may be saved from our sins.”


            “You know all those colors you painted in your sidewalk today?” 

            “Uh huh.”

            “Did you use black?”

            “Uh huh.”

            “Well, black is kind of like our sins, dark, and filled with all our bad things, like lying, hitting, and so on.”

            “Uh huh.”

            “Did you use red?”

            “Yes mommy, I used red.”

            “That’s His blood. That blood was what was shed to cover our ugly sin.”

            “So the red goes over the black?”

            “That’s right. But only, when we choose to believe in Him as our Savior.”

            “Uh huh.”

            “Did you use white?”

            “Oh yes, that’s my favorite. It’s so bright!”

            “Yes, it is. When Jesus’ blood covers our sin, we are a new creature in Him. It’s like He erases the black and puts in its place the color white. And this is our color forever and ever.”

            “Forever and ever ... wow.”

            “And even though we may do bad things still, when we choose to believe in Jesus, He can never take the white away.”

            “I like white.”

            “Me, too. Did you use yellow?”

            “Uh huh, Mommy, I used yellow. It’s like the sun. And it’s like those pretty flowers you have in your garden.”    

            “That’s right. My sunflowers. Let’s just say that yellow represents gold.”

            “Like your wedding ring?”

            “Yes, like my wedding ring. In Heaven there will be streets of gold. And when Jesus saves us when we believe in Him, He forgives our sin making all our blacks white. And then we are now able to go to Heaven and be with Him when we die.”

            “But He has keys to Hell, right Mommy? You didn’t say He has keys to Heaven.”        

            “That’s true. Jesus is like Heaven’s key. He said ‘I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.’ He’s the One Who knows who can enter and who can’t.”

            “Those with their black not turned white don’t get to come in, right?”

            “Right. Now, did you have any green?”

            “Oh yes Mommy! I had green, and I used it in my picture.”

            “Well, what do you know that’s green?”

            “Umm, trees and leaves and … umm, GRASS! Grass is green, and frogs. Frogs are definitely green, too, Mommy.”

            “Yes, that’s right, dear. But for the moment, let’s just stick with the green grass. When grass dies, it turns brown.”

            “Like our grass?”

            “Yes, dear, like our grass. But if we watered our grass, it would grow very tall and stay green. After Jesus saves us, we need to be well watered by the Bible, in order to stay green and alive.”

            “I have a Bible.”

            “Yes, you do, and when you learn to read a little more, you will be able to grow by reading it. You can also grow by praying and by going to church.”

            “Mommy, I love church! I love to sing. I love to learn those Bible stories. I believe Jesus. I have some blacks that need to be white. I’ve lied before Mommy. I want Him to turn my blacks into pretty white. I want to go to Heaven.”

            “That’s wonderful dear. Let’s ask Jesus together. ‘Dear Jesus.’”

            “Dear Jesus.”

            “Jesus, I believe You are the only way to go to Heaven. I believe You can turn my blacks into beautiful white so I can go to Heaven, too. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Please help me grow. In Jesus name, Amen.”

            The little girl finished the prayer with her mom. Then, she gave her mom the biggest hug ever.       

            “I knew I drew Jesus.”

(Originally written in 2003)

Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Way Everlasting

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”Psalms 139:23-24

This isn't the first time I have opened a devotion with this verse. But I prayed this the other day, and I wanted to share with you how God has answered that prayer so far. I am always a bit reluctant to pray this prayer or even sing this song during a church invitation, as I want it to be an honest prayer of my heart, and if it is an honest prayer of my heart, I am then afraid of what may be coming down the road for me as answers. Nevertheless, I felt led of the Lord to ask Him to search me, to try me, and then to lead me into His right ways. Today, on the other side of that prayer, I can honestly share with you that I am glad I prayed this. It is a humbling prayer to pray to God because with it, He will cut through the vanity and pride that we crowd our hearts with, and get to the bottom of sins that plague us.

It doesn't have to be an overwhelming flood of corrections and trials to bear fruit. His answer to this prayer may be quieter, and in His mercy, just between Him and you. I believe it is in the latter way that God has brought His answers to my prayer this week. Using the little trials that expose areas in my walk with God that He would like to refine, He has showed me a couple of areas that I need to keep in mind that He is God and that I need Him in every moment of every day. Even though I may be quite capable in the worldly sense of the word, I need to understand that I am really not capable at all, in light of His power, strength, and protection.

The first lesson of the week was that I let a computer virus into my work laptop. It was totally my fault. I knew better, but I was tricked. Of course, I did this on Monday, the start of my week. My Microsoft Outlook email program alone is a treasured asset that I use every day, and I currently do not even have access to that. All I do, that I would normally use Outlook for, such as a distribution list to send out job openings, I have to do from scratch now without my wonderful Outlook contact lists. This doesn't even get into the inconvenience of not being able to have access to the thousands of files that I may need to answer any given question that may come my way. Put it simply, I was bummed. So bummed that I took out some of my frustration on my precious daughter.

Thus, lesson number two. I did not control my temper as well as I could have when my daughter was so whiny (more than usual, I need to add, which is why I believe God used this to test me). I did not respond to her as I wished. I feel so guilty about this because I know over the years God has used many circumstances to draw out my temper problem. A wise preacher shared with me that God does help us overcome our particular sins, and just when we think we've got it handled, that we have gotten the victory, we may get puffed up about it as if somehow it was ourselves and not God who has overcome our sin. In those cases, He may need to draw out our particular sins from time to time in order that we have a healthy respect that it is God who helps us with our sins, not our own efforts. If left to ourselves, we would never overcome our sinful natures.

So, what have I learned about myself after praying Psalms 139:23-24?

In the first lesson of a virus destroying my work laptop, I believe God mainly wanted to test my trust in Him. To know that in the coming days and weeks of this inconvenience, He is in control and that He will provide many ways for me to get through this situation. I just need to rest in Him, trust in Him, and to pray to Him for wisdom to get around the difficulties of not having ready access to my old computer and files.

As for the second lesson on my anger problem, I believe God was testing me so that He could show me again, that this part of my sin nature is always present. And while I may have many victories in this area, I still need Him every day to help me get through my time here on earth without sinful anger and its consequences.

The reason why I can write this to you today in gratitude and with a prayer that it may encourage you, is because both of these situations came with God's precious Romans 8:28 closure. In the case of my computer laptop, I will still have access to my old Outlook as well as my valuable work-related (and even personal) documents. While that alone is a huge relief, I am also getting a brand new laptop, this one that will be at least 10 times better than my other one. Wow! What a great gift!

And in the case with my precious daughter, later that same evening I didn't handle myself as I wanted toward her, she crawled up into my arms, laid tummy down across my chest, and placed her head on my shoulder for several minutes, as I lovingly rubbed her back and basked in the love that only a child can give a mother. It was forgiveness in its most basic form.

Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for searching me, trying me, and then guiding me into the way everlasting. But most of all, thank You for loving me and answering my prayers.

 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that l've God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28

A beautiful spring view from a window in my home.
(Spokane, WA) 

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