Story/Thought: At Peace

Short Story

Short StoryIn the distance, Jane heard sirens and gunfire. While her body trembled sometimes at the noise, she wasn’t terrified. Her daddy was taking care of her.

One day at the playground someone said something very mean to Jane. The words stung. But then she smiled. Her daddy loved her.

Another time Jane messed up badly and broke a glass dish. She felt terrible—and so very clumsy. But her heart rested when she remembered that even so, her daddy still loved her.

At night, Jane curled up in bed and slept contentedly. She had no cause to fear. Her daddy was still awake.

She was at peace in her daddy’s care.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121 (KJV)

God doesn’t promise everything will go our way or we won’t suffer (in fact, He warns we will have tribulations—John 16:33)—but He does promise to watch over us night and day, working all things for good (Romans 8:28). And despite how confident we are sometimes that we know what is best, God truly knows what is best—He sees eternity’s grand picture—and He is in charge of everything. We can be at peace in Him.

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Short Story: Enjoy the Journey

Short Story

Short StoryAlthough Emma had told her father he could drive her wherever he chose, she seemed to be having a hard time relaxing and letting him do so. Every so often, she had actually grabbed the steering wheel, attempting to turn the car where she thought it should go.

Then she’d remember and let go again, relaxing for a few minutes and letting her father drive. That is, until she forgot again…

“You know,” her father reminded her after she began panicking about the direction they were going. “I’ve got this trip all planned out. I know where I’m going.”

Emma smiled up at her father, a wave of relief splashing over her. Her father knew just where he was taking her, and he knew and loved her perfectly. Why did she keep thinking she knew better?

“Now,” her father continued, “how about relaxing and enjoying the journey? Look out that window—isn’t that a beautiful sight?”

Emma gasped as she looked out the window. The sun was rising, spreading warmth and light in all directions. What a breathtaking scene she’d been missing out on!

“Oh, Father!” she cried. “I don’t want to miss out on one more minute of the journey.”


“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)

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The God We PraiseLooking for a way to cultivate a heart of gratitude in your children?

Check out the Thanksgiving Devotional, the God We Praise. For the 21 days leading up to and including Thanksgiving, look at an attribute of God each day together. The devotional includes coloring pages for children (along with instructions on how to put them together into their own little books), as well as fun activity ideas that reinforce that day’s readings.

[thrive_link color=’green’ link=’https://www.christianperspective.net/product/the-god-we-praise-e-book’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Learn More[/thrive_link]

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Which Way to Go?

Short Story: Which Way to Go?

Short Story: Which Way to Go?There once was a sheep who didn’t know which way to go. The path she had been following had ended, leaving her in the middle of a small clearing that was surrounded by woods on all sides.

Upon closer investigation, there were many paths heading into the woods. But which path should she take?

Panic began to set in to the little sheep’s mind. She began racing around in circles, hoping somehow she could make the overwhelmed feeling go away. How was she to figure this out?

Then she felt a familiar pressure on her side. It was her shepherd’s rod. He was here with her! He would lead and guide her. As she stepped forward, he would use his gentle rod to direct her steps.

Peace returned. Her shepherd knew what he was doing. She knew her shepherd would never leave or forsake her. Her shepherd had literally laid down his life for her. She was in good hands.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

 [Jesus is speaking] “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14 (KJV)

Story: Worry or Rest?

Story: Worry or Rest?Wash the dishes, take out the trash, finish an email—Amanda had more to do in life than there were hours left to do them. She tried to fall asleep, but sleep just wouldn’t come.

Her financial situation also weighed heavily on her mind. She had lost her job, and money was tight. The load of it all threatened to crush her.

Amanda got up and tiptoed to the edge of the nursery where her baby brother slept sweetly. Baby Jeremy didn’t feel any of the pressure she did. He didn’t know what tomorrow held—he just knew his parents would take care of him.

Amanda laughed as she tried to picture how worried Baby Jeremy would be if he knew all that he needed tomorrow. He needed so many things he couldn’t possibly get for himself—after all, he was just a baby, and babies can’t dress themselves or fix their own breakfast. But if he knew all he needed the next day and felt the impossibility of getting it, would he say what she’d been saying—that there was no way? Would he stay up late fretting too?

How silly that would be! Baby Jeremy had parents who loving took care of all his needs. He didn’t need to understand how his needs would all be met—it was enough to know his parents would take care of him.

Amanda stopped short in her train of thought. Didn’t she have a Heavenly Father caring for her too? A smile suddenly illuminated her face, and a weight fell from her shoulders. She could curl up and rest, even without answers, just like Baby Jeremy, confident that her Heavenly Father had it all under control.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:30-34

Returning to Rest

Biscuit bounced into the room with all the energy and joy of a puppy, despite being a two-year-old lab. She wagged her tail and happily buried her face in Jason’s lap.

Jason lovingly stroked her head. He loved Biscuit. And so far, Biscuit had seemed delighted with her new owner. Ever since he had rescued her from the pound, she had seemed to understand that Jason loved her and would care for her. He was so very different from her previous owner, who had treated her harshly.

*******

One day, Jason couldn’t find Biscuit. It was so unlike her not to greet him the moment he walked in the door. What had happened?

He finally found her hiding underneath a bed. She hid her head in her paws when she saw him, trying to hide her eyes and make him disappear.

“What are you doing, Biscuit? It’s okay…you can come out.” It took quite a bit of coaxing before Biscuit finally came out from under the bed. Her whole frame trembled, as her head was hung in shame. Tail drooping in between her legs, she led Jason into the other room. As Jason surveyed the broken china and glass all over the floor, he suddenly understood. Biscuit had obviously broken the lamp and then hid herself under the bed, afraid her master would no longer love her.

Jason reached out his hands gently and stroked Biscuit. “It’s okay, girl. I still love you. Nothing you do will make me stop. You may have consequences for what you do,”—Jason added this as he noticed a small cut on her foot caused by some of the broken glass—“but I’m still going to care for you.”

It took several days of Jason repeating these words and still lovingly caring for Biscuit before the happy wag came back to her tail. Once again, she was at peace in her master’s care.

*******

Biscuit was still adjusting to her role as mother. She took the responsibility of caring for her four puppies very seriously. In fact, she hadn’t seemed to realize yet that Jason would care for them just as he had for her. Once they finished nursing, she seemed convinced it was still her job to provide food for them. She even tried her hand at hunting—which proved a comical, although utter, failure.

Jason faithfully put out food for each puppy as well as the mother. Each time he did, though, Biscuit seemed incredibly surprised and relieved. It took months before she finally realized she didn’t have to worry—her master would take care of her puppies as well as her. The happy wag returned again to her tail. She was at peace in her master’s care.

*******

At one point in time, Biscuit ended up with a broken leg. Jason, as usual, took good care of her. He got the leg set and casted (even though Biscuit hated the veterinarian working on her) and gave her medicine to ease the pain. He even carried up the stairs when her leg was too sore to make the trip.

But as the days went on, Biscuit began to show signs of depression. She wouldn’t eat well, and she didn’t seem interested in anything.

Jason kept trying to interest her in all the things she still could do—sitting on his lap, chewing a bone, etc., but Biscuit remained uninterested. All she wanted to do was run and play outside—and since she couldn’t do it, she seemed determined to be miserable.

“What’s wrong with your dog?” Jason’s friend Mike asked one afternoon when Biscuit shrank back from his attempts to interest her in a toy. “She used to love that toy.”

Jason nodded. “I know. She’s been this way ever since her injury. She doesn’t seem to believe that I’m still here caring for her.”

“Too bad,” Mike remarked. “She was always such a happy one. What are you going to do?”

“Do? Why, keep loving and caring for her, of course. Maybe one day she’ll realize she can rest in my care, no matter what’s happening or how she feels.”

“Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.” Psalm 116:7

Story: Job Usurping

Jeremy wanted desperately to be helpful. In fact, he had given up several opportunities in order to stay home and help his father. But now Jeremy was incredibly frustrated. It felt as if he wasn’t accomplishing anything. Sure, he had a few small tasks to do, but they were nothing special. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to do something great. And he resented all the circumstances that kept preventing him from fulfilling any of his plans.

As Jeremy entered the barn one day, he stopped short as he heard his brother singing while he worked. Jeremy sighed to himself. He remembered the day when he used to sing while he worked too. What had happened to his joy?

He knew what had happened. Previously, he’d chosen to rejoice, knowing that his father was giving him his daily assignments and had the future all in control. He’d rejoiced in his father’s love and care. But lately—although he never would have acknowledged or worded it this way—he’d begun to doubt his father’s care. He knew that was a pretty foolish thing to do. His father was incredibly wise and smart…and totally loving. Jeremy knew that. Yes, he knew it—but would he live as if he knew it?

Jeremy didn’t quite see how to, but he knew the first step was to repent and start replacing his complaints with praise. Whenever the complaints would fill his mind, he began choosing to say a praise instead. He also began reminding himself of his father’s character and love—and of how faithful his father had always been. Slowly but surely, the cloud began to lift from his heart and a smile crept back once again. Once more, he was content to let his father direct his steps, even if that plan didn’t seem very special at the moment.

~~~~~~~

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
~~~~~~~

Jeremy knew the fields needed planted soon. His mind kept racing to try to figure out what he should plant where. Should they grow potatoes or corn in the backfield? Should they order from Seeds Express or Seeds Forever? How many tomatoes should they plant? The list of decisions went on, and with each additional one, the tension in Jeremy’s heart grew that much bigger. He finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He hurriedly sought out his father.

Jeremy’s father was waiting for him and, as always, listened lovingly as Jeremy poured out his list of decisions. “You know, Jeremy, I’ve already made all those decisions.”

Jeremy looked up in surprise. “You have?”

Jeremy’s father nodded. “A looong time ago. Jeremy, I’ll tell you what to order when. Just seek me and ask what you need to do and be about what I tell you to do.”

Those words lifted a huge weight from Jeremy’s shoulders. No wonder he’d felt so exhausted lately—he’d been trying to do his father’s job! Now how silly was that? His father had it all under control.

~~~~~~~
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
~~~~~~~

“Benjamin, that’s not how you feed the pigs. Daniel, would you please try to pay attention to the instructions I printed on how to milk a cow?”

Jeremy’s patience was completely exhausted with his brothers. He wanted desperately for each of his brothers to do a good job—for his father, of course!

And the neighbors—now they were a whole other story. Jeremy wanted them to get to know his father too—he knew that was what his father wanted. But sometimes it felt quite impossible to convince any of them to so much as talk with his father.

Once again, Jeremy was discouraged. And once again, he sought out his father.

His father explained, “My dear son, you’re taking on my job again.”

Jeremy looked at him in surprise. “I am?”

His father nodded. “It’s my job to train your brothers and deal with them if they’re not getting it—it’s just yours to faithfully teach them what I tell you. And it’s my job to get the neighbors to talk to me—it’s just yours to faithfully present to them the truths I gave you to share with them. You can’t control any outcomes; that’s my job. All you can do is faithfully obey what I tell you.”

Once again, a load fell from Jeremy’s shoulders. Oh, when would he learn to stop trying to take over his father’s job!

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Story: Misguided Peace

Jason screeched the jeep to a halt in front of the mansion. Even over his engine he could hear the jovial music and merry making. He leaped out of the car, not a moment to lose.

“I need everyone to head for shelter–the volcano is erupting soon!” he shouted.

Someone grabbed him by the arm. “Excuse me, sir, but would you mind keeping it down? You’ll disturb the guests.”

Jason stared at the man in bewilderment. “That’s the idea! They need disturbed. Did you hear what I said? The volcano is erupting soon–everyone needs to get out of here right now.”

The man just smiled. “They’ll be time to deal with that later. Right now, we’re enjoying life. And if you don’t watch it,” he added gruffly, “I’ll see you get put out of the way. I’m in the middle of closing a very lucrative business deal.” The man rubbed his hands together gleefully as he spoke.

As if that will matter if the volcano gets you, Jason thought to himself, as he hurried on. He kept shouting his warning, but to his surprise, no one paid much attention.

“I don’t believe in volcanoes,” one young lady informed him with a rebellious shake of her head. “If you do, that’s fine, but don’t force your beliefs on others.”

Jason shook his head. “You don’t understand–I’m not trying to force anything on you. I’m trying to get you safe. If you don’t leave this area, you will die, whether you believe in volcanoes or not.”

“As I said, I don’t believe in them. I think we’re all just supposed to be kind to one another, and then everyone will be okay.”

“But–” the lady had already walked off before Jason could reply.

After many similar interchanges, Jason finally jumped back in his jeep and drove on to find others to warn. He simply had to try to tell as many people as he could before it was too late! How they responded–well, that he couldn’t control.

Jason pulled his jeep to a halt in front of a large “Volcano Shelter” sign. The whole area looked like a massive construction zone, as men and women labored to reinforce an enormous concrete building.

“The volcano is erupting soon–you guys need to flee!” Jason called through his window.

“Flee? You mean work harder!” a woman with a wheelbarrow full of bricks replied. “We’ve been working and working on this shelter my whole life. If we just keep working, it will hold us through the volcano.”

Jason examined the impressive-looking shelter. For a moment, he thought maybe the woman was right–it did look well built. And these people, unlike the ones at the mansion, were at least trying to prepare for the coming catastrophe. But then he shook his head. He knew the volcano would obliterate everything in its path–whether a mansion or a fabulous shelter. The only way to safety was to leave the little island.

“Ma’am, this structure won’t hold. You have to leave the island–and you have to do it now!”

The woman held herself up to her full height. “What do you mean it won’t hold? We’ve been working hard, I tell you, unlike those frolicking fools over there.” The woman tossed her head knowingly in the direction of the mansion.

“It just won’t hold–the volcano will destroy everything in its path. Come, leave the island, and you’ll be safe.”

“Humph! And leave behind all I’ve worked for? I think not! You, sir, should not be so narrow-minded. There’s more than one way to prepare for this volcano.”

Jason sighed. “I’m not meaning to be narrow-minded. I just want to warn you of the danger. There is only one way to safety–and that’s to leave this island. Everything on it will be destroyed.”

“How do you know that?” the woman snapped.

“I have it on good word. The manual…”

“Aw, there’s more than one way to interpret that, even if you believe it’s error-free,” replied the woman.

“Even if? Ma’am, that manual has predicted hundreds of things accurately. This very island bears within it evidence of a flood that ties with what the manual says happened. Plus, we can see evidence of the volcano getting ready to explode that ties with what the manual says will happen. And as for interpretation, it’s pretty clear. The problem is that people keep twisting it because they don’t want to hear what it says.”

The woman shook her head. “Look, I believe the manual is a good book. But it’s foolish not to do what we can to prepare for the volcano.”

“Exactly! That’s why you must leave. If you believe it’s a good book, you should follow what it says…”

“I’m trying!”

“But it says to flee, not to try.”

The woman shook her head despairingly and with a loud, “Humph!” turned back to her work. She was too busy building her own volcano shelter to take the way of escape already offered to her. How could she turn her back on all she’d accomplished and admit she was no better off than the people over in the mansion?

Jason found himself fighting back tears. Would no one listen? Would they insist on either clinging to the cares and fun of life or vainly trying to make their own provision for safety instead of taking the one offered to them at tremendous cost? The king’s own son had died to provide a way of escape from the volcano…oh, that more people would listen and respond before it was too late!

****
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6