“Now. Tell your leader what it means to Trust in Jesus as your savior.”
The question, among others, stumps the kids every time.
Questions like “What does it mean to be punished?” and verses that are so short like “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” get them stuck. But the question. The turn of a page, the thrill of finally making it to the end and the excitement that there is NOTHING to memorize! The little voices chatter the questions arise “Will you sign me off? Please please please?” The pleads. The wants. The cheering.
I have to say no. I will not just sign you off, and usually spend the next 25 minutes explaining to a cute little 9 year old what it means. Looking into her brown eyes last night as she looked back at me, I wanted so badly for her to understand what it meant, but much like last year I was failing. And failing hard.
Across the table a helpful friend rolled her eyes. “IT MEANS.” she started, getting attention and all eyes on her “That if you DON’T trust, your body just disintegrates. It just…goes away. It rots in the ground. For…EVER!” she put great emphasis on the big words. Disintegrates. She pronounced it with such care I wondered where she had heard it. Who had told her that. With all eyes still on her, amazed at her use of such big words the little brown eyed girl turned to me. “It means to disintegrated!” she seemed proud.
I quickly curbed the talk of putting “Trusting in Jesus” in the same boat as a rotting corpse. Carefully choosing my words to tell them that putting your trust in Jesus was so much more important – that no matter their choice their bodies WOULD disintegrate, but their soul. Their spirit. Was far more important. And that’s what we were talking about. It sounded like leftover Halloween talk. While I stumbled for the right words I told them that our spirit and soul would not just go away if we didn’t trust. That our spirits would go to one of two places. And I knew none of them wanted to go to hell. And I didn’t want them to either.
She slammed her arms down on the table. “I don’t GET IT!” She wailed.
Much like last year, only this time. I wasn’t going to let the night pass without her understanding it. A book I read a few years ago popped into my mind, and I quickly considered tying them up and not letting them go until they professed Jesus. But knowing I couldn’t do such foolishness, I set to work explaining for the fortieth time, just what it meant.
“Wont you just sign me off?” She moaned. “Do you understand?” I asked her. “Noooooo” she complained. And on we went. Talking about what it meant. Curbing ideas, pushing aside ideas. Rereading verses, explaining things. Over and over and over…
I remembered something.
“Of COURSE! Why hadn’t I thought of that before?”
I grabbed two bibles on the table. By this time I had two trying to get me to sign them off, and 5 minutes left on the clock. “I want all your attention” I said. It didn’t take much, and I had all eyes on me. Five sets of little eyes. Staring, watching, what was I doing?
I took the Bibles and put them on the table – leaving a large gap between them. “This is you, and you, and you and me, and her…”I said pointing to one Bible. “This.” I said pointing to the other “Is God.” “Now…there is a problem, and it’s a big problem…you see this gap? Its keeping us from God forever. And no matter how HARD we try, we cant cross it, you know why?”
“Because there is LAVA!!” one girl shouted, eager to get the attention to herself.
“There is a lot of stuff keeping us from God. Lets think about what it is.” We listed off a few things. “But the bottom line is” I interjected before things got too out of hand “Is that SIN is creating this gap. And we cant cross it! So you know what? God sent us something. He sent a gift. He sent Jesus, to die for us.” I picked up the piece of paper representing their book and held it across the gap. “When Jesus died, he bridged that gap, and if we Trust this. If we believe he died and rose again, then we will live with Him forever.”
Five heads bobbed up and down. “And then we just….ZOOOMP! Across! Right??”
I turned back to the brown eyed girl. “Does that make sense to you?” She smiled and nodded. Infact they all did, and in their own words, the two girls who had struggled just minutes ago to understand what I was saying, told me what it meant to Trust in Jesus.
And happily, I signed them off, high five’d them, and prayed they really understood what was so important.