In Reading Club we were learning the story of Jonah. I over hear a 5th grader in another group ask, “Do you guys really believe this stuff?!”
I know, right?! It sounds like just another silly story book in the library, but we’re telling you this one is 100% true.
I sit with a 2nd grader and crack open the Jesus Storybook Bible. He looks at the picture of the storm threatening the people in the boat with frustration & tiredness on his face.
“God is mean!”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because, He’s going to drown everyone.”
“Let’s keep reading & find out.”
“SEE! That fish is going to EAT Jonah! God is MEAN!”
“Do you remember what Jonah told God? What did he do before getting on that boat?”
“He told God ‘no.’”
“Yep, it probably wasn’t a good idea to disobey God, but let’s keep reading to see what happens with this fish.”
We find out that God actually had a crazy plan to be really super nice & rescue Jonah through that big ol’ fish.
“Do you still think God was mean?”
He looks wide eyed at the last page, quiet for a minute.
“No. That was really nice.”
“Do you think Jonah deserved for God to be that nice to him?”
“No, he was mean to God.”
“Isn’t that amazing, that God loves us so much, even though we disobey Him & we’re pretty mean to God, He still sent Jesus to be our rescuer?”
“Yeah. I think I like God a little more.”
“That’s good, buddy, let’s keep learning more, because I think He’s pretty great.”
This 2nd grader has had multiple conversations with me in the past announcing how much he doesn’t like God, or being sure to let me know that this Jesus thing is just a joke that he can’t believe we’ve fallen for. I smile thinking of the journey God has my little 2nd grade friend on to learn His love for him.
The next week we walk to the bus stop. It’s a nice, sunny day & we’re looking forward to greeting the kiddos to see how school was. As the 1st elementary bus unloads multiple gun shots are fired. Really? Right now? Why is someone shooting so close to the kids again?
Moms start screaming & trying to find their kids. Kids start running, not sure which way to go. The sheriff on the corner is looking around. We all start herding children into the gym as fast as we can. Community center employees start yelling to get out of here. The next busses pull up & kids unload, completely unaware of what’s going on.
Complete chaos. Another reminder that the war is real.
After things settle down, we walk some kids home as police cars slowly cruise every street. My little 2nd grade friend rides on my back & we have another conversation about God.
“Miss Raquel, why God don’t love us?”
“He does, buddy. I know that was scary, I’m sorry.”
“No He don’t! He aint with us here. They just always shootin’. I think God forgot us. Why they always shootin’, Miss Raquel?”
“I know buddy, I’m sorry. Sometimes grownups have hurts & they don’t know how to use their words. That’s why we learn to do no hurts & stick together, but sometimes grownups never learned that. We need to help teach them there’s a better way to use words instead of guns to fix problems. But God hasn’t forgotten you, we’re going to make sure you get home safe, buddy.”
“That’s stupid. Grownups know how to use words, they don’t have hurts!”
“I know it sounds crazy, just like you get inside hurts, grownups do too, but some of them never learned how to use their words like you’re learning. They need a lot of love to learn it now.”
“Well, I don’t wanna die, Miss Raquel.”
“I know, buddy, but today, you don’t have to worry about that because God kept us all safe.”
Story to be continued in next blog post.