Read part 1 of this story on our previous blog post HERE.
The next day, after the shooting at the bus stop, we’re back at Reading Club. This time, I’m reading a book about Komodo Dragons & King Cobras with my little 2nd grade friend. I expect the conversation to be a little lighter around this topic, but pretty soon we dive back in. Our 1st grade friend reading along says, “One bite & that lizard is DEAD!” A few pages later, while we look at the bones of the animals & learn about the circle of life the 2nd grader can’t hold it in any longer…
“Miss Raquel, what happens when we die?”
“Well buddy, we go back in the ground. Remember when we talked about how God made us from the ground & breathed to give us life?”
“EWWW! God’s nasty! Dirt’s nasty! I don’t want His breath on me!”
I try not to laugh & somehow recover his serious question.
“But that’s not all. If we trust Jesus, we get to live again & be with God forever. If we don’t trust Jesus, then it’s really bad & there’s only God’s anger with us forever.”
“How can we be alive again? When we get real old we die. How can we go to Jesus?
I point to the 3 circles painted on the wall across from us, to explain the gospel.
“Remember how God made everything perfect & wanted everyone to be friends with Him forever, but we messed it up? Now everything is broken in the world, like people shooting, & dying, right? So, Jesus came to fix it. We couldn’t get back to being friends with God, but Jesus showed us how to love God & everyone else. Then He died & came back to life. He said if we trust Him, that He will save us & His death will count for our death, so we can be friends with God again & live with Him forever. So if we make Jesus our boss, after we die, it will be like we didn’t die. God will make the whole world perfect again & we get to live with Him forever! What do you think about that?”
“We’ll live here forever after we die?”
“No buddy, He will make the whole world new, so there won’t be anymore bad things or shooting & He will make sure no one ever cries again. So it will be better.”
“But who will be here?” he says with a worried look on his face.
“Well, no one after Jesus comes back & changes the world it will be different.”
“But who will unlock the Treehouse? The kids will need to get in Oak Tree.”
I sit stunned, realizing he is currently in his idea heaven.
“Oh, buddy. We won’t need it, everywhere will be safe like the Treehouse, only way way better. You won’t need a key to get in. Everyone who follows Jesus will be able to live together forever as one big family. Everyone will always be taken care of.”
Now he’s got his thinking face on.
“I want to trust Jesus, Miss Raquel.”
“Ok, buddy. That’s the best thing to ever do. That means that He will be your boss, so when we learn things He tells us to do, you will learn to obey Him & love Him. Do you think you want to do that? Remember, He tells us some hard things to obey, like love other people & forgive them.” (We’ve had a previous conversation about how crazy & stupid it was to love people who were mean to us!)
“Yes. I like Jesus now. But what about my momma? She don’t like Jesus. & my sister, she don’t like Jesus either. What happens when they die?”
“Remember the broken circle? Anyone who doesn’t trust Jesus will stay away from God’s love & when they die they will be in God’s anger. I know that’s scary & it makes me sad to think about. That’s why Jesus says when we follow Him, He gives us a big job to tell everyone else about how much God loves us & Jesus’s big rescue plan. So, you can tell your mom & sister that you follow Jesus & tell them the story to ask them to trust Him too.”
“Ok, but will I be white when I get to heaven?”
I’ve already been holding back tears, that one nearly sends me over the edge.
“NO, you will be the beautiful black boy that you are, buddy. God made you just right, it wasn’t an accident. He made His family all different colors & they speak all different languages. When He makes the world right again His whole family will all be together & look all different, just the way He likes it, but the good part is that everyone will love each other & there won’t be any fighting or thinking one color is better than another!”
“Whoah. That sounds good.”
“Yeah, it will be buddy. I’m glad you’re in God’s family with me.”
Complete peace. Another reminder that the war is already won.
The next week at Reading Club I overhear his big sister talking to a volunteer.
“Mrs. Becky, my brother said when we die if we say sorry to Jesus we can live forever with Him. Is that right?”
Our 2nd grade friend already knows this is good news worth spreading & he has a King worth obeying!