I’m sharing my new, soon-to-be-published-God-willing children’s book, From Grumpy to Grateful, with my readers in the next few days leading up to Thanksgiving. If you missed the first two posts, here are the links:
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. Luke 23:8
“Don’t let him bother you, Jackie,” said Charlotte, who was brushing her hair at the bathroom mirror. Charlotte was Jackson’s sister. She was three years older than he was, and a lot more grown up when it came to handling mean kids. She had a way of making Jackson feel better – usually.
But today even Charlotte couldn’t lift him out of his sour mood.
“Don’t call me ‘Jackie’!” he snapped. “I’m not a little kid anymore. It’s Jack now.”
Nobody called Bill “Billy.” That would be like asking to get punched in the nose. The kids respected Bill. Or maybe they were just afraid of him, but anyway, Bill was cool, and Jackson wanted to be cool, too.
“OK, Jack,” his sister said, smiling a little. “Don’t let that kid get to you. He’s always been mean, especially since his parents got divorced. He’s mean to everybody.”
“But nobody’s mean to him,” said Jackson.
Charlotte laughed. “Yeah, they’re too scared of him. Come on, let’s get ready for Sunday school.”
“I don’t want to go today,” said Jackson, trying on his new “cool” act.
“What?!” cried Charlotte, looking very surprised. “You can’t be serious!”
Wow, thought Jackson, this is a sure way to get attention!
“You had fun last week,” said Charlotte. “That story about Jesus walking on water? And then Peter doing it? That was awesome! You said so yourself.”
“Well, I haven’t walked on water lately,” said Jackson in his coolest voice. “Let’s see Jesus help me do it.”
Charlotte looked surprised that Jackson would say such a thing, but she replied, “Well … I suppose you could ask Him.”
Jackson went out to the sidewalk where the bug Bill had squashed the day before still lay, covered with hungry ants. He found a puddle in the pothole by the end of the driveway.
“OK, Jesus,” he said. “Do Your stuff.” He took a deep breath and stepped out over the puddle. As he lowered his foot, it sank ankle deep into the water.
“Way to go, Jackie,” said Charlotte, rolling her eyes. “Now you gotta go change your shoes and socks, and we’re gonna be late for church.”
“I told you, it’s Jack, and I don’t wanna go!” Jackson snapped back. He felt a knot in his stomach for what he was about to say, but he said it anyway.
“What has God ever done for me? I’ve never been healed! I’ve never seen anyone raised from the dead! I’ve never had loaves and fishes multiplied for me! I’ve never seen any miracles! Maybe it is all a fairy tale.”
Charlotte looked shocked and about to cry. Jackson felt bad for making her feel that way, but he also felt cool.
“Well,” said Charlotte, frowning, “Mom and Dad won’t let you skip church anyway, so you’re going, Jack.” She said the new name in such a nasty way that Jackson was starting to wonder whether being cool was going to be worth losing the good relationship he had with his sister.
To be continued …
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your patience with us when we are being ungrateful and foolish. Open our eyes to Your goodness, and help us reflect the joy that is available to us every day when we are close to You and grateful for Your presence in our lives. In the name of Your precious Son, Amen.