I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
John 10:10 (The Message)
God is our refuge and strength. Our very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear.
Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV)
When I was only five years old and attending Vacation Bible School, our pastor told me about being a Jesus follower. Truths about having peace and no fear, and going to Heaven rather than Hell, made an impression. I remember thinking about it, then going home and thinking about it some more. At bedtime, I told my mom I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. From that day on, I was determined to love Jesus and make Him my best friend forever.
In the third grade, a broken leg landed me in the hospital. In 1971, kids with fractures spent at least one or two nights in the hospital. Because of work, my parents were unable to visit me, so other than my two Sunday school teachers, I was alone for a couple of days, and tempted to be frightened.
With determination to remember Jesus was with me, I decided the situation was like my Bible story from the Sunday before – Paul and Silas in prison. A bit dramatic for the much more mundane truth of my hospital stay, but I still decided to praise Jesus in the midst of my trial and pray for the girls in my room.
During crutch lessons with the physical therapist, I noticed other children up and down the hall who were very sick. I asked the nurse if I could go up and down the hall in a wheelchair praying for the sick kids. She granted permission, so off I went in my prayer machine on wheels.
One family, in particular, touched my heart. Their baby girl had pneumonia, and the doctors were not hopeful. I asked the parents if I could pray for her, and they eagerly agreed, wheeling my chair into her room. I prayed a simple little girl’s prayer for this baby asking for healing, and for her parents to not be afraid.
The next morning, I awoke to her mom and dad standing over my bed, tears in their eyes, holding a rosebud for me. Thinking the worst because of their tears, I asked what was wrong. But they quickly assured me that not only was their baby girl all right – despite not being expected to live – but the doctors were actually sending her home. The doctors, they said, were amazed that the baby was better. They thanked me for my prayers, and told me that Jesus had used me to bring healing to their little girl.
At that moment, I realized that being a Christian was not just a free ticket to Heaven. It is also a free ticket to join Jesus on the adventure of life, looking for opportunities to partner with Him in bringing abundant life to others.
As the years have passed, there have been many times that discouragement and doubt try to settle in. But each time I take those fears to Jesus, He reminds me of that little girl who knew no fear and His promise to be my lifelong partner in the best adventure of all.