Ben was a four year old boy leaning over a peanut butter & jelly sandwich when his mom led him to Jesus and he got saved. I was a seven year old girl kneeling by my bed with both of my parents when I asked Jesus into my heart. That decision, made as children, was the first step in a journey of faith that has landed us as church-planting missionaries to New York City. It’s something beyond my wildest dreams, and it is all the Lord, and His work in our lives as we surrendered to Him – first in salvation, then to His call to service, then to Bible College and ministry preparation, and now to His call to the City.
That little boy and little girl were on my mind today, because we are now parents of four little people. Little people who need to ask Jesus into their lives as well. Everyday situations provide the opportunity to infuse the Gospel message into their lives. Disobedience shows them their sin. Discipline shows them a little bit of sin’s consequence. And daily we have the opportunity to live the victorious life of Christ before them. This is the area that is hardest, and the one where I fail so often. Yet God is still working in the hearts of my little people.
Elaine had seemed so sensitive to the Gospel for a while, but she was going to wait until she was “in college” or “a teenager” to do that. She thought she was too little to invite Jesus into her life. Then she seemed to harden to the Gospel and her sin. The battles were harder and more often. I wondered what I wasn’t doing or saying right and why I couldn’t get through. Then she seemed to soften again. For about a week she has been trying so hard in her own self-effort to “not disobey any more so I never have to get a time out again.” We have talked about the Gospel more and prayed more fervently.
We had another good conversation at bed time last night, and after going through God’s plan of salvation again, Ben left the ball in Elaine’s court. If she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart, or she had more questions she could ask Ben in the morning.
And she did. In the middle of waking up late, struggling to get everyone ready for church, a wet bed (if you know what I mean), and Cheerios everywhere, Elaine whispered in Ben’s ear that she wanted to tell him something “just between the two of us.” I couldn’t hear the whisper but I saw Ben lead Elaine to the couch, and heard a few of his questions. He wanted to be sure Elaine was taking care of her own soul, and not just trying to please her parents. She wanted to get saved “because I don’t want to go to hell.” And she did – she prayed to get saved. She didn’t even need help praying, and Ben didn’t have to prompt her at all. My little five year old girl chose to get off the “wide path” and onto the “skinny path.”
At first she didn’t want to tell anyone. “I just want to keep it to myself.” I explained that Pastor Bickel had been praying for her to get saved, and that I thought he would really like to know she had. We got to church and Elaine told her friend Adelei, but with strictest orders to “keep it to herself.” Then Elaine did tell Pastor Bickel, and that got it started. Elaine came out of Sunday School singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” I thought it was an appropriate song to learn, since she had told the whole mountain of Bethel Baptist Fellowship that “before I left the house I got saved.” She may have even told some of them twice!