Long before the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone, there was . . . the music box. It was a simple, mechanical device that delighted many during the 1800s. Women adored men who gave them one as a token of their love. Little girls giggled upon hearing the music and pondered how something so grand could come from something so small.
I had an idea once to write about a homeless mother and her daughter who wandered the streets of a big city during the Great Depression. One day, while begging people for money to buy food, a stranger stops to give them a small box with a unique power -- it plays music when opened. The mother and daughter are unfamiliar with the song coming from the box, but it brings them peace and hope every time they hear it.
May the following story reassure you of God’s love and inspire you to have faith to face another day.
The cold Chicago wind whipped Molly’s wool scarf like a worn rag about to be ripped in two. She quickly grabbed both of its frayed ends and yanked it tighter around her neck.
“Is this going to be a bad winter, momma?” asked eight-year-old Molly.
Molly smashed her dirty pink knit hat more securely to her head before grabbing her mother’s hand to cross the busy street.
“I don’t know, honey. But it sure is beginning to feel like it.”
When they had safely crossed the street, Crystal, Molly’s mother, turned her focus to the source of their next meal. She knew the streets were a wicked playground with evil men lurking everywhere since the stock market crashed not too long ago. Every stranger they approached for money posed a potential threat for many felt the pain of hunger just like them.
“Excuse me, sir, could you . . .” begged Crystal to someone passing by.
“Get away from me woman! I’m out of work and can’t even feed my own children,” bellowed the man as he quickened his pace to hurry away from her.
Crystal hung her head in defeat.
As she had done so many times before, Molly squeezed her mother’s hand and said: “Everything’s going to be okay, momma. You’ll see.”
If only she had her daughter’s faith, Crystal thought. Then, Crystal tried asking a few more strangers with no success. Suddenly, a man approached them out of nowhere.
“Miss, I noticed you and your daughter are in a dilemma. We are living in dark days, and I fear they are only going to get darker. I have no money or food to give you, for I am a beggar like yourself. But years ago, a man gave me a musical box that has given me hope on many occasions. I’d like to give it to your daughter to keep and open whenever she feels sad, lonely or afraid. Would that be okay?”
After hesitating for a moment, Crystal said, “I suppose it would be okay. I don’t see any harm in it.”
The man reached into his pocket and brought out a small wooden box. He opened it before giving it to Molly, and the most angelic tune began to play.
“Wow,” said Molly, eyes wide open. “Thank you so much, mister.”
Before the stranger turned to leave, he had one last thing to say, “Always remember little one: Jesus loves you.”
Crystal and Molly were mesmerized by the gift. Never before had they heard such a beautiful tune and wondered what it meant. And the peace it brought to them was indescribable.
A month passed, and some days were better than others. One day, however, Crystal and Molly were unable to collect money for food, so they ate whatever they could find hidden in the piles of garbage that dotted the city’s landscape. Crystal’s spirit and passion for life began to wane. In addition to her feeling inadequate, winter was beginning with a vengeance. The temperature dropped considerably, and a light snow blanketed the slabs of concrete beneath their feet. The begging duo sought warmth by joining others who gathered around a fire burning in a rusty trash can nearby.
As they approached the small band of beggars, a woman said to them, “We’ve been singing songs to distract the little ones from the cold and lack of food.”
After wrapping her arms around a young boy by her side, the woman continued: “You’re welcome to join us. Do you have a song you’d like everyone to sing?”
“I . . . I . . . don’t really have one,” said Crystal.
“Oh, but we have something musical to share,” said Molly as she opened her box that chimed a heavenly tune.
The young boy, at his mother’s side, smiled. “I know that song,” he said. “Can we sing it, mommy?”
And with that, everyone belted out a familiar song to the musical box’s chimes:
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so
Crystal and Molly looked at each other for a brief moment before bursting into laughter and tears. God’s love flooded their souls, and they were overjoyed upon discovering the words to the musical box’s tune. No wonder it brought them peace in the midst of their darkest hours. No wonder it gave them hope when they couldn’t see how they were going to make it another day.
“See,” said Molly, squeezing her mother’s hand more tightly. “I told you everything was going to be okay.”