Boom! Crack! Roar! Rumble!
Sounding like a gigantic ball rolling through Heaven, the thunder shook the room and all went dark.
“Grandmo, I’m scared,” whispered six-year-old Kane as he scrambled up beside her.
“I’m not afraid of a little thunder,” announced Kolby as he drew closer. At eight, he was adept at feigning bravery to his younger cousin.
“Here’s the flashlight, Grandmo. I’ll light some candles,” declared Phillip. At eleven, he was keen on setting an example for his younger brother Kane and cousin Kolby.
“Hey, it’s story-time. Gather close and listen well.” That’s what they liked about their grandmother; she made the most of every predicament.
“All good stories start how?”
Three young voices in unison cried out: “Once Upon a Time!”
“Once upon a time, there was a country I call, Land of the First Rainbow, Straddle the Fence and Almost Persuaded. Now, you may think that is a curious name for a country; it is I suppose, but listen and learn.”
By now, all three boys had snuggled close. Heavy rain hitting the windows served to support the stillness of the candlelit room.
“Now you know about the rainbow, God’s token of His covenant with the earth. But, do you remember about the first one? Yes… it was shortly after Noah and his family stepped out of the ark onto Mt. Ararat. Imagine! God making a covenant with the earth! That had to be a special place, don’t you think?
Do you know what it means to straddle the fence? I’m sure you do. That’s when you appear to favor both sides. Sort of like pretending to have Bob as a best friend when you are around Bob, and Joe as a best friend when you are around Joe. You’ve never done that, have you? I’m going to tell you about a country that does.
To be almost persuaded…wow. That’s a lot to think about. There was a King in the Bible named Herod Agrippa who, after hearing Paul preach, said he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. That’s so sad. I almost baked some cookies for tonight… but we have no cookies. King Agrippa was almost persuaded…but he was not a Christian. I am going to tell you about a country that was almost persuaded.”
The boys were beginning to quietly guess the country. Kolby said he thought it was Poland. Phillip had settled for Iraq. Kane only knew one country, America.
“ Well, maybe I need to tell you a little more about, Land of the First Rainbow, Straddle the Fence, and Almost Persuaded.
The Euphrates River begins there. It is one of the most important rivers in the world. It ran near the Garden of Eden. Paul visited and preached many times in this country. In fact, the seven churches mentioned in the early chapters of Revelation are all found in this country.
Here’s a hint, this country is both in Europe and Asia.
By now, you are all thinking Turkey, aren’t you? And you are right!
Turkey is geographically, politically and officially part of two continents, Europe and Asia. Now how did that happen? Turkey was almost persuaded to be only a European country. Christian or Muslin? In order for Turkey to be part of Asia as well as Europe, a boundary was used that had to curve way back through the Caspian Sea and Black Sea.
Turkey saw the first rainbow and hides the mystery of the ark and started the seven churches of Revelation. But, Turkey isn’t a Christian nation. Turkey is a Muslin nation and chooses to have best friends in Asia while pleading to be a candidate in the European Union. Turkey straddles the fence!
But, the story doesn’t end here. Many changes are taking place in Europe. Will Europe base its future on being a Christian culture or a secular one? Will Turkey be accepted into the European Union? Maybe, we’ll have answers for another story-time.
“Grandmo, you forgot to say, they lived happily ever after”, Kane reminded.
“Only Christians live happily ever after. I’m so glad you all know Jesus!”
Then the lights came on.
“Let’s make cookies!” they all shouted. And so they did!
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