Four-year-old Lynn sat up in bed and propped his chin on his chubby knees. He eyed the dark shadows in the corner. Where would he go if he died tonight? His Sunday school teacher’s question chugged through his head over and over again.
Creeping to the edge of his bed, Lynn leaned out, trying to see the snakes his brothers said lived under there at night, but it was too dark. Finally, he took a flying leap and raced desperately for the crack of light that came around the edge of the door. Stumbling into the safety of the lighted hall he paused for breath. Then, squaring his shoulders, he marched toward the family room.
His mother sat enthroned in the cushions of the big red armchair, a book propped on her lap. She looked up as Lynn peered cautiously around the corner, and he was relived that she didn’t look mad at him for getting out of bed.
He stood in front of her and studied his toes, the question still circling around his head. Then he looked up with his huge brown eyes. “My Sunday school teacher asked us where we would go if we died tonight,” he explained. “She said that to go to heaven we had to ask Jesus to come live in our hearts.”
His mother’s face lit up with a smile and she set her book aside. “Would you like to do that?”
Lynn knew then that his questions would all be answered. He leaned against her leg, listening seriously as she explained again to him all about how to go to heaven. When she was done he announced emphatically, “I believe that! I want to ask Him into my heart right now.”
His mother beamed again and pulled him into her lap. Clasping her hands around his, she leaned her chin on his head as he prayed.
“Dear God; I’m sorry for doing bad things. I know that Your Son, Jesus, died so I don’t have to be punished and go to hell for the bad stuff I do. Please come live in my heart and help me to do good things and bring me to heaven when I die. Thank You. Amen!” Lynn squirmed around in her lap and gave his mom a big hug. Grinning at her, he trotted back to bed. He forgot all about the snakes as he crossed the dark room.
Laying flat on his back, Lynn chuckled to himself. Now he knew where he would go if he died! But he was too excited to sleep and once again he crawled out of bed and peeked around the family room corner.
“I know Jesus is in my heart,” he told his mom, laying a hand over his pounding chest. “I can feel Him walking around inside!”
She laughed. “That’s wonderful, Lynn! But now it’s time for bed.”
Thirty-one years later...
Lynn stood at the doorway of his four-year-old daughter’s room. A crack of light fell across her face and the blond hair that spilled around it. Great joy filled his heart. That day this little girl had also decided that she wanted to know she would go to heaven when she died. Only a few hours before, she had prayed and asked God to come into her heart.
Lynn closed the door softly and prayed that he would be able to teach his little girl what she needed to know about God. And he asked that the legacy would continue so that one day she would be able to lead her own children to their Heavenly Father.
Nine years later...
“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Lynn clasped his hands firmly around his daughter’s head and shoulders and lowered her into the cool water. The water closed over her face and he raised her up again, the church body breaking into cheers and applause.
Four years later...
“Her mother and I do.” Lynn wiped away a happy tear and reached trembling hands to lift back his daughter’s veil. Bowing his head, he prayed aloud, blessing his daughter and his soon-to-be son-in-law.
Four years later...
“Grandpa, you’re my best friend!” The toddler threw her arms around Lynn, beaming up at him. “Come sing the song about Jesus with me!”
This is the legacy my dad, Lynn, has given me: a legacy of faith that began that night when he was four years old, and continues through to today. Thank you, Dad!
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