Jalen met Ben on his very first day of sixth grade, nineteen hundred and sixty nine!
The teacher asks everyone to stand and introduce themselves, and he saw Ben rise and turn a deep shade of red as he said, “Hi, my name is Ben Smith”!
Ben was a tall lanky boy with shades of brown blond hair hanging in curly locks around his face; Actually the blond came from too much fun in the summer sun. His eyes were a deep shade of blue with little darts of green, especially when he smiled. Jalen had jet black hair and eyes of sandal brown; he had a heart of gold and his constant message was, “Do you know Jesus”? The first time he spoke to Ben, he said, “do you know Jesus”? Ben said, “Jesus Who” Jalen said, “Ah, let me and Mom come and pick you up for church Sunday and I will personally introduce you to Jesus.
Through sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade, they never left one another’s side, when one saw Ben, one saw Jalen, wherever Jalen was, there was Ben.
Their freshmen year in school, they had to travel ten miles to the big city, the school was big and everyone from all around had to go there; it was called the County Seat High School. The children were all split up and put in different classes. Jalen and Ben didn’t get to spend much time together, except the ride to and from school on the bus. Ben quit coming to church and Jalen saw him now and then with the so called wild crowd! It hurt Jalen so much
when he saw Ben with a beer tipped up to his lips. Then one day Ben said, “Man, you need to try this, you might like it”! The only thing that Jalen said was, “Ben, please come back to church”! Ben said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t right now”!
Time passed quickly; it was their senior year, Christmas break, nineteen hundred and seventy five. Christmas was Jalens favorite time of year, Inside that home Christmas Eve was celebrated in a big way! Grace, Jalens’ mom had cookies baking in the oven and a big fat hen stewing in the pot. Suddenly the telephone rang, on the other end a voice said, “Hello is this Jalen Bush, Can you please come to the hospital, your friend Ben needs you, he’s been in a car accident”!
Jalen’s thoughts never left his friend Ben as he turned slowly down each lighted street and as the hospital doors swung open, he hoped he wasn’t too late.
He said, “My name is Jalen Bush, I’m here to see Ben Smith”. The nurse said, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you, he’s been patiently waiting to see you, he is in room 111”.
Jalen tip-toed into the room and looked at Ben laying there quiet and still, all the color drained from his face, Ben opened those blue eyes and the green sparkles started dancing when he saw Jalen! The next thing Jalen heard was, “Jalen tell me about Jesus once again”!
Patches of light floated in and out of Jalens windshield as he drove slowly down the familiar streets of Jackson on that late Christmas Eve. His thoughts turned to his mom; he knew she would be walking the floors waiting for him to arrive home. Christmas lights hung from every door, Santa waved from every lawn, the thoughts of the Christ Child paraded around in Jalens brain as he thought about the virgin birth and the redemption plan of salvation. His heart beat slower and he could feel his mind began to rest as he thought about Jalen and those streets of gold!
What happened there in room 111 is the perfect plan of salvation, “The Redemption Story”!
Had Ben been saved? The answer is yes, Ben had been saved from an eternal life in Hell. With Ben’s last ounce of strength, he had said, “Lord Jesus please comes into my heart: Then Ben squeezed Jalens hand and an eternal smile stayed on his lips as he took his last breath!
©MARY ALICE BUSH BOWLES