Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: A Lesson Learned
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Outside her kitchen window a wooden fence marks the end of the side yard. Beyond it a trio of little heads bob above the bank where a trickling, shallow creek meanders the length of the pasture.
Today has turned prematurely warm. Late April breezes wafting through the open window smell almost like summer.
Pasture grasses seems to turn green right before her eyes. A few dandelions join in to celebrate spring’s arrival, bursting into mum-like, mustard-colored blooms.
She methodically scrapes macaroni and cheese from a plate and then stacks it neatly on end in the dishwasher before picking up another. Between dishes she repeatedly checks on her children.
Actually, she longs to return to childlikeness herself.
While methodically rinsing cups and silverware, one small head pops up above the others. Todd, the youngest, slowly climbs above his siblings who choose to remain stationed in the shallow water.
Eventually he appears on the creek bank with pencil-like legs topped with red hand-me-down shorts, an old ragged t-shirt, and a tousled head of white-blonde hair that reflects the brilliance of the sun.
She pauses, wondering at his inquisitive nature.
He bends down briefly and then begins to run toward the house. His bare feet pound like hammers to flatten fragile grassy shoots rooted in earth recently softened by rain.
Soon he batters the kitchen door with little fists, wailing all the while. She quickly wipes her hands on the checkered dishtowel hanging from the old hand-hewn beam before opening the door.
“Toddy – what’s the matter, honey?”
The little boy leaps into her embrace; his rapid butterfly-heart pulses against her arm.
“I – I picked this for you – but – but the stem – it broke.”
He holds up a love offering: a dandelion bloom in all its glory.
“Thank you Todd – it’s beautiful! Come here, honey – let’s get a little glass of water for each of you.”
Todd shudders. His sobs diminish, and he gulps the cold well water. She carefully deposits the bent stem with its heavy head in another glass.
“Look, maybe it will still take a drink. Let’s pray for it, okay?”
Through eyes still holding tears, Todd gazes deeply into her eyes. “Will it work? Will it get better?”
She pauses to quickly look out the window. The other children are still happily at play, so she crouches back down next to the deflated little one at her feet.
“We can pray, Todd, and then it is up to God.”
She watches as fingers decorated with dirt-stuffed nails clasp reverently. He squeezes his eyes tight, forcing the last of the tears down his dirt-stained cheeks. He bows his head and waits.
She gathers herself with a quick internal prayer. Then she, too, bows her head.
“Lord, Todd is feeling sad because his special flower is sick. We’ve done all we know to do for it – and now we ask You to make it well. We know You will do whatever is best. Thank you. Amen.”
Very early the next morning she hears Todd’s little feet plop-plop down the stairs. She waits curiously, snug in her own bed.
His sweet voice soon rises up the stairwell.
“Mama! Mama! The flower! It’s all better!”
She hops from between the sheets and hurries down to the kitchen to see for herself. There, a very straight dandelion stem proudly holds its bloom - the bright sunshiny glory of a son’s love – like a glorious flag of redemption.
“Honey, look! The Lord answered! That’s awesome!”
Todd dances around the old oak table where his flower stands prominently in the center.
“Mama! How did God do that? Why did He do that?”
Seizing this as a teachable moment, she stops his dance, holds his shoulders, and gazes directly into his bottomless eyes.
“God did it because that’s the kind of God He is. He takes care of His creation. He listens to us and answers. He likes us to trust Him to do what is right. And this time - well - He decided to heal your flower - and your sadness. He’s the only One who could have done that, in just that way.”
Todd stares at the restored dandelion. “So, Mama, you mean – you mean God came and fixed my flower? Himself? God was here?”
“Yes Honey – and He is even here right now.” Her eyes glisten, knowing Todd is learning to trust a God who performs supernatural rescues.
“I love Him, Mama.”
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