(Grace and her daddy relaxing tonight)
She thought it over. Then she switched topics a little. "Remember that the man got his ear cut off and God healed him?" she asked. She was talking about Peter cutting off the guard's ear and Jesus healing him, right before the crucifixion.
"That's called a miracle," I told her. "Sometimes when Jesus touches us and heals us right away it's called a miracle. Other times Jesus hugs us and holds us tight for when it takes a while for us to heal." She was satisfied with that.
She's always liked the "Jesus dying on the cross" story the best in the Bible. She has several children's Bibles, and in every version she goes to that story first. Every now and then Samson gets a turn, but almost always it's the crucifixion.
It's my least favorite story in the Bible, even when it's tamed for kids. I hate the suffering and death. I hate to think of Jesus abandoned and alone. I always rush through it.
I asked Grace why she likes it best. She said, "the guards didn't like Jesus so they killed him. But he came back to life." It's good overcoming evil, the ultimate drama, even if the storyline is a little skewed in her memory of it.
I've always been so afraid of death that I hate even reading that word to her, even when it's in the Bible. I tried for a long time to say "hurt very badly," instead of the word death or die. I wanted to shield her from the concept, even when it was just bugs, or zombies, or the son of God.
But Grace is right. Not only about Jesus on the cross being the best story, but that because of the Jesus on the cross story she doesn't have to be afraid of death. She's drawn to that story because she has more faith in God than I probably do. The promise of life is as real to her as the other stories. She hasn't any reason to be afraid of it...granted she doesn't understand it completely, but her understanding is probably all that any of us need. Her faith is probably all that any of us need too.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.