On Tuesday, December 11, Jonathan gave his heart and life to Christ!!
A few weeks ago, he pulled out his wordless book bracelet that he got from VBS and asked me what all the colors stood for.
I explained to him that black is for sin. He has a black stain on his heart because he does bad things. I asked him if he ever did bad things. At first he said no, but I pointed out that he had just moments before not obeyed me, and earlier in the day he had hit his brother, so he had to reluctantly admit that yes, he does do bad things. I said, "The bad things you do are called 'sin' and sin leaves a black stain on your heart. You have a black stain on your heart."
He pulled up his shirt and looked at his tummy, "Black? I don't see it..." he searched innocently. Giving up on THAT quandary, we went on.
We learned that the next color, red, represents the blood of Jesus. Jonathan knows the story about how Jesus came to earth as a baby and grew up and died on the cross, shedding His blood. I explained that the reason Jesus shed His blood was so He could wash clean the black stain on Jonathan's heart. I said Jonathan couldn't wash it clean, Mommy couldn't wash it clean, Daddy couldn't wash it clean, nobody else could wash it clean. Only Jesus.
Our wordless book bracelet has blue after red. I didn't have that in my wordless book when I was a little girl. But blue stands for faith. When we believe in faith that Jesus' blood can wash the black stain off our heart, He makes our heart (moving on to the next color), white as snow.
Jonathan was pretty excited about that part. He wanted to have a heart white as snow. Then, because he's four and has a short attention span, we touched quickly on green (growing in Christ), and yellow (heaven).
I reminded Jonathan that he had a black stain on his heart and I asked him if he wanted Jesus to wash it clean.
He slowly and solemnly shook his head, wordlessly returned the bracelet to its home, and walked away to play.
Jeff and I let our held breath out and shrugged. We knew he got the message.
So. Then this past Tuesday, as we drove home from school, James was in trouble for something, which already eludes me (yay for grace). In the midst of my little sermon I was preaching about it, I paused for a breath. That's when I heard, quietly, from the backseat, "Yep. We all have a black scrape on our heart."
I jumped on it. "What did you say, Jonathan?"
"We all have a black scrape on our heart."
"And how did it get there?"
"When we do bad things."
"Is there anything that can wash it clean?"
"Jonathan, you have a black scrape on your heart, don't you?"
"Would you like Jesus to wash it clean?"
"Jonathan, what would Jesus use to wash your black scrape clean?"
"When did He shed His blood for you?"
"Ummmm...I can't remember."
I reminded him of the Baby Jesus in our manger scene at home and we talked about how that baby was really God, and He came to earth just so He could wash Jonathan clean. I told him everyone has a black scrape on their heart, and they are supposed to die as their punishment. I told Jonathan HE was supposed to die as his punishment for having a black stain. (He understands death because his favorite horse at Grandma's house died recently.) But I explained to Jonathan that if he died, it would make God so sad and it would break God's heart.
I asked him, "Jonathan, do you know why it would break God's heart if you died?"
"Because He LOVES you."
"Yep. He loves you very much. He loves you so much that He did something so you would never have to die."
"HE died FOR you."
Jonathan, tracking right along, replied, "And He bleeded?"
"To take away my black scrape?"
I tried again, "Jonathan, do you want Jesus to wash the black scrape off your heart with His blood?"
I very nearly pulled over on the side of the road, but we were just a couple of minutes from the house and I knew Jeff would want to be in on this. So we rushed home, and then Jonathan, Jeff and I went into our bedroom and sat on the bed. It reminded me so much of sitting on my parents' bed (staring at their quilt pattern) while I asked Jesus to make me clean when I was four years old. I'll never forget my dad kneeling on the floor next to the bed and praying that prayer with me. Well, of course I'll never forget it. It changed my life.
So I quizzed Jonathan again about his black scrape, how to get rid of it, God's love, Jesus' blood, etc. Jeff added, "Can I wash your heart clean?" Jonathan shook his head emphatically. "Can Mommy wash it clean?" Another head shake. Jeff leaned in a little: "Jonathan, can YOU wash your heart clean?"
Jonathan said, "Nooooooooooooo. Only Jesus."
Then Jeff and Jonathan and I all joined hands, and Jeff prayed a very simple prayer, which Jonathan repeated. He told Jesus he wanted Him to be his boss, and he wanted to obey Jesus for the rest of his life. And he asked Jesus to make him clean.
And Jesus did.
And there was great rejoicing in heaven!!!! And in Laurel. :-)