Stories for Children
(Based on the Bible)
By Kathleen Donavan
Chapter Three - The Serpent "Sells" Death
Mom was frightened for Tim because a child from Tim's school had been taken by emergency helicopter to a large hospital in the city. The girl's heart stopped because she was breathing some harmful substance from a paper bag while going to school this morning. Mom was horrified to think of something like this happening to Tim or Linda. She knew that her children were seeing other children doing harmful things to themselves at times.
Linda and Tim had just got off the afternoon bus and they were both running up the walk to the porch where Mom was watering her Begonias.
Tim ran past her into the house and Linda came up the steps saying, "Ashley, is in the hospital, Mom, the bus driver had to stop the bus and go into a house to call the ambulance." She rushed on, hardly stopping to breathe, "We thought she was dead because she fell out of the seat into the aisle. Then everybody started yelling, and all that, and Mr. Perryman stopped the bus. He told everybody to leave her alone and he ran off the bus and went into Mrs. Birchfield's house yelling, 'call 911', then we waited and waited for a long time and most everybody was crying. We thought she was dead, Mom!"
"I know about it, Honey, and I'm very sorry that she is hurt so badly," Mom said sadly as she hugged Linda close to her.
They went inside and sat at the table with Tim who was drinking a glass of milk. Tim looked up and said, "I was afraid that something like this would happen to somebody. I just can't understand why Ashley would do that to herself."
"Me either," Linda said, remembering Ashley's golden hair cascading over the back of the seat in front of Linda that morning.
"Tim and Linda, it's very important that you don't accept information about chemical substances just because somebody tells you it's okay to use it. This type of carelessness leads to terrible consequences."
"I know that, Mom, because we have talked about it, we got certificates from the DARE program, and I had a 4-H project about illegal drugs two years ago." Tim explained. "I just don't understand how Ashley forgot what she learned in DARE the same time I did."
"Well, its because we start believing lies," Mom said. "Do you know where lying began?" and she continued, as she reached for her bible and opened it to Genesis 3:1, and read; "The serpent was more crafty than any wild animal that the Lord God made," and she added, "notice that the serpent was crafty in asking questions that he would get a ‘yes' answer to the part of the question that he emphasized. If he could get her started answering ‘Yes', then she would likely continue responding with a positive attitude to the things he suggested. That's the way the serpent, who was really Satan masquerading as something else, got to Eve to deceive her".
Satan asked Eve, "Did God tell you that you should not eat of every tree in the garden"?
"We may eat of the trees in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, neither shall we touch it, or we shall die."
And the serpent said to the woman," You shall not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of the tree that your eyes will be opened and you shall be as gods; knowing good from evil."
Mom said, "How do you think Eve answered the serpent?"
"I think Eve said, ‘all the Lord wants is one little tree for himself in the whole garden', ‘cause she already had plenty", Linda said.
"She ought to have been afraid to take a chance on dying," Tim said.
Mom continued speaking, "This is somewhat the same way anyone can be tricked into accepting a lie as the truth. The person tempting others to try harmful or deadly things will play on their ignorance, telling the person being duped by them that this is the best thing they have ever tried. They will tell you that the substance will cause you to learn faster, swim longer, or gain more friends than you have ever known before. If you tell them about the education you have received from your parents or from other places that do not back up their story they will tell you that you are not "cool" that you are a coward or they will call you an insulting name."
"Remember, Mom said, that Eve probably did not recognize Satan for who he was. He was masquerading as the serpent; nor did she understand the penalty for her disobedience, because she had never seen any creature die. She had always lived in the perfect environment with every need met. What did she know of adversity? But I will show you later that Satan hated her and wanted to destroy her. He was not at all ignorant of what he was trying to cause her to do."
She read on for awhile and stopped to ask them what Eve learned from her experience with Satan.
Tim, the family list maker, started writing the things he and Linda could think of that Eve might have learned. Some of the things they though of are:
"In the year 2000 we still have a problem of knowing how to make choices that are good for us. The old serpent, Satan, is going back and forth throughout the earth like a warring lion, viciously seeking someone to believe his lies against the Creator God because knows he can keep those who are loved by Jesus Christ from seeking a better life. He wants to see us destroyed and he knows that drugs and alcohol are a good way to further his goals.(First Peter 5:8)
"Even with the help of the many facilities staffed with excellent doctors and councilors, plus the love and support of families and friends, nobody ever totally recovers from the effects of some of these substances and the harm done by getting suckered into believing the lies of Satan." Mom instructed.
"Well, how can we make the right choice every time, Mom," Tim asked.
"We never regulate our lives to the extent that every choice we make is always the very best choice, but we can choose to begin to make choices anytime that are within God's will for us. Each of us can seek the Lord God's will in our lives by asking Him to guide us. He said that he would never forsake us. Then, the things He shows us through His spirit teaching our spirit, can be put into use and practiced until seeking His will for us is almost automatic. We develop this faith in Him by seeing Him answer prayers and work out things in our lives that we cannot work out for ourselves.
"We should first study the bible for guidance and also become educated about the things we must deal with that are around us. A rocket could not be sent to orbit the earth without the education of everyone involved, could it, or how could I bake an peach pie if I don't know what a peach is? The privilege of living life comes with a lot of responsibility and we strive to live it best, with ability God will give us, if we obey Him and ask for His help."
"Mom", Tim asked, "What can a person already in trouble with drugs do?"
"It is possible to turn and go the other way once a person is addicted, but it is very hard to turn around and make right choices once there is a fast habit of choosing wrongly. Sometimes one may know that they are being harmed but not have the will power and the help they need to correct the problem, so they just stay in the bad shape they are in and get worse because the addiction is like being imprisoned physiologically and psychologically too. Neither their mind, nor their body, can break out of the addition. What must be done at this point is to go to God in prayer, repentant of one's sins, and ask for His forgiveness and His guidance. By turning one's life over to God is the only sure way of breaking free of this sort of thing. After giving one's self to God, one can then go with assurance to one's doctor and ask for help. Other medical facilities are available, also. The last article I read on this stated that severe addicts only have a recovery rate of 50% the first time they are in rehabilitative service. Sometimes it takes several tries. If a person wants information about drugs they can call any city hall and ask what educational programs, like DARE, are available. Other possibilities are school counselors, church youth counselors, or they can ask their own parents to obtain educational material for them. But the most important thing to do is to believe and trust in God and that He will lead one in the right direction."
"Mom said, sometimes a child is like Eve in the garden. She knew that she had not listened to the parent who loved her very much, so she ‘hid' from Him. You must never hide any problem you have from me or your Dad, because we totally adore you even if you have made wrong choices. We will be angry that you are hurting but we will always be ready to help in any way we possibly can. Do you understand what I am telling you?"
"So just come to you no matter what?" Tim asked.
Mom smiled and started singing the song, "You've Got It."
Linda jumped up and started dancing around, pulling Mom from her chair, to get into the dancing thing with her.
"You're both crazy" Tim said, but his little grin was evidence that he really liked their ‘routine'.
Soon Tim helped them finish the song and he looked expectantly toward his Mom and she knew that he was not ready to end their talk.
"But what if someone's parent might make a lot of wrong choices and what if they cannot teach that child to make right choices?" Tim wondered.
"Any person, child or adult, may ask any question or express any concern to God in prayer. The only important thing is being honest about how you feel and what you are thinking at the moments you are speaking to the Heavenly Father. Things will work out so the things needed will be available. Just remember to expect help to be sent to you, and be ready to accept the help that is sent.
"How can we know when God sends help?" Linda asked.
"First, don't think that God is limited to just things you understand, nor must you think because you understand something well, that God will not use a familiar thing or someone you already know to give you help. Sometimes, God helps us for awhile before we realize that we must have been helped, because the problem, for which we asked help, has diminished or has totally gone away. "I have witnessed prayers answered instantly many times, but many more times I have realized after a problem was solved that God had intervened for me.
The phone rang and Tim rushed to answer it. In a few minutes he came back smiling and told them that Ashley is out of intensive care and in a private room.
"She will be allowed visitors tomorrow, Mom, will you take us?"
"I'll try to talk with her family and see if she really feels like having company, and if it's all right, I don't see why we shouldn't go there to wish her well."
"I'll pick some roses to take when we visit," Linda said.
"Maybe she likes puzzles," Tim added.
Two days later, they visited Ashley, and she was sitting up in bed.
Linda didn't mention it, but she was concerned that Ashley was not as pretty as she was each day when she got on the bus. She looked tired, and she had dark black circles beneath her eyes.
Ashley told them about the breathing treatments she was being given several times a day and she said that her heart had been damaged.
"I hope I will be able to run track again, but the doctor said not to try this year. There are several things that I can't do now, but I am happy just to have made it to the hospital in time to save my life."
Tim encouraged her the best he could but he doubted that things would ever return to normal again. He remembered how dead she had looked on the bus and shuttered at the thought of it!
As they were leaving, Ashley thanked them again for the apricot colored roses and the games.
They rode home in silence except for a few very necessary words.
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