Alexander raised his hand, a puzzled look on his face. “But doesn’t the Bible say Satan has angels, too? What do they do?”
“Alexander, you are an excellent thinker. Next week we’ll read what God says about Satan and his angels. I think we’ll find out that they aren’t as strong as God’s angels, and absolutely not as strong as Jesus.”
That’s how the class had ended the week before. Nannygranne knew that talking about evil in the world required a delicate balance for children. The reality of evil needed to be addressed. Today’s electronic world is filled with dark unlocked doors. Sadly, too many children know evil intimately and are among us with their sad secrets. This class and these children had been bathed by her prayers all week. She whispered one more time: “Father, surround us all this morning as we hide behind your mantel of grace and dare to shine your light on evil.”
“Good morning, sweet friends,” Nannygranne greeted. “Who remembers what we’re going to talk about today?”
As the children took their seats, they looked at each other. One hand raised, then all raised.
“Angels, Nannygranne! Wike those pictures!” Benjamin pointed out the pages from last week’s lesson now arranged on a bulletin board.
“Not all those,” corrected Emma. “Just that one without wings.”
“I thought we were going to talk about the devil’s angels,” reminded Alexander. With that comment, the class grew quiet.
“Yes, Jesus tells us about the devil’s angels.” Nannygranne began. “I need a reader. Alexander, why don’t you be first this morning. You’re a good thinker, and you can tell us what’s going to happen to the devil’s angels.”
Alexander came forward.
“Then the king will say to the evil people on his left, ‘Get away from me. God has already decided that you will be punished. Go into the fire that burns forever—the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
“Thank you, Alexander. Boys and girls, where do you think the place is that has a fire that burns forever?”
The children were quiet, looking at each other, not knowing what to say.
Finally, Emma raised her hand. “Isn’t that what Hell is like?” she ventured.
“Yes, Emma, that’s what Jesus said. And He said we should do whatever it takes to stay close to Him, because getting away from Jesus puts us where Satan is.” Then: “Did anyone notice who Jesus said Hell was made for?” Matt 5:22, 18:9; Mk 9:43-47
No hands went up.
“Alex, come back and let’s look at your verse again.”
Alexander came forward and took the Bible into his hands. Nannygranne pointed to the last half of the verse. He read, “…the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.”
“Alexander, who does Jesus say Hell was made for?”
Alexander looked at the verse again. “”or the devil and his angels.” He looked at his teacher, hesitated, then continued, “So the devil does have angels but God’s going to send them to hell?”
“Alex, you read it right from God’s word. That’s exactly what Jesus said.”
“But what can they do to us?” Alex’s eyes told her this was a genuine concern of his.
“Alex, do you remember how we learned that God’s real angels could be very different from the made-up ones on TV or storybooks?”
Alex nodded his head.
Nannygranne continued, “It’s the same with the devil’s angels. Sometimes they’re called demons or evil spirits. But they ALWAYS lose in the end.”
She indicated Alex could return to his seat.
“Class, Jesus gave us many stories about the devil and his angels. I read them this week, and I would like to tell you about something that happened one day. The disciples saw it and Matthew wrote down what happened. Let’s all go over to the corner and anyone can grab a quilt or pillow out of the tub if you want. I can hardly wait to tell you what happened!”
As the students relocated, it seemed apparently that Alex was struggling with the unseen world. Nannygranne decided to pray for an opportunity to spend some time talking with him. God may be dealing with this another way, but she felt Alex needed some answers now.
When everyone was settled, Nannygranne began. “Well, it all started when Jesus was worn out from working all day. He needed to get away from the crowd. Jesus told His disciples to go in the boats to the other side of the lake and He’d come later. They left a boat for Him and set sail. Jesus went up on the mountain to spend time with His Father. But a storm was brewing. He could see the lightning off in the distance. He thought about his friends out on the lake in the boat….”
(to be continued next week)