Later in the day, Nannygranne and Bella were quietly watching a movie when Bella turned to Nannygranne and asked, “Can I use your phone, and would you show me a concordance to use?”
Pleasantly surprised, Nannygranne took her phone and accessed the app MySword Bible. After showing Bella how to search for a specific word, she handed her the phone.
“What have you thought of?” Nannygranne asked.
“I want to know if it’s okay to get my ears pierced!”
Nannygranne, knowing Bella was serious, held back a laugh, wanting to encourage her pursuit. But she realized Bella would be learning another lesson about finding answers. “Have you asked your parents about getting your ears pierced?”
“They said I should wait until I started wearing makeup, and they don’t want me wearing makeup yet. I’m going to see what God says!” She was excited to think she could present her folks with scripture in her defense. Children aren’t the only ones prone to use that tactic.
Bella typed the word “pierced.” As she read the verses that popped up, she frowned. Then she searched for “ears pierced.” Her frown deepened.
“Let’s try another translation,” Nannygranne suggested. Switching to the New English Translation, she handed the phone back to Bella to try again.
This time she had a hit.
“Would you read it to me?” Nannygranne asked.
“Exodus 21:6: ‘Then his master must bring him to the judges, and he will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.’”
Bella frowned. “What’s an awl?”
“It’s kind of like an ice pick or a sharp tool.”
“Eeeeewwwww! But God doesn’t talk about girls getting their ears pierced. Now what?”
“Perhaps God is just going to leave that up to you. Maybe He’s taking care of other things. He does want you to live well, be wise, and…” Nannygranne paused, waiting for Bella to fill in the blank.
“Not get my ears pierced?” Bella said, crossing her arms with a pout.
“That’s not what I had in mind. Did you know there is only one command God gives to children in the whole Bible?”
Bella sat up. “There’s only one?!”
“Specifically for children, yes. Here, read it for yourself.” Nannygranne turned to Colossians 3:20.
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.” Bella resumed her disapproving posture. “In other words, I can’t get my ears pierced.”
“No, it did not say that. It said to obey your parents, and they said you could get your ears pierced, just not yet. Can you live with that for now?” Nannygranne smiled and leaned over, peering into the girl’s eyes.
Bella grudgingly said, “I guess I can.” Then: “How long do I have to obey my parents?”
“Well, everyone has to obey someone as long as they live. A wise and mature person understands that we, as the human family, need to cooperate as God teaches us or our world becomes an even more difficult place to live in.”
“Who do Daddy and Mama have to obey?” Bella countered.
Nannygranne leaned back as if to ready herself for the long list of powers. “Well, they have to give in to each other a lot of the time. Then they have bosses who have bosses. We elect people to keep our society in order. So, we are to obey the police, city council, county sheriff, highway patrol, state congressmen, the Governor…”
Nannygranne sighed, shifted in her seat, then continued her monologue: “… our doctors and judges in court. Then there is the U.S. Congress and even the President of the United States.”
Nannygranne stopped. Then, as Bella was about to speak, she continued on. “And when they were in college your parents had to obey their teachers and now they have to obey the school board at your school. We obey God and the leaders at church, our Bible class teachers…”2
“Okay! Okay! I see what you mean! We have to cooperate with leaders!” Bella laughed at Nannygranne, who was fanning herself and pretending she was catching her breath.
Finally, Nannygranne continued. “That’s why God wants you to obey your parents. You’re going to need a lot of practice at cooperating with those who lead you in life. No leader is perfect, and no parent is perfect, and neither you nor I am perfect. But God points us in the best way to live!” She grinned. “Cooperate and communicate! This life is a team sport!”
Nannygranne elbowed the girl who was now giggling “Always do your part, whatever that might be. Right now, it’s to obey your parents. Learn all you can about making good decisions. Ask God for wisdom. Live the truth when you find it. That’s what I’ve put in my heart and mind. And it feels good. How about you?”
Bella nodded. Then, looking down at the phone in her hand, she searched for the word “cuss.”
Nannygranne shook her head, smiling, realizing the movie had ended. Then she thanked God that Bella’s search for truth had not.
Bella frowned and handed the phone back to Nannygranne, saying only, “Help.”
1 Benefit of cooperating with leaders: Col 3:22
2 Necessity of working hard at learning God’s ways and will: Matt 22:29; Mk 12:24; Jno. 5:39; 2 Tim 2:15