“Who would like to say a prayer in class this morning?” Nannygranne loved watching little hands fold and curly heads bow. Little Roxie raised her hand. “Roxie, thank you for being a leader helper.”
Roxie’s little cherub eyes squeezed tightly closed as she spoke to the Father she knew loved her. “Dear God, thank you for Mommies and Daddies and our toys and our friends. Please keep us safe….” She paused then as if wondering if she should continue. Deciding now was the time, she went on. “And God, I think Satan’s giving me bad dreams. Would you make him stop, please? Amen.”
Nannygranne looked up, smiling to mask her concern. Roxie’s expression was wide-eyed, unsure if she’d done okay. “Roxie, thank you for your prayer. I think God knew you were going to ask Him about that because the lesson He’s given us today is about a little boy who had a strange dream. His name was Samuel.”
Jumping in his seat, waving his hand frantically, Lane announced, “I know Samuel! His mommy let him live at God’s house and brought him a new coat every year!”
“That’s right, Lane. Samuel’s mommy begged God for a little boy. She promised God that she would make sure Samuel would be a godly man. She loved Samuel very much, and she loved God very much.”
“Who took care of Samuel, Nannygranne? Wasn’t he scared to live at God’s house without his mommy? Did he wake up crying when he had his dream?” Roxie needed to know about the little boy who had strange dreams like her.
“Well, Roxie, one of God’s good helpers took care of Samuel and taught him all about God. His name was Eli.”
“I have a friend named Eli, too!” chirped Sam.
Nannygranne reined them in. “Are you all ready to hear about Samuel’s strange dream?”
To cheers of yes, Nannygranne whispered, “Okay. Sam, you bring my flashlight. Lane, you turn out the light. Let’s all go to the story corner, and I’ll tell you all about little boy Samuel’s dream.” The children all gathered around in hushed excitement.
Nannygranne related Samuel’s dreams, sent from God, giving him bad news about what was going to happen to Eli because Eli had not done what God had told him to.1
With the lights back on and little ones returned to their chairs, Nannygranne gave each a blank sheet of paper and asked them to draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. As they worked, she gave them cues, helping them recount the call of Samuel.
Soon, Roxie asked, “If my dreams are really scary, then did the devil give them to me?”
“Well, Roxie, I’ve wondered about that, too. But I read all of God’s Bible…”
“The WHOLE THING?!” gasped Sam.
“Well, I’ve been reading it for a long time, so yes, the whole thing,” Nannygranne assured him. “And you know, there isn’t one story that I ever saw that says Satan knows how to give anyone bad dreams. Only God gave dreams to His people to help them or teach them. So I don’t think Satan is that smart.”2
“Then why does God let me have bad dreams?” Roxie continued.
“Well, let’s think about something. Did any of you fall down when you were learning to walk?”
“I did! See? I have a band-aid on my knee and one on my elbow.”
“I knocked a tooth out when I was little and fell down,” said Amelia pointing to a gap in her front teeth. “But Mommy said I’ll get a bigger one in there one day.”
Nannygranne held up her hand.”That’s right. When we learn to ride a bicycle, we’ll fall, but we just keep trying until we can ride. When we’re little, our brains are learning to think and make decisions and understand things. Sometimes, having a bad dream is just our brain falling down. When we wake up, and Mommy hugs us, it’s like putting a band-aid on our hurt feelings. Does that make sense?”
“You mean our brains make our dreams?” Roxie seemed puzzled.
“Yes, Roxie. In fact, I learned from brain doctors that the bad dreams will probably stop when your brain grows up.2 God helps you by giving you Mommy to hug you. And I think God would tell you that He sees you dreaming and wakes you up to make them go away, so He’s taking care of you, too.”
Roxie smiled then, bobbing her head in determination. “Then when I wake up, I’ll tell God thank you for making my dream go away.”
“I think that your brain is growing up already, Roxie.”
Just then, the bell rang, prompting the gathering of papers and lining up at the door, each receiving a hug from their teacher. “Remember little boy Samuel, boys and girls. God gave him a hard job to do, and he was brave. Will you all be brave for God?”
The cacophony of yeses gradually died down as they left with their parents. Nannygranne could hear Roxie’s little voice as she went down the hall. “Mommy! God sees my brain scaring me and wakes me up so you can give me a band-aid!”
Her mom turned to give Nannygranne a puzzled look. Nannygranne motioned she’d call her to explain. Little ones keep us on our toes.
1 Story of Samuel’s call – I Samuel 3
2 Biblical perspective of night terrors and Satan https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/night-terrors-and-satanic-strongholds/
3 From a medical perspective: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/terrors.html https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/night-terrors https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-terrors/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353529