WHY TIME with NannyGranne

What About the Jungle Natives? Pt 3

The students filed into the classroom and quickly settled into their chairs.  After the opening prayer, Nannygranne began the conversation.  “Where are we starting this morning, class?”

Lydia raised her hand, speaking, “We are supposed to talk about whether it’s not fair for people who never hear about Jesus to go to hell.”

“Thank you, Lydia.  Let’s get right to it.” Smiling, Nannygranne turned to the chalkboard and made notes as she spoke.  “Let’s begin with things we know are certain.  We know that God loves the whole world,  Jesus died for the whole world, and Jesus said to go into the whole world and help people know Him because He is the world’s only Savior.  Does everyone understand these four truths so far?” 1

Heads nodded around the room, so their teacher continued.  “We have to remember that God does not answer every question we might ask, but He is God and we are not so we should trust Him.  But God maybe leaves us clues about how He’s going to handle people who don’t know better.”

She wrote  Corinthians 3:13-15 on the board.  “I’d like you all to find this verse so we can read it together.  The Apostle Paul is writing to Christians in the town of Corinth.  Some of them aren’t living their Christian lives carefully.  He tells them that when Jesus returns, some of them will be barely saved.  Others will receive a reward for the better lives they lived.  Who will read the verse for us?

Danny called out, “I will.”  “Their work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”2

“Thank you, Danny.”  Then she wrote Luke 12:47-48 on the board as she explained, “Now in this passage, we’ll read what Jesus says about people much like our Jungle friends.  Some will know what the right thing is to do and won’t do it.  Others will do wrong things because they don’t know the right things to do.  Jesus explained that those people wouldn’t receive the same punishment as much as those who knew better.  Who will read Luke 12:47-48?”  

            This time Julie raised her hand.  “That servant knew what his master wanted him to do. But he did not make himself ready or try to do what his master wanted. So that servant will be punished very much! But what about the servant who does not know what his master wants? He also does things that deserve punishment. But he will get less punishment than the servant who knew what he should do.”3

“Class, look at those verse sagain.  What do you think God will do about people who aren’t obedient to Him?”

Libby spoke cautiously, “Does that mean that if people don’t know what God wants them to do, then they won’t be punished as much in hell as people who know better?”

Nannygranne looked around the room.  “What do you think?  Who agrees with Libby?”

Typical of tweens, students glanced around the room, wondering what the response would be.  Gradually every hand raised in agreement.  

“Well, this is one of those biblical teachings that isn’t as obvious as God’s love but, Libby, I agree with you, too.  The two passages we’ve looked at seem to hint that there may be extra blessings in Heaven for some and extra punishment in hell for some.  But only God can decide about those matters.”  

Nannygranne took a seat at her desk, turned the pages of her Bible, and read, “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” and that “When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a free gift—eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” She concluded her reading with Jesus’ final directive: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Libby raised her hand hesitantly, seeming to doubt whether or not she should speak.  “Nannygranne, if they won’t get punished very much if they don’t know better, wouldn’t it be better just to leave them alone?”

Nannygranne had expected this line of reasoning and would have asked the question if Libby hadn’t.  “Libby, your thought is very logical from our point of view.  Would you mind if we take a minute and look at that question from God’s point of view?”

Libby’s head nodded slightly, but her expression was curious.      

“We’ve been asking if God is fair today knowing He must be because He is God. We’ve also read some clues as to how His fairness might look.  But if we just left the lost alone, are we being fair?” 

She waited and looked at the faces focused on hers. Then she rose and erased the blackboard to start another list. She wrote “IS IT FAIR?” followed by “#1-IS IT FAIR THAT GOD LOVES THEM , LOVES THEM SO MUCH HE LET JESUS DIE FOR THEM?”  She turned to the class. “How would you feel if you were a parent and someone decided to stop looking for your lost child?”  

She resume writing on the board. “#2 – IS IT FAIR FOR THEM NEVER TO KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A CHILD OF GOD?”  “You know, boys and girls, becoming a Christian is not meant to be fire insurance for hell.  Being a part of God’s Kingdom right now, having the Holy Spirit live in us, being part of the family of the Creator of the Universe, gets more and more amazing the longer we know Jesus.  Is it fair for them to miss out on that?”

Then she wrote: “#3 – IF WE KNOW THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND REFUSE TO  DO IT, WHAT WOULD BE FAIR FOR GOD TO DO ABOUT US?” Each of us can answer this question for himself or herself.” 

Returning to her desk, she closed her Bible, folded her hands, and asked, “What are we all thinking now?”

Concluded next week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Plain Truths of God: Love, sacrifice, go:  John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:15; Luke 19:10;  Acts 4:12; Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23;  Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8

2  Differing rewards in Heaven: 1 Cor 3:13-15; Matt 5:11-12; Matthew 10:41-42;  Luke 6:23, 35;  1 Cor. 3:8; 

 Levels of punishment in hell:  Matt 10:14-15;  Matt 11:21-24;  Luke 12:47-48; Rev. 18:6

 Salvation is a gift.  Actions are a response to the gift. (i.e belief, repentence, confession, and baptism are like endorsing a check for “salvation”; such actions do not earn the gift…but rather accept the gift.  Without endorsement, the gift is unaccepted). Rom 3:23; Luke 17:10; Rom 6:23; Rom 5:15-18;  Rom 11:29; 2 Cor 9:15; Eph 2:8;  Heb 6:4;  Rom 6:1-8;  Rom 10:9; Rom 2:4.

What About the Jungle Natives? Pt 2

Tween with Bible.jpg

Nannygranne breathed a prayer of thanks when all of last week’s students returned this morning.  She’d prayed each would return because last week’s question was so vital for these young people to understand.  Their trust in God could depend on their finding an answer. In the coming years, their beliefs about God would be ridiculed and dismissed as superstition.  They needed to know there were answers.

After welcomes, news, and praying for God’s wisdom and guidance, Nannygranne opened the class with, “Okay.  Where were we last week?”

“We want to know if Jungle Natives don’t hear about Jesus, will they be lost,”  Danny spoke up this time.  These kids had been thinking and talking about this.

“Excellent, Danny.   Who can tell me the three things we took home with us to remember from last week?”

“God loves them.”

“Jesus died for them.”

“And God will make a way!” interjected one boy who seldom spoke.

Nannygranne’s heart went out to them all.  God was answering her prayers. “That’s right, Jamie.  God will indeed make a way.  That’s what I want to talk to you about today.  God’s book for us is filled with story after story of God making a way for people to learn about Him and come to Him. Before I tell you, can any of you guess what some of those stories are?”

“When God was in a burning bush to get Moses’ attention,” said one.1

“When God talked to Abraham and told him to move away from home,” offered another.2

“When God told Noah to build an ark?  That saved him,” argued another.

When there were no other ideas, Nannygranne asked them all to turn to Acts 9. “Everybody look at Acts 9 and tell me who God called that day.”

Jamie slowly raised his hand, “Saul?”

“Very good, Jamie. Did you know that this guy’s name was changed after this because he was a changed man?  He changed from being a Christian killer to being the Apostle Paul.”4

“Whoa!  That’s who this is?”  Jamie was captivated.

“Alright, class.  Look at the 10th chapter.  Who does God call this time?”

Again there was silence, but eventually, Libby answered.  “Cornelius?”

“Right again.  Cornelius was the first non-Jew to be baptized.  He believed in God, but he didn’t know about Jesus.  God made a way, didn’t He.”

“Does God still do that today,” Libby asked.

“Well, Libby, only God knows for sure, but there are people who think Someone from God told them to look for Jesus.  All these then came to know Jesus by studying the Bible. They then decide whether or not to obey Him.  Those stories are rare and sometimes are told by people who had never met a Christian or seen a Bible before this happened.5  Then there are the people do the dangerous job of giving Bibles to people in dangerous countries, and they learn of Jesus through reading His word.  It seems that in various ways, God makes a way.”  

Before Nannygranne continued, she wanted to know what her students were thinking.  “After all of this, what are your thoughts now about the Jungle Natives?”

Her students looked at each other.  Libby spoke up.  “Well, it still makes me sad that some will never hear about Jesus and be saved.”

Nannygranne moved closer to Libby. “Libby, you are wise and loving.  Those are qualities God wants in His girls.”  

Loking at the rest of the class, Nannygranne said, “It looks like the question we haven’t yet answered is whether God is fair.  Is that what you want to know?”

Libby looked at her teacher with a somber expression.  “Nannygranne, I just think it’s too sad.  They don’t have a chance.”

“Libby, I’d like to show the class some of the hints God has given us about this very thing.  We know God must be loving and fair.  We also know He demands justice but is merciful.  Can we talk about that next week?  Will all of you try to come back so we can get to the bottom of this?”

The class nodded, eager for their next meeting.

“I think this is something that needs our prayers.  Jamie, would you ask God to give us wisdom and knowledge and the answer to our question?”

Each head in the class somberly bowed as Jamie prayed for God’s guidance. 

Nannygranne would be praying even more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Burning Bush – Exodus 3

2The calling of Abraham – Genesis 12

The calling of Noah – Genesis 6

4  Saul becomes Paul – Acts 13:9

Muslim becomes a Christian https://youtu.be/Ry8K4sK3uDc

  Hindu finds Christhttps://youtu.be/lDSOnaMeG70

  Mormon learns the truth from Bible https://youtu.be/UcBSXWSagIQ

God, What About the Jungle Natives? Pt 1

Tweens 2.jpg

Teaching pre-teens in Bible class brings with it the greatest of joys and the greatest of challenges.  Nannygranne cherished them both.  It is at this age that young hearts often turn to God for life’s answers.  This age also births more profound questions.  Today was no exception.

The day’s memory verse was John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

“Great job, friends!”  Nannygranne was pleased with their memory work.  “The Holy Spirit will remind you of this verse over and over in your life.  Having it deep in your heart makes it a treasure for you, and  I’m happy that you have that treasure.  My scripture treasures have helped me over and over through the years.  

Libby’s expression was one of sad concern.  She raised her hand and said, “Nannygranne, if Jesus is the only way to be saved, what about the Jungle natives or other people who have never heard about Jesus?”

Nannygranne immediately recognized the tender spirit behind the question.  Libby recognized the vast disconnect between what Jesus required and what is happening all over the world.  “Libby, I really appreciate your bringing that up.  We’ve all seen videos of the many people in some countries who are poor, isolated, without education, and can’t read.  In fact, 774 million adults in the world cannot read.  Another shocking fact is that there are 52 countries where owning a Bible can get you into trouble or even cost your life.”2   She turned and wrote some countries’ names on the chalkboard:  North Korea, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria.  As she wrote, she continued, “Could someone tell me how you think God feels about these people?”

After a period of silence, someone spoke up, saying, “Well, the Bible says God so loved the world that He gave His only beloved son.”

Another added, “Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Libby concluded, “God loves them, too, and wants them to know about Jesus.  But what if nobody ever goes and they never find out?”

“Any other thoughts or questions?”  Nannygranne encouraged

“It doesn’t seem fair for them to go to hell when they don’t even know there is a heaven.”

“Bingo!”  Nannygranne exclaimed.  “You all hit the last nail on the head.  It doesn’t seem fair to us.  It’s not what God wants.  It’s against God’s plan.  God loves those people, too!”

Nannygranne then sat down at her desk, folded her hands, and began, “You, yourselves, quoted God’s truths.  God loves the world so much.  We know, too, that He’s told us to tell everyone in the world.  And we know Jesus is the savior of the world, and that people must come to Him.   In the early days of Christianity, most people in the world did not know about Jesus coming to earth or His rising from the dead. God had been hinting to the Jews for many years that a Savior would come, but most didn’t understand.  God also told the Apostles that the non-Jews were to be brought to Jesus, too.  Let’s all turn to the book of Romans.

As students dutifully turned their Bible pages, some found the book on their phones. Nannygranne continued.  “This is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome.  They were not Jews.  Rome was a long way away from Jerusalem.  It looks like they were concerned, too, about their neighbors and others who did not even know about God the Creator, let alone learning about Jesus. 

Let’s read Romans 1:17-23.  Paul has just said that all kinds of people have helped him and that he wants to help the Romans reach their neighbors for Christ.  Then he says, “This Good News tells us that God makes us ready for Heaven—makes us right in God’s sight—when we put our faith and trust in Christ to save us. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scripture says it, ‘The man who finds life will find it through trusting God.’ But God shows his anger from Heaven against all sinful, evil men who push away the truth from them. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts. Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day. Yes, they knew about him all right, but they wouldn’t admit it or worship him or even thank him for all his daily care. And after a while, they began to think up silly ideas of what God was like and what he wanted them to do. The result was that their foolish minds became dark and confused. Claiming themselves to be wise without God, they became utter fools instead.  And then, instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they took wood and stone and made idols for themselves, carving them to look like mere birds and animals and snakes and puny  men.”

“Let’s look at verse 19, especially.  What does it say about people’s hearts?”  Nannygranne waited for a response.

Libby reread the words.  “God has put this knowledge in their hearts.”

“Thank you, Libby.  Now let’s look at the next verse.  Verse 20.  Who will read that and tell me what it seems to be saying.?”

After a couple of minutes, Danny raised his hand.  “That God shows He is there and that He is powerful through the earth and sky, all creation.”

“So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day.” Nannygranne finished.  “In other words, people all over the world through all time have known there is Someone out there.  Paul goes on to say that sometimes they would make come up with silly ideas about what God wants them to do, or would make idols out of something and then call it god, which shows what fools they are.”

“Okay, then they ought to know there is a God in Heaven.  I get that.  But what about hearing the Gospel of Christ?  They have to be taught about that.”  Libby wouldn’t be distracted.

“You are very right, Libby, and that’s our real question,” Nannygranne confirmed.

At that moment, the class bell rang.  As the students began gathering their things, Nannygranne announced, “We’re not stopping here, you guys.  There is an answer, and we’ll find that next week.  In the meantime, keep two things in mind:  God loves them just as much as He loves us.  And Jesus died for their sins just like He died for ours.  Then I want you to sing to yourself, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.  He works in ways we cannot see.  He will make a way for me.  He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side.  With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way.”   

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Illiteracy:  //www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-lowest-literacy-rates-in-the-world.html

2 Illegal Bibles:  https://lovepackages.org/bibles-dangerous-illegal-covert/

GOD, KAREN’S NOT BEING FAIR!

When Charlotte approached the car, Nannygranne could tell she was about to explode.  Her stormy expression said it all.  She yanked the car door open, threw her backpack in the floorboard, then flopped into the seat and huffed, “Karen’s NOT being fair!”  Struggling with her seatbelt, she continued to fume.  “I can’t believe she thinks she’s going to be the Pep Princess!  I’m as good as she is!”

Nannygranne quietly reached over to steady the seatbelt clamp until Charlotte’s belt buckled, and her rant blew itself out.  Nannygranne gave her time to say the next thing on her mind.  Suddenly Charlotte burst into tears.

Nannygranne stroked her hair and said softly,” It sounds like your day did NOT go as you’d planned.  How about we run by Sonic for a soft drink, and you can tell me about it before I take you home.” Charlotte blew her nose and nodded okay.  

Once they had their orders, Nannygranne waited expectantly.          

After a long silence, Charlotte was ready to talk. “Well, everybody’s been practicing cheers in cheerleading practice, and the teacher said she wanted us all to vote on our leader.  Everybody’s voted, but Karen’s telling everybody she’s the winner.  That’s not fair!  If she wins, I’m just going to quit!”

Nannygranne knew Charlotte’s attitude was not coming from a place of fairness, either, but she understood that, to Charlotte, this was a blow to her sense of justice.  “Did I ever tell you about the man I knew who felt somebody mistreated him on the job?  He was expected actually to help a neighborhood gang!  There’s nothing fair about that.”

Charlotte shook her head. “No, you never told me that story.”

“Well, this guy was told by his boss to travel to this town where the gangs killed people and controlled everything.  They were known for being dangerous murderers.  When he got the message, he decided to act like he’d never gotten it and took a sudden trip out of the country.  Well, it turned out to be a bad experience.  He got into trouble with the locals.   The guy ended up trapped and couldn’t get a ticket back home or use his money.  He was stuck in a bad place for three days.”

“No kidding,” Charlotte gasped.  “This really happened?”

“Yes, it really happened.  Anyway, my guy sent word back to his boss that he was sorry he didn’t get the job done and needed some help out of his mess.  The boss had connections, so he managed to get the guy out of his situation and back home.    The boss told him he only needed him to talk to a few people in the neighborhood:  Get the word out on the streets that he now owned that town, and their days were numbered.  Well, my guy figured he might as well do that and it would be finished.  It shouldn’t be too hard.  He’d do it, get the job done, and then get back out before everything hit the fan.”

“Did he get hurt?  Did he manage to stay safe?” 

“Well, when the gang leader heard who this guy represented, they backed down pretty quickly.  My guy was disappointed.  He wanted to see them get what was coming to them.  So rather than leave the area, he hid outside of town and waited to see what would happen.  But he was badly disappointed.  The gangs just gave it up and decided to cooperate with the boss.”

“That’s CRAZY!  When did this happen?  Who was the boss?”  Charlotte was invested and impatient for the end of the story.

“Well, there’s more to the story,” Nannygranne said, sidestepping Charlotte’s questions.  “Would you believe nothing happened!  My guy was so mad!  The boss asked him what the deal was, and my guy told him he didn’t understand how he could be so unfair.  Those gangs shouldn’t get away with all they’d done.  He thought the boss was soft and wishy-washy.  And another thing:  He hated that town!  He was ready to chuck it all and quit!”

“Good grief.  That guy had a temper.  His boss had helped him out of trouble and didn’t fire him when he disappeared.  And now he’s mad at the boss?  That’s crazy!”  Charlotte was beginning to see the point.

“I know.  Actually, the boss didn’t say a thing to his employee.  He just put him up in a comfortable Air B&B for a couple of days.  Well, my guy was so mad at the boss that he holed up there.  Then rather than go back to work, he decided he’d take some personal time and stay right where he was and wait for the boss to come around.  But after a few days, the Air B&B got rented to someone else, and my guy was out.  He slept in his car that night, and now he was fit to be tied.”

“But couldn’t he get fired for that?”

“Well, that’s where the story gets really strange.  The boss called him and asked him why he was so upset.  He reminded the guy that he’d had a couple of days in the Air B&B for free.  Also, the boss reminded him that the town was better off than it was before.  So what was his problem?”  

Nannygranne stopped. “The End.”

Charlotte waited, then finally said, “Well?  What ended up happening?”

“Nothing.  That was it.  But I was wondering who you think was being unfair in the story.”  Nannygranne stirred her malt and waited for Charlotte to answer.

Finally, Charlotte admitted she didn’t know for sure, but it seemed like the guy was the one being unfair.  It was the boss’s decision about the town.  And the boss bent over backward to help the guy, but the guy wasn’t even grateful.  “That’s a weird story,” Charlotte finished.  

“Well, I modernized the story quite a bit, but the guy’s name was Jonah, and God was the boss.  Nineveh was a wicked place.  They’d kill everyone in a city, cut their heads off, and stack them at the road into town.  These were bad characters.  Your situation at school brought that story to mind, though it’s an extreme example.   I wondered if it reminded you of your trouble with Karen.  Your teacher’s the boss.  Maybe Karen’s the one doing wrong stuff–just not as bad as Nineveh.  What do you think?”

After drinking the last of her cherry limeade, she finally asked, “Who was this guy, Nannygranne?  When did this happen?”

“Well, I’m glad the teacher didn’t tell me to talk to Karen, but I guess she’s not my problem. I guess the teacher will get everything straight. “

“That’s pretty perceptive of you, Charlotte.  Let your teacher be boss, and you do your part, and whatever happens, you will be just fine. Who knows? Maybe you’ve gotten the most votes.  But even if not, you’re still just as good as you are, and you can shine anyway.”  

Nannygranne hoped it would be that simple for Charlotte.  By the looks of her quiet smile, she felt Charlotte’s attitude had improved.

“Nannygranne, thanks.  I guess I did get a little too wound up about the whole thing.  And thanks for the limeade.”

Nannygranne laughed as she tucked her now-empty cup in the plastic bag used for garbage.  “You’re welcome.  Any excuse for ice cream works for me. I can’t wait to find out how the vote went, but mostly I can’t wait to see you girls at the game Friday night.  And I’m glad you didn’t decide to quit.”

WILL MY DOG GO TO HEAVEN?

As Nannygranne and young Mason settled at the patio table for lunch, Nannygranne reminded Mason of his question about his dog going to Heaven.  “You know, Mason, I had a dog named Penny when I was a little girl.  I was just about your age when I got her, and she lived until after I got married and moved away.  The only thing Penny ever did that she shouldn’t have done was to kill one of my daddy’s chickens.  It was a wonder Penny learned to leave the chickens alone after that, but she did.”  

Nannygranne took a sip of her tea and continued, almost as if to herself.  “What do you think Heaven’s going to be like?”

Mason forked the ice in his glass, watching it bob up and down.  “I don’t know.  I guess  people will be happy…and sing a lot.”

“Yeah.  And Jesus will be there. Boy!  Can you imagine Him looking at you and smiling?  And the Bible says there will be angels and other creatures.  Of course, all the champions of Faith will be there, too—the Apostles,  Kings of Israel, Moses, Abraham, and Noah!  It’s sure going to be something.  I like to think I’ll see a lot of people I love there, too.”  

They ate silently for a moment.  Then Nannygranne asked, “What do you think we’ll do all the time up there since we don’t have to worry about anything?”

“Mama says there will be lots of kids in Heaven because Jesus said there would be.”  Mason, unaware of the magnitude of his statement, contemplated his sandwich, removing the lettuce and quickly hiding it under the edge of his plate.  When he noticed Nannygranne watching, he ducked his head sheepishly. “Lettuce feels funny in my mouth, Nannygranne.”

“It’s OK, Mason.  I’ll remember next time.”  Smiling, she continued, “You know, while you were playing at the playground, I looked up some more Bible verses about animals.  I have to be honest; the Bible doesn’t talk about dogs having souls or even going to Heaven.  But we can read between the lines sometimes.”  She pulled her phone closer, pulled up her Bible app, locating the Book of Job, reading from chapters 38-40 in the Easy English Version.

“Between the lines?” Mason wondered.

“Yes, of course, Mason.  Sometimes God had His writers paint pictures in our minds with words.  And sometimes He lets us peek into His realm.  He let Job do that and talks a lot about animals.  Listen to this and think about what we learn about God and the animals.”

“…the Lord spoke to Job, and this is what he said: You have asked many questions about the things that I do, Job.  But you do not really understand the things that you say.  Now be brave, and listen to me.  There are many things I want to tell you…You do not know how I made the world.  But it was I who put it in the right place.  You do not feed the ravens.  When the young ravens are hungry, they ask me for food…The wild donkeys are free to run where they want…I decided that the dessert would be their home and that they would live there…the ostrich is careless with her eggs.  This is because I did not make the ostrich wise…But when the ostrich runs, it runs very fast…past the fastest horses…The hawk does not learn from you how to fly. You do not teach it to fly toward the south in winter.  You do not tell the eagle that it must fly high into the sky…and where to build its home up in the mountains.”

“And here’s another verse, Mason, showing that Jesus loves His animals and stays busy seeing after them, too.”  Turning her phone toward Mason, she indicated he should read Luke 12:6. 

“People sell five small birds for two little coins.  But each little bird is valuable to God.  He takes care of them all.”

Nannygranne’s excitement energized Mason.  “And Jesus was friends with the animals, too!  When He spent forty days alone, right after He was baptized, the Bible says in Mark 1:13,

“He was in the wilderness for 40 days.  During this time, Satan tried to cause Jesus to do wrong things.  There were wild animals near to Jesus in the wilderness, and God’s angels were His servants.”

“Hearing those verses, how do you think God feels about animals?”

A joyful smile spread across Mason’s freckled face.  “God loves animals, too!  And the animals love Him!”

“I agree.  We have to remember, though, that animals aren’t like humans.  God cares for the animals, but He cares for us more.  Remember reading how God knows each little bird?  Let’s read the next verse in Luke 12, and you’ll see what I mean.

“…God takes care of them all.  He does the same for you. He even knows how many hairs there are on your head.  So do not be afraid of people.  You are much more valuable to God than a large number of small birds.”

“But we must remember that God didn’t give the Gospel to the animals.   Jesus died on the cross for our sins, not for the animals.  Animals weren’t made in the image of God as He made us.   The animals are God’s business, and He takes care of them.  God does say He wants us to live forever with Him in Heaven, but He doesn’t say that about the animals, even though He cares very much for them, too.”

“So, we really don’t know for sure then?”  Sadness stole into Mason’s tone.

Nannygranne gently responded, “I guess God doesn’t want us to worry about it.  He just tells us He’ll take good care of them.  But there is one of those word pictures for us about the animals.  It’s in Revelation 5:13.   God paints a word picture showing all of creation–animals included–praising Him when He comes in the clouds to take everyone to the Judgment Throne for sentencing. Everyone will be there—every living thing God created.  

“And then I heard every creature in Heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

“There are just some things God didn’t tell us, Mason.  But God does promise us that we will be completely happy and will never feel sad when we’re with Him in His place.  In Revelation 21:4, it says, 

“There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

We also learn from 1 Corinthians 13:12 that there are some things we just won’t understand until we get there, then God will tell us everything.  It reads,” 

“For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”

Stopping, Nannygranne waited for Mason to speak.  He got down next to Chief, then looking over at Tiger, staring at them from his perch.  “Chief, God is always watching after you.  You and Tiger are going to be just fine.  I don’t know if I’ll see you in Heaven, but that’s OK because we’ll both be just fine. Just fine.”

Nannygranne quickly stood, gathered their plates, and quietly headed for the kitchen.  She left Mason with his friends in their moment, turning away so he wouldn’t see her tears.  He was too young to understand them.  But she was sure the Lord did.