Monday, February 6, 2012

A Cheeky Moment

We had face painted at the county fair for the past several years, supporting one of the other couples in our church whose ministry was working with children. My wife and I admired their work and manning the face painting booth for a few hours each year was our way of showing appreciation and support for the fine service they performed.

While my wife possesses some artistic gifts, I can’t really say I have any. We were taught to paint simple figures like a flower or a grassy hillside with the sun shining down upon it. After all, it wasn’t the painting itself, but rather, the story you told as you painted on the child’s cheek. Even with my lack of talent, the drawings eventually became easier. Child after child stepped up, plopped down in the chair in front of us, picked out the figure they wanted painted on their little cheek and sat in silence while we painted.

We used four or five different colors in our face painting ministry. Black represented the sin in our life. Red-the blood of Jesus, shed for the payment of that sin. White-the complete washing of our sins, and so forth. As we used each color, we explained in the simplest of terms the Gospel of Christ. Most sat staring forward, just waiting for the moment we held up a mirror for them to see their masterpieces. But not every job went that way.

Angie was a pretty, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl of about eleven years. By the time Angie got to my chair, my back was aching a bit from the constant bending position I’d been in for a hour or so. My enthusiasm for the work was really waning.

She sat down and said she wanted flowers, "Three of them, please." I sort of sighed and started yet another drawing. Like the rest of the kids, Angie just sat staring forward while I painted and talked. Truthfully, I was looking forward to taking a much needed break with a cold drink as soon as I finished with her flowers.

Finishing up the drawing and story, I asked Angie the same question I’d asked dozens before her, expecting the same non-response that I’d always received. As I finished her face painting, I asked, "Now, Angie, have you ever given your heart to Jesus and made Him the Lord of your life?" I began dunking my paint brush down into a cup of water and looked to see if there was any other child waiting in line.

Angie’s face whirled around quickly, her bright blue eyes lighting up as she blurted out, "No, but I’ve wanted to for a long time!" I nearly knocked the water cup off the table.

"You have?"

"Yes! I keep trying to get my mom to take me to church so I can tell someone, but she hasn’t taken me yet."

"Where’s your mom, now?"

"Over there."

"Can you go get her for me?"

My mind raced as Angie ran over, got her mother, and returned to my booth. I told her of my conversation with Angie. The woman’s chin quivered as I relayed to her Angie’s desire to turn her life over to Christ. She sat down in stunned silence, tears running down her cheeks.

"I feel awful"...she looked at Angie and promised that tomorrow, being Sunday, they would go to church.

"We’ve just been so busy..." Her voice trailed off. I had gathered my wits somewhat from what had occurred and asked if I could pray with her and her daughter. She nodded and we bowed in prayer...

In Matthew 19:14, Jesus tells his disciples, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  His disciples had perhaps seen the children trying to get to Jesus as nuisances to Him, not worthy of His time. Unfortunately, Angie’s mom had regarded going to church in a similar fashion, when in reality, the most important moment in her daughter’s life was being repressed. So often as parents, we allow the world around us to blur our focus.

...Angie changed my life that afternoon in the face painting booth. And, as she prayed to receive Christ as her Savior with me that day, He changed her life...forever.

1 comment: