April 6, 2017

Journey With Jesus

When I want to be mean, I just ask Jesus to help me.

Jill Morikone

It was time for my weekly catch-up phone talk with the nephews. How they were growing up! Jonathan, the oldest, is now 10 and into soccer and swimming. Stephen, at 8, loves soccer, swimming, basketball—and any other activity that involves running. Joshua, 3, can kick the ball with amazing accuracy and strength.

Our conversations focused on their school and sports, punctuated with shouts, excitement, and other indefinable background noise. I struggled to make sense of what they were saying amid so much activity. As always, Caleb’s turn came last. Not because he was the youngest, but because he wanted to savor “Auntie Jill time” all to himself.

At 5 he is the most articulate, the most able to express how he feels inside. Grabbing the phone, he carried it into the other room. The background noise receded to a dull roar.

“Hi, Caleb! How are you today?”

“Oh, Auntie Jill, I’m so happy!”

I chuckled, wondering what new Lego set had made him happy today. His next words, however, startled me out of my complacency.

“I’m happy because I asked Jesus into my life.”

Silence swirled around me. Had I heard correctly? Did he just give his life to Jesus?

“Auntie Jill? Are you there?”

I tried to keep my voice steady. “Yes, sweetie, I’m here. I’m so proud of you! What a big decision—and the best one you could ever make.”

His childish voice prattled on. “I can’t read the Bible yet, but when I want to be mean to my brothers, I just ask Jesus to help me.”

Was that all there was to the Christian walk? Just ask for help?

“I love God more than anything else, and I get to talk to Him every night!”

For weeks his words lingered in my mind. Had Caleb uncovered the essence of Christianity?

I thought about the simplicity of his faith as I talked to a distraught woman on the phone. “If I could just know Jesus forgives me, I’d be OK,” she said. “Do you think He’d accept me after what I’ve done?”

As she spoke, I heard a childish voice in my mind: “Auntie Jill, I’m so happy because I asked Jesus into my life!”

The next day a coworker stopped by my desk. “I’m so irritated by this other woman. I can’t seem to get past her meanness!”

Again, I heard a little voice: “When I want to be mean, I just ask Jesus to help me.”

Shortly afterward I received an e-mail: “I know I shouldn’t because I’m married, but I’m having feelings for someone else.”

As I read the e-mail and grieved for this woman’s pain, again I heard Caleb’s voice: “I love Jesus more than anything else!”

Is that the secret to walking with Jesus?

A childlike faith—Jesus has accepted and forgiven me.

A childlike request—Help me, Jesus! Give me victory.

A childlike love—I love only You, Jesus, above everything else.

Oh, Father, restore in me the faith of a child.

Jill Morikone is administrative assistant to the president of 3ABN, a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.