After throwing knives in a game of “Stretch”, Uncle Jaden wants to quit. When he walks away, Gavin decides to scare him. He takes aim and lets his knife fly. But instead of swishing past him, the knife hits Jaden right in the middle of his back!
With horror, Gavin breathed, Dear God, don’t let him fall on the knife! Gavin’s legs finally mobilized, and he sprinted toward Jaden. At the last second, Jaden turned and fell on his side, and the knife dropped into the grass. Gavin sank to his knees beside Jaden.
“What’d you do that for?” Jaden turned and looked accusingly at Gavin.
“Are you ok?” Gavin asked. “I’m so sorry! I certainly am a poor aim at that distance! I was aiming beside you!” Gavin suddenly became so weak with the thought of what almost happened, he could hardly help his uncle up.
Once he was on his feet, Jaden lifted his shirt and twisted around trying to see the wound.
“I need to look at it,” Jaden said.
When they went into the house, they went right to the bathroom. Jaden picked up the mirror and looked into the big mirror’s reflection.
Jaden studied the wound. “Ah, that’s just a tiny cut,” Jaden scoffed. “I’ve hurt myself worse crawling in the blackberry bushes!” He grinned at Gavin and pounded him on the back.
Gavin was shaking by now with all the adrenalin that was racing through his body. “Thanks, man,” was all he could manage. He helped clean and bandage the deep puncture.
That night as Gavin lay in bed watching the passing car headlights move across his wall, he replayed the scene over and over in his mind. A cold chill ran through his body as he realized each time how close he’d come to fatally injuring his uncle. Had it just been a coincidence that Jaden had turned to his side instead
of falling on his back? Was it just chance that the knife blade had stuck his backbone instead of into his soft flesh? Slowly Gavin felt an awareness of God’s care slip around him like a warm blanket. No, it didn’t just happen.
The next Sabbath Gavin sat down in the pew next to his parents and his sister. He pulled out the brightly colored flyer inside the bulletin.
“Revelation Opened” it read. He recognized the animals marching across the page that were described in the book of Revelation. Instantly he was interested. Out of curiosity, he had started to read Revelation once. But it had sounded more like a zoo after a terrible explosion than a passage out of the Holy Bible! A bear with ribs in its mouth, leopards with four heads— horns everywhere! It was weird and confusing.
He looked again at the flyer. The meetings were to be at a hall near his home. His heart raced. Gavin wanted to go more than anything! He determined to ask Mom and Dad about it on the way home.
That Friday night Gavin, Lindsey, and Mom were at the “Revelation Opened” meeting. During the preaching, Gavin’s eyes were glued to the screen as the pictures and Bible verses flashed in front of him.
“You can believe this Book!” Evangelist Kenneth Cox held up his large black
Bible. “God has protected His Word through centuries of persecution. It is God-breathed and truth for us today!”
The next night at the meeting, as the songs faded away, Gavin was on the edge of his seat. As Elder Cox preached, he had never felt such confidence in the Bible before. It was the Word of God! If the Bible was so dependable in predicting historical events, couldn’t God’s guiding wisdom help him with his decisions?
The next day he and David were throwing the football.
“Run for a pass,” Gavin raised his arm to direct his friend up the street. David didn’t usually catch it, and he dropped it again this time. But Gavin was glad to have a friend next door. After they’d run passes on the quiet neighborhood street, the boys sank down on the grass under the locust tree.
“Hey, Gavin, you going to the Teen Club dance Friday night?” David asked.
Gavin had seen the poster in the school hallway, but hadn’t made a decision about it yet. He figured he could be pretty good on the dance floor since he liked to move, but when he’d mentioned it to Mom, she’d helped him see it in another light.
“When you’re jerking around to music with a girl, do you think that is helping your thoughts about her to remain pure?” Mom had asked. “What kind of mood does dancing–and the music that goes with it—create inside of you?”
Dancing was exciting and being opposite of a pretty girl did feel good. But what had Paul said to young Timothy about how to treat girls? “. . . as sisters, with all purity.” A dance didn’t seem to be a place for him—if he wanted to be a Christian.
Besides the dancing, Gavin had another thing to consider: the Sabbath. Elder Cox had read it the other night, “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day”. Right there in Genesis 1:5! A day begins with the evening and ends 24 hours later, the next evening. It was simple. Sabbath began at sundown on Friday night.
David was still looking at him waiting for an answer about the dance.
“Nah,” Gavin pushed the football deeper into the grass. “I’m not going.”
“Why not?” David asked in surprise.
“I have better things to do,” Gavin stood up and squinted toward the sun. “And I’d better get in and do my chores or else I won’t be able to do some of those “better things”.
That night at the “Revelation Opened” meetings, Pastor Cox read about heaven. Gavin’s imagination ran wild as he pictured himself flying to unknown worlds, romping with a leopard, and swimming in the River of Life. When Elder Cox asked who would like to accept the invitation to go heaven, Gavin stood and went down to the front.
The lady at the piano was playing a beautiful song that seemed to be from heaven itself. As he waited, something brushed his arm. He glanced up to see Lindsey standing beside him. She smiled shyly and he grinned back. After the meeting, Elder Cox asked Gavin, Lindsey, and several others who had come up to the front to stay.
After the meeting closed, Elder Cox spoke quietly to the group. “If you want to accept Jesus as your Savior and seal these truths in your heart that you’ve been hearing each night, I will be privileged to baptize you on Sabbath.” Gavin and Lindsey told Elder Cox they wanted to be baptized.
Sabbath arrived., As Gavin stood beside the baptismal tank waiting his turn, his thoughts were busy. Things would be different after this. He would be a Christian—a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. He determined not to laugh at the scummy jokes the boys repeated in
the locker room at school. He wouldn’t complain when Mom reminded him it was his turn to wash the dishes. No, things would be different. He would live to please Jesus—Jesus who died such a cruel death on the cross so he wouldn’t have to.
Lindsey came up out of the tank with her long hair dripping and her face all smiles. Now it was Gavin’s turn to go into the water, and he made his way to Pastor Cox.
After a few comments, Elder Cox lifted his hand and repeated, “I now baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” He laid him back into the water and as Pastor Cox’s strong arms lifted him, Gavin felt the glow of being “a new creature”.
As the days went by, Gavin wondered about his new life as a Christian. He knew he wanted to follow the way God told him from the Bible. But one thought nagged at him. While his own adventures had seemed to go badly at times, would he ever have fun again? Would being a Christian be, well—boring?