Amazingly, after lunch, the weather turned and the sun came out. The only time I'd been without sunblock all summer and the only time that we didn't have the camera all holiday. As it turned out, this was to be our only day in the sunshine on a beach the whole holiday, so I was sad not to have photos of it - my mum was always very good at putting photos in albums and the pictures evoke memories of holidays for years after. However, one of the stones we had collected had turned out very special. My husband made a roller-coaster that went deep under a tunnel in the moat of the castle I was working on. (Our son was in the meantime socialising while his parents played in the sand. Thus justifying his latest comment on us: "My parents?! Funny little dudes!")
This particular stone turned out to have great potential for rolling down the track and into the tunnel and it kept us all entertained for the rest of the afternoon. It made it home and now sits on our windowsill. This is now the key to unlocking the memories of our day on the beach when boy was 3. Next year, he will be 4 and it won't ever be quite the same. The stone represents family and fun and sun and sea...it's more than a stone. The day didn't last, the boy is already older, but the memory is there whenever we look at our windowsill.
Jesus called his disciple Simon, "Peter", meaning rock. He was to be the firm, solid stone the church was going to be founded on. When he was watching Jesus at work, doing miracles and wonders, how amazing that must have been. How he must have longed for those glorious, sun-filled days to go on forever. How dismayed he was when Jesus pointed out the rainclouds and said to them that people wanted to kill him and would kill him. Peter was, as always, forthright and protested that it couldn't possibly be true. He knew the power of the man and had seen and believed with his own eyes that he was the son of God. How could he die?
Jesus answered, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Harsh words, but he wasn't exempt from temptation. He endured 40 days and nights in the desert. Wouldn't you be tempted to remain with friends who loved you, living this amazing life of teacher and healer, rather than give yourself for imprisonment, torture, the most painful death known to man and worst of all, the sins of the world being hurled at you to take the punishment of all mankind...? Strong words for Peter to hear, but also for the choice that was being made by Jesus. Strong words to stop the tempter in his tracks.
There were no cameras to record the sunny days of living with Jesus, but we have the words of his friends. After his shame at betraying him, Peter did go on to ignite a flame of faith that has never gone out. The sunny days were never the same again. People were older and had been through the agony of loss at the crucifixion and the amazing times when Jesus came back to earth for a short while. The sun came out again though when the Holy Spirit came on them - the helper that Jesus sent. People were healed and set free by the light of the truth.
One thing that amazed me when I became a Christian was that miracles still happen. I read a book called, "The street children of Brazil" by Sarah de Carvalho and it convinced me. There is no reason for you to live your life in darkness. Even now, whatever you have done or said to offend God, there is a way home. If you believe in Jesus with all of your heart and ask him to live in you, you will be stepping into the sunshine again. There is no rainy day that can blot him out, no darkness that can hide him, no power on earth that is stronger. Reach for the Son, little darling.
Happy Child International
The Street Children of Brazil from Amazon