Winning the Most Friendly Girl award was great, but Gracie had her heart set on winning something else.
Gracie hung up the phone after completing a call for the school secretary, and glanced at her friend in amazement, “You must be kidding!”
“No, it’s true. You know, Gracie, you really have changed. I’m so glad you’re my friend. Well, I’ve got to run. I have to stop by my locker before class. Talk to you later, okay?”
Quickly, Gracie finished her few remaining chores in the school office. She thought about how good God had been to her. Wow! To be chosen Most Friendly Girl was really a turnaround from where she used to be. Not so long ago, she would not even have been thought of, much less chosen, for such an honor. She knew it was only because God had changed her. A few months ago she had knelt and prayed and asked God to take the sin out of her heart and to save her. What a difference that prayer had made in her life! The sullen, suspicious person she had been, disappeared in a moment of time. Gracie hardly had been able to believe the difference in herself!
She thought for a moment about the Sunday school lesson they studied the day she had been saved, . . . about the girl who had been taken captive. The girl had waited on the wife of Naaman who was captain of the host of the king of Syria. Naaman had a disease called leprosy. The girl said to Naaman’s wife, “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”
Gracie had known from hearing the story that this girl really loved God. As Gracie had heard how Naaman went to the muddy Jordan River and was cleansed of his leprosy, she had felt in her heart that she wanted to do just as this girl had done and lead others to Jesus. That very day she had knelt and prayed. God had come into her heart, and had made such a dramatic change.
As she closed the office door and hurried to class, Gracie’s thoughts went back to the news Harper had given her. She couldn’t help but feel happy about being chosen. She knew it was because the Lord had given her a special happiness in her heart.
How unhappy she had been before! She had always become angry so easily and yelled at her friends; she just couldn’t seem to help it. When the kids had realized she couldn’t be teased, they started leaving her out of their activities.
Gracie knew the change that God had made in her heart was real, for the whole picture had changed at school. Now she had so many friends—Christian friends too. When God made that transformation, Gracie found she wanted to tell her friends at school about it. They had quickly seen the difference in her. When they asked questions, that was the perfect opportunity to tell them what God had done for her.
Sliding into her seat in the classroom, Gracie caught Harper’s eye and a warm little glow spread over her. Harper was the very first one Gracie had been able to lead to the Lord.
Gracie had known Harper ever since she moved into the neighborhood when they were in the fifth grade, but they had never gotten along very well. Harper had always been a tease, and time after time her teasing had made Gracie so mad! But one day, after Gracie got saved, Harper happened to overhear an incident in the hallway. Another student was teasing Gracie about giving a wrong answer in class that day. Instead of flying off the handle, as she always would have done in times past, Gracie had just chuckled and said, “Oh, well, I can’t be brilliant every day.” At the time, she had noticed Harper staring at her. She didn’t think much about it until Harper came up to her after school and asked about it. Harper had been so impressed with the difference in Gracie that she had come to church the first time Gracie had invited her. Just a few weeks later Harper had given her heart to the Lord too.
Winning the Most Friendly Girl award is great, thought Gracie as she opened her book, but winning my friends for Jesus is even more exciting!