Madeline needed the support of a Christian friend.
“No, Madeline! Don’t leave! Please don’t leave!” Jacob cried out. From his seat, he tried to reach out to her, but he felt paralyzed. He could see Madeline walking right out of the church doors, but he couldn’t do a thing about it. There was a sea of faces around him, but they showed no interest in the fact that they were about to lose Madeline. Not one of them spoke a word. Didn’t anyone care?
Suddenly, Jacob felt someone shaking him. A voice said, “Jacob. Wake up, Jacob. You’re dreaming.” The scene in the church faded, and Jacob opened his eyes. His father was leaning over him with a worried expression on his face. “You must have been having a bad dream, Son.”
Jacob rubbed his eyes as the memory of the dream swept over him. “Oh, Dad, it was awful,” he said as he sat up. “I dreamed that Madeline, a girl in my Sunday school class, didn’t want to be a Christian anymore. No one else seemed to care. So I was trying to stop her from leaving. She wouldn’t listen to me. Dad, I was too late!”
His dad sat down on the edge of the bed. “I wonder what made you dream a thing like that,” he said. “Is something going on with Madeline? Has anything different happened in her life recently?”
“Yeah,” Jacob responded slowly, as his thoughts cleared. “A few weeks ago, Annika, one of her school friends, came to Sunday school with her. She seemed to enjoy herself, but . . .”
“What’s the problem? It sounds like Madeline is being a good missionary,” said Jacob’s dad. “You should be very pleased.”
“You might think so, especially since Annika comes every Sunday now. Yet, ever since that first Sunday, Madeline has changed. She and Annika sit and whisper all during class time, and they make silly remarks about the lessons,” replied Jacob. “Madeline used to be interested in learning God’s Word. When she became a Christian about four months ago, her parents gave her permission to stay for the Sunday morning church services. She said she wanted to know everything she could so she could tell others about Jesus.”
Jacob’s dad nodded. “That’s great, but I’m not sure I see the connection between Madeline’s actions and your dream.”
“Well, she told Annika about Jesus, and brought her to Sunday school, but now Madeline seems interested only in what Annika has to say. Dad, instead of winning a friend for Jesus, her friend seems to be pulling her away from Jesus. The other kids in the class like Madeline, but since Annika started coming, most of them just ignore Madeline. Something about this makes me afraid for her. I don’t want her to stop coming to Sunday school. I would like Annika to know that Jesus really loves her too, but so far, I don’t think she has listened to any of the lessons. Is there something I can do about it, Dad?”
“Yes, there is something you can do to help,” Jacob’s dad answered. “You said that Madeline has only been a Christian for about four months. We who have known Jesus longer and have felt the love and care He gives every day, must help those who are just beginning their Christian lives.
“Your concern for both Madeline and Annika is good. This is a good time for you to step out and practice what you have been taught. If you become the Christian friend that Madeline needs, the other students in your class may follow your example. God’s Word tells us to bear ‘one another’s burdens.’ It seems to me that Madeline has a burden, and she needs some help. Rather than just watching her and Annika whisper and make silly remarks, why don’t you sit by them in class? It’s possible that Madeline’s actions are her way of asking for help in winning Annika to Jesus. At least they are still coming to Sunday school. That must mean they want the fellowship. Make it a point to talk to them before and after class. If everyone ignores them or makes them feel unwelcome, Madeline just might stop attending Sunday school.”
There was silence as Jacob thought about his dad’s words. Then he said slowly, “Well, this talk has helped me to see one thing—I want to do whatever I can to help Madeline, and I need to do it now. I am going to try to be the Christian friend that she needs. This may be what Annika needs too. Dad, pray that God will give me the right words to say to help strengthen Madeline’s faith in Him. I sure don’t want this awful dream to come true!”