“It’s always so much fun to visit Uncle Al,” Andy said as he and his dad got into the car.
His father smiled as he started the car. “I enjoy it too. Tell me, Andy, what is it you especially like about Uncle Al?”
Andy thought for a minute. “Well, he’s such a neat guy, Dad. He has great stories to tell, and his stories always make me feel happy.”
Andy’s dad raised his eyebrows. “Oh? Now it seems to me that many of Al’s stories have to do with some very hard times. There’s the one about when his boat capsized and he nearly drowned. There’s the story about how his army buddies made fun of him because he wouldn’t do all the wrong things they did. Then he tells about the time his wife died and he had to raise three little children by himself. Are those happy stories?”
“No . . .” Andy answered, “not exactly. I guess they make me feel happy because Uncle Al’s stories always have a happy ending.”
His father smiled. “I think you’re right, Andy. Uncle Al found out that even though there are hard places in life, there is victory when you have your trust in God.”
Andy nodded. “When you hear Uncle Al tell it, it never sounds so bad because he lets you know how God helped him.”
“That’s it exactly,” Andy’s dad agreed. “You know, in these last fifteen years or so that I’ve known Al, he has always made me think a little of the Apostle Paul.”
“Paul?” Andy looked puzzled. “But he doesn’t look anything like the picture of Paul in our Bible storybook. And he never got put in jail or went on any big missionary trips, or anything like that.”
“Oh, I don’t mean how he looks,” his dad replied. “And I don’t mean the actual things that happened to him during his life. I mean his spirit, the way he reacted to the things that happened to him. Remember how Paul wrote to Timothy when he looked back at his life? In spite of all the hard places he had gone through, he was thankful to God for a life of victory.”
“That sure does sound like Uncle Al,” Andy agreed. “You know, Dad, Uncle Al is pretty old. And now he’s sick too, and he looks kind of weak. Someday, before too long, he’ll probably go up to Heaven. That makes me feel a little sad because I will really miss him. But I just had a happy thought. Won’t the Apostle Paul and Uncle Al have a good time getting to know each other up in Heaven?”
Our final lesson of this unit will be on the Apostle Paul, and stresses the theme of victory. Your child will learn that Paul’s testimony to his young friend, Timothy, was full of thanksgiving.
Read the Bible text together and talk about what it feels like to be victorious. As a climax to this unit of study, plan a Victory Celebration with your child. Let him decorate paper napkins with the word “victory” or appropriate symbols such as a trophy or crown.
Noisemakers and paper hats could also add to the festivity of the occasion. Plan a special menu and have your child explain to the rest of the family what the Victory Celebration is all about, stressing that we can all be winners, just like Paul was.