The Missing Piece©
Written and illustrated by De Dorman
2005 All Rights Reserved
Job 22:21 "Acquaint now thyself with Him and be at peace..."
It was a hot summer day in Shady Oak and most of the children in the neighborhood were outdoors playing. Sandy and her brother, Tyler, were blasting each other with water balloons while big brother Josh struggled to give his dog, Fred, a bath. Although he was getting just as wet as the dog, he was enjoying the venture!
I've got a great idea!" exclaimed mischievous Tyler. "Let's get Millie to step outside and we'll bomb her with these water balloons!" Sandy liked the idea but she knew that it would be difficult to get her sister outside, much less get her in a position where they could throw the water balloons at her without getting water inside the house. "That would be fun, Tyler, but Millie is working on another puzzle and..." "Another puzzle?" interrupted her brother. "Why, she's going to see puzzle pieces in her sleep. That makes three puzzles that she's worked on this week!
It was true; Millie was not the outdoor type. After a recent battle with the mosquitoes, she was perfectly happy to stay indoors, reading and working on puzzles. "Maybe we better not, Tyler. Millie has been so nice to us lately; I would kinda' feel bad for throwing these balloons at her." concluded Sandy. "Yeh, I know what you mean, Sandy.
Since she's been going to church with Megan, she's been different alright." agreed Tyler. "Do you think she might be coming down with something?" he asked with a chuckle. Sandy giggled as she whirled a heavy water balloon at her brother, hitting the target perfectly and soaking his shirt in the process. War was declared and off they went, running and laughing around the house! What Sandy and Tyler didn't know yet was that during one of those church visits, Millie had asked The Lord to save her and to help her live for Him. There really had been a change in her life and she was wanting to tell her brothers and sister, but wasn't quite sure how to go about it. Perhaps a chance was just around the corner...
It last, Josh finished bathing the wiggly dog! He was just about to dry him off a little when, all of a sudden, Fred took off running, chasing after the neighbor's cat, (who seemed to enjoy teasing the dog). All the coaxing in the world wouldn't bring the playful dog back anytime soon!
Millie heard the ruckus and decided to help. She knew that Fred never refused a doggie treat, so off to the kitchen she went. After getting a few from the cupboard she headed for the screen door. As she opened it to go outside, the cat dashed right past her into the living room and do you know who was following close behind the cat? Fred...he was running and barking, not to mention tracking in mud and water from his recent bath. In all the commotion he knocked over the coffee table, scattering Millie's unfinished puzzle all over the floor! When the excited dog eventually realized that a snack was awaiting him, he paused for a nibble. That's when Sandy and Tyler grabbed him while Josh put his collar and leash back on. The nervous cat was quickly shown it's way out and soon things settled down enough to assess the damage! In what amounted to just a few minutes of chaos, the house was now a muddy mess!
The four children decided to work together and get things back in order. Josh took Fred outside while the others cleaned up. When everything else was done they started to pick up the puzzle. "Don't worry about the puzzle," Millie said. "I can get this if you guys want to go back outside." "OK, thanks, Sis." replied Tyler while he and Sandy went out to see how Josh was doing with Fred. It was hard to stay angry at the pitiful thing. He just seemed to have this look on his face that said, "Boy, that was fun! Got anymore treats?"
"Well, at least he didn't get too dirty with all that running around in the muddy water." Josh concluded as he tried to finish drying him off. Mom and Dad were working in the garden and peeked up to see what all the excitement was about. As far as they could tell, things looked fine, but they were soon given the details at the supper table and the story of the day brought echoes of laughter throughout the house. Within a few days Millie was nearly finished with the once scattered puzzle that Megan had given her. It was a patchwork puzzle with words and happy faces on it. Sandy walked by to take a look and noticed that one piece was missing. "Hey, where's the last piece?" she asked looking around. "I don't know where it could be. I think it was lost when Fred knocked the table over the other day." I'll leave it together for a few days, maybe the missing piece will show up.
Millie had been asking the Lord for the courage to invite her family to church, so with a big breath she began, " Hey, Sandy, would you like to come to church with me tomorrow? Megan's parents are happy to take us. "Sure, let me go ask Mom." answered Sandy. Millie's heart leaped. She loved her family and wanted them to know Jesus, too. Mom agreed and soon the lively house was quiet for the night. In the morning, Megan and her parents were right on time. Sandy was feeling a bit nervous but Millie assured her that she would help her with everything. "Everyone is so nice at church, Sandy. You don't have to worry."
Millie was true to her word. She helped her sister find the right songs in the songbook and told her when it was time for the offering. Sandy thought that the Sunday School teacher was very nice and she liked her friendly smile.
It was soon story time and that's when they read from the Bible. This was Millie's favorite part! When Sandy fumbled through the borrowed Bible trying to find the book of Job, Millie was right there to help her. Sandy was quite impressed with her sister's new found knowledge of the Bible. After the class read Job 22:21 aloud, the teacher began teaching on Adam and Eve, sin and God's holiness. She told the class that because of sin, Adam and Eve had to leave the beautiful garden that God created, Adam now had to toil in the heat of the day, weeding and planting. Things would never be the same; God did not come in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam now. "Boys and girls, our sin also separates us from this same Holy God." she continued by quoting from Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned" and Romans 6:23 saying that "the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Sandy was feeling a bit uncomfortable until she heard about the gift of God. She quietly hoped to hear more about this newly discovered gift.
"Death is the penalty for our sins," the sensitive teacher continued, "but God sent His Son Jesus to pay that penalty for us. Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to a rugged cross where He was mocked and laughed at. When He bowed His head and said, "It is finished" He was referring to the payment for our sins. He was buried in a tomb and God raised Him up from the grave after three days and three nights, showing us that we, too, can have life after death. We just need to receive this free gift by turning from our sins (repentance) and to the Savior, asking Him to forgive us and live within our hearts." (Romans 10:9,10 and 13) The teacher concluded her class by asking, "Is there anyone here this morning who would like to receive this free gift of salvation?" With all heads bowed, Sandy shyly raised her hand, knowing that she had sin in her heart that needed forgiven. The teacher dismissed the class and Sandy stayed behind, just as she was instructed during the invitation. Within minutes, Sandy became a new creature in Christ when she asked the Lord to forgive her sins and live in her heart. She now understood why her teacher smiled all the time...she had something that she never understood before...peace. The peace of knowing her sins are all forgiven and forgotten by God and she now has a home in Heaven. Before leaving, Sandy was given a new Bible, just like the one that Millie was given a few weeks earlier. "Look at the shiny pages!" She thanked her caring teacher as she left the classroom. "You might want to begin your reading in the book of John." She told Sandy as she reassured her that she would be praying for her. "OK, I promise I'll read it!" Thanks, again!" Sandy replied joyously. The three girls were so excited all the way home, each reading a portion from the book of John. All too soon they arrived. The sisters thanked Megan and her parents for taking them to church and ran into the house for dinner. Mom and Dad were listening as the girls told of the events that morning. Although the parents didn't understand the change, they said that if the girls were happy then that makes them happy, too. Who do you think will be praying for their parents and two brothers, that they, too, could know this peace in their hearts?
It was Tyler and Josh's turn to clear the table so the rest of family retired to the living room. As Sandy sat down on the sofa, her hand felt something between the cushions. Can you guess what it was? That's right, it was the missing puzzle piece, finally! She allowed Millie the honor of finishing the puzzle and as she connected the last piece, they saw a word written on it; it said "peace". Sandy said with an honest heart, "I know what that is now. I have it in my heart." Boys and girls, just as Millie was able to finish the puzzle with the missing piece, Jesus finished the plan of salvation when He died on that cruel cross and arose after three days and nights in the grave. As He was dying, Jesus said..."It is finished." (John19:30) Now, our eternal destination is up to us. Coming to Him with a repentant heart will bring the peace that the world can't give and fellowship with God, our Creator.
Is there something missing in your life? If you accept God's payment for your sin today...His only Begotten Son, you, too, can discover that missing peace.
Invitation to salvation
God hasn't forgotten the good work that Megan and her family are doing. Their rewards are awaiting them in Heaven for loving their neighbors enough to tell them about Jesus. If you already know Jesus as Savior, have you shared the good news with someone who needs to hear? Would you like to ask The Lord to love the lost through you so they, too, have a chance to know Him? (Matthew 5:14-16) (Romans 1:16..."For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth...")
Invitation to service