Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#23- MYSTERY AT SANDY BEACH (3)

A Character story about forgiveness.

After lunch Julie caught Jason again. "I know who took my necklace now," Julie reported sadly. "My hunch was right. It's Karen."
"How do you know for sure?"
"Because I found it in her suitcase. She promised that it wasn't my necklace when Miss Patty found the box in there but I looked in it this morning and it is. Jason, I don't think I can trust her about anything any more when she can stand there and insist that she hasn't stolen anything."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. But that just shows that she needs to be saved. And that's what you've been praying for her."
"Yes, but I don't think she's any closer to salvation at all."
"You don't know that," Jason assured her. "Anyway, you should at least be glad you know where it is. Oh, I've got to run. I'm getting a carving lesson from my counselor. I'm still praying too. Let me know what happens."
"OK. Bye."
Julie tried to leave the whole matter in God's hands but she just kept worrying. When she spoke to Karen, it took a real effort to smile or be friendly.
Wednesday evening the camp director asked the campers to think of a quality of God starting with each letter of the alphabet. Julie raised her hand for the letter F. "Faithfulness," she announced. As others continued through the alphabet Julie thought of her dad's comment about the moon. "If it were not for God's faithfulness, astronauts would never have gone to the moon. They had to know where the moon would be in three days to aim in the right direction, and what time of the month was best." Then Julie began to think about Karen. She is just the opposite Julie thought. I'm glad I can count on God's promises a lot more than Karen's. Oh, Lord, help me to love her in spite of the way she is. Julie prayed. Just then the piano brought her attention back to the service. Maybe this would be the night Karen is saved. Then the Lord would convict her that stealing is wrong. Then Julie would get her necklace back.
But nothing happened Wednesday night. Only two more nights Julie thought as she lay in bed. I know that's enough time, Lord, but You're cutting it mighty close.
In Thursday morning chapel the speaker told the story of Abraham leaving his home to obey God. When he finished, he asked, "Have you ever thought of what it cost Abraham to obey God? He lost his friends, his home, and his homeland. He lived in tents for the rest of his long life. Why was he willing to sacrifice so much? The answer is told us in Hebrews chapter eleven and verse ten. It says that Abraham 'looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.' He was willing to give up things that don't last, in order to gain something that lasts forever. And just think boys and girls, Abraham has enjoyed being with the Lord a whole lot longer than he went without things down here. I wonder, is there something that you are holding on to that is keeping you from trusting Christ?"
Julie immediately thought of Karen and the necklace. She talked with Jason about it after the chapel.
"Happy birthday, Sis," he began with a smile.
"Yeah, same to you. Only for me it isn't so happy. In fact this whole week has been terrible."
"Anything new come up?"
"Well, I was thinking of Karen in chapel this morning. I wonder if I should tell her I know she stole it. Maybe that is something she is holding on to that is keeping her from trusting Jesus."
"I was thinking about the necklace in chapel too, only I was thinking about you. I was wondering if you were going to make that necklace more important than seeing Karen saved."
"What do you mean? I've been praying for her to be saved."
"I know, but are you praying that 'cause then you think she'll give your necklace back?"
Jason's words stung, but Julie said nothing.
"Do ya remember last summer when we went to the museum and saw that raccoon skin? Dad said he had gotten caught and chewed his own foot off rather than stay in the trap. I've been praying that you'd want Karen to be saved so much that you'd be willing to be without your necklace forever, if that's what God wants."
Julie looked off across the field in silence. Finally she turned to Jason and sighed deeply. "Thanks, Jason. You're right. Keep praying, especially for me. OK?"
Jason ran off toward the boy's cabins as Julie slowly trudged toward cabin three. No one was there so she knelt beside her bed. "Lord," she began, "you know how much I have wanted that necklace. But you know how much I have wanted Karen to be saved too. So, Lord, if I have to choose between them, I'll choose to have Karen saved, and I'll give you the necklace." As Julie rose from her knees, she felt as if a great weight were lifted from her.
In the service Thursday evening the director had Julie and Jason stand and everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to them. Then they each got to pick a favorite song for everyone to sing.
When it was time for the message, the speaker placed two large hoops on the floor in front, about twelve feet apart. He then chose Jason and three other children to come up and stand one at a time in the right hoop. "Let's use our imaginations tonight," he began. "Pretend that the other hoop is heaven and that the space between them is a great gulf so deep that you can't see the bottom. Now imagine that the best behaved children are also the best jumpers. How good do you think they will have to be to jump all the way over the gulf and get to heaven?" He then had the first three jump as hard as they could trying to jump to the other hoop. "Too bad. Each one fell in the gulf and is lost forever."
Julie glanced at Karen and prayed again for her.
"Now we have just one left," the speaker continued, placing his hands on Jason's shoulders. "He knows that he can't jump over this gulf in one jump. He says 'I need help.' Now watch." As Jason jumped, the speaker grabbed a hold of him and carried him to the other circle. "You see, no one will ever get to heaven without the help of the One who already crossed that gulf. His name is Jesus. The Bible says in Titus 3:5, 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..' Your sins will only be forgiven as you come to Him."
Then all the campers bowed their heads and the speaker invited any who wanted to accept Christ as Savior to walk to the back. Julie bowed her head and prayed harder than ever for Karen. Soon she heard some feet shuffling around her. When the speaker finished praying, Julie looked up. Karen was gone.