WHAT AN EXCITING DAY THIS IS FOR MARY & JOHNNY!--Their parents have taken them out for a fun day in the countryside! After the two families have finished a delicious picnic together, Johnny asks his parents if he & Mary can go play in the nearby fields & meadows."Yes, you may," his father answers, "just don't go too far away!"
SOON MARY & JOHNNY ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN RUNNING & SKIPPING THROUGH THE FIELDS that they forget their parents' warning & have wandered much further away from the picnic area than they should have!"I have an idea, Mary!" Johnny exclaims, "Let's play Hide-&-Seek!"
THEN IT'S HER TURN TO CLOSE HER EYES WHILE JOHNNY RUNS AWAY & HIDES!--But when she's finished counting & begins looking for him, she can't find him anywhere! After searching for over 10 minutes, she finally gives up & calls, "Johnny, come out from wherever you are!--I give up! I can't find you!" Johnny then jumps out from behind some distant trees laughing gleefully."Johnny, that's not fair! You went too far away!" she complains.
AS SOON AS JOHNNY BEGINS COUNTING, MARY RUNS AS FAST AS HER FEET CAN CARRY HER, STRAIGHT DOWN TO THE EDGE OF THE NEARBY LAKE! She runs along its bank all the way to its end & around its other side, & then disappears into the thick forest behind it. She keeps running deeper & deeper into the woods until finally, tired & out of breath, she sits down on a big round tree stump & says to herself, "Ha! Johnny will never find me here!"
WHILE RESTING ON THE STUMP, MARY IS AMAZED AT HOW BEAUTIFUL THE FOREST IS! Scattered throughout the grass & moss that carpet the ground are countless brightly coloured wild flowers! "Oh, how pretty! I'll gather a bunch of them for Mommy!" she thinks, as she rises & merrily skips around,picking the flowers.
MARY IS HAVING SO MUCH FUN GATHERING FLOWERS that she forgets all about her "Hide-&-Seek" game! But after a while,when she has as many pretty flowers as she can possibly hold, she suddenly remembers Johnny & the game, & thinks, "Oh my!--I'd better get back to the lakeside!" But as she looks all around her, she can't tell which direction she came from!--All the trees & bushes surrounding the stump look the same!"MAYBE I CAME FROM THAT DIRECTION," SHE WONDERS. "If so, it should only take me a few minutes to find the lake.--I'll go see!" But after running through the forest for some time, the lake is nowhere in sight!
MARY BEGINS RUNNING AS FAST AS SHE CAN, hoping that somehow she'll find the lake! But after a while she is as lost as ever & realises that she might even be running further away in the wrong direction! So she tries calling her friend, "Johnny! Johnny!" she cries at the top of her voice. But she hears no answer.
NOW SO AFRAID & SAD, POOR MARY DROPS HER FLOWERS, FALLS TO HER KNEES & BURSTS INTO TEARS, feeling so alone & scared! A cool breeze sweeps through the forest & she realises that the sun is beginning to set. "Oh no! What if nobody finds me & I'm left out here all alone in the dark forthe whole night!" Mary now feels more frightened than she's ever felt in her entire life!
THEN SUDDENLY A THOUGHT COMES TO HER & SHE REMEMBERS SOMETHING THAT SHE HAS LEARNED FROM THE BIBLE!--That God's Son, Jesus, loves her & is always there to help her! So kneeling on the ground, Mary closes her eyes & prays out loud, "Dear Jesus, please forgive me for disobeying & running off alone like this!--And please, Jesus, protect me from any wild beasts or dangers that may be here, & help me find my way back to Johnny & to my Mommy & Daddy!"
ALL OF A SUDDEN MARY FEELS MUCH BETTER!--FOR SHE KNOWS THAT JESUS HAS HEARD HER PRAYER! She stands up, quietly looks around her, & has a feeling that she should begin walking in a certain direction! It's almost as if Someone is calling or leading her! A part of the Bible that she has often heard comes to her mind, "The Lord is my Shepherd, He will lead me in the right paths, I will fear no evil." (Psalm 23)
IN JUST A FEW MINUTES SHE FINDS HERSELF OUT OF THE WOODS & BACK ON ANOTHER PART OF THE LAKESIDE!--And there on the other side is Johnny! "Mary! I've been looking everywhere for you!" he calls across the water."Oh Johnny, I was lost!" she answers. "I'm so happy to see you again! But how can I get back to the side of the lake that you're on?"
MARY RUNS TO THE BRIDGE, BUT FINDS THAT IT IS VERY OLD & BROKEN-DOWN. "Oh Johnny, it looks so dangerous!--And there's a big hole in the middle of it!" But she again thinks of Jesus, & how He helped her to find her way back to the lake, so she silently prays, "Dear Jesus, please help me now to safely cross this rickety old bridge!" As she steps onto it, she is not afraid, for she feels as if some Unseen Hands are holding her up! Johnny also reaches out his arms to help her. "Oh Johnny!" she exclaims, "I'm so sorry for running away! It's so good to be with you again! I've got to tell you what happened when I prayed!"
THE BEAUTIFUL WINGED WOMAN IN OUR PICTURE WHO IS HELPING MARY ACROSS THE BRIDGE is her unseen Guardian Angel who is with her all of the time!--The reason Mary felt such a calm & peace as soon as she stopped & prayed to Jesus for help & was able to so quickly find her way out of the woods is because Jesus used this wonderful Heavenly Protector & Guardian to comfort & lead her!
THE BIBLE SAYS THAT EVERYONE OF GOD'S CHILDREN HAS THEIR OWN PERSONAL GUARDIAN ANGEL, a special Angel whose job is to personally watch over & take care of you! They are called Guardian Angels because their job is to guard & protect you!
GOD'S ANGELS NEVER EVER SLEEP OR LEAVE OUR SIDES, BUT WATCH OVER US ALL THE TIME, night & day! They are always with us to guide us & to try to help us make the right decisions & choices.--But they don't make us do things, because God almost always lets us choose what to do. Of course, when we make a bad choice, like Mary did when she disobeyed her parents & went too far away & played too close to the lake, we usually get ourselves into trouble, just like she did! But as soon as she asked Jesus to forgive & help her, He used her Guardian Angel to lead her back to safety!
DO YOU HAVE A HEAVENLY GUARDIAN ANGEL WHO LOVINGLY WATCHES OVER & CARES FOR YOU?--A wonderful Heavenly Helper who never leaves your side? If you're not sure, you can be sure! All you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart, & He & His Angels will lovingly care for you for the rest of your life!
JESUS WILL COME INTO YOUR HEART RIGHT NOW if you will simply pray this little prayer: "Dear Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God & that You died for me & now live again. Please forgive me for all of the times I have been bad & for all of the wrong I have done. I now open the door of my heart, Jesus, & I ask You to please come into my heart & give me Your free Gift of Eternal Life so I can go to Heaven!--And please give me a Heavenly Guardian Angel to always be with me! In Jesus' name I pray, amen!"