Dara: The Little Girl Who Drew Near To Jesus

My name is Dara. I am eight years old and I have a younger brother, Seth, who is five. Sometimes I see my friend, Yoby, who lives in a two room house in Jericho. One time when we were playing dolls, she turned to me and said, "I feel sorry for you because you live in such a tiny house. You must be poor."

I had never thought about being poor but decided that Yoby was probably right. I felt sorry for Yoby because she had no brothers or sisters, and I had Seth to play with. Sometimes Mother would take Seth and me down to the edge of the Jordan River to play. I would build a sand house with two rooms like Yoby's and imagine that Seth and I had lots of room to play.

Today my mother took Seth and me with her to a hillside near the river to listen to a teacher named Jesus. The crowd was still gathering when Mother took Seth and me by the hand to try to get closer to Jesus. Other mothers were trying to get closer with their children too.

When we were just a short distance from Jesus, Mother, still holding our hands, kneeled down between Seth and me. Then she placed Seth's hand in mine and said, "Dara, I want you to take Seth with you and walk up beside Jesus. People have told me He will bless you, and things will be better."

I was scared, but I squeezed Seth's hand tightly and pretended to be brave so that Seth wouldn't be afraid. As I pulled Seth along through a group of men, all I could see were sandals and robes of blue, green, red, and purple. Then one man yelled out, "Go on! Get out of here! This is no place for children!"

Now I was really scared! When Seth could see that I was frightened, he began to cry. One of the men on the edge of the group knelt down and took both Seth's and my hand. He said, "My name is Andrew. Don't be afraid. Judas, the one yelling at you, doesn't understand about children."

Still holding our hands, Andrew led us to a nearby rock and said, "Here, you sit awhile with me so you can see Jesus."

Seth's gaze was fixed on Andrew. His crying stopped, and he began to smile because Andrew was smiling at him.

I turned to watch Jesus. He was bigger than the other men. I kept looking at His eyes, for they sparkled in a way that made me know that He must love Seth and me. In a little while, He raised His arms and reached out toward the children and their mothers saying, "Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as they."

The kingdom part I didn't understand, but I knew that Jesus wanted me to come to Him. So I pulled Seth by the hand and walked right up beside Jesus where He was sitting on a big rock. When I leaned against His leg, He picked up Seth and sat him on His lap. He put one hand on Seth's head and His other one on me. I glanced at Seth. He was smiling. Then I looked up at Jesus as He said, "Bless you and thank you for bringing your brother so I could bless him too."

"Since we have been blessed, will we no longer be poor?"

"Now you will be rich in love, and someday you will understand that this is more important than a two room house."

I turned to hurry back to Mother to share the good news. As we drew near she knelt down to greet us. When I told her that Jesus said, "We are going to be rich in love," she began to cry. Seth looked bewildered, for Mother never cried. Soon he was crying too.

"Mother, why are you crying? Are you sad?"

As her strong arms gathered Seth and me to her breast, she said, "No, dear, I am overcome with happiness." Then Mother placed Seth's hand in hers and held my hand tightly with her other as we began our journey back to our tiny home so full of love.

Based on Mark 10:13-16.

Copyright 1997 by John C. Westervelt

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