“Did you hear about the plane crash, Grandpa?” Edward asked, bursting into the room.
“And a lot of people died,” said Sammy. “Wasn’t that bad?”
“It can be bad, but if we love God He can work those things for good,” Grandpa said. Then he leaned back and said, “Do you want to hear another true story? I will call it—
The Way of Escape
(Reference: Matthew 2.)
There lived in Bethlehem two children, whom I will call Amon and Jerusha. It was the year of the Roman taxing and Father’s smith shop bustled with strangers. All day Amon helped Father in the shop and Jerusha watched the baby Meshak or ran errands for Mother. Every evening Father gathered the family to read the Scriptures. The children loved the stories about Moses and God leading His people.
“The Lord has promised to send us the Messiah,” Father would say. “He will be our Prince, and He will be born in Bethlehem.” Many stories were told of His coming, but the strangest one Amon heard as he opened shop one morning.
“James, the shepherd boy, said that he saw the Savior. He was born last night and is lying in a manger back of the inn!” he told Jerusha. “He said angels in bright robes sang to them on the hillside. Do you think it is true?”
“Oh, let us go see,” Jerusha said. “Who knows? Moses came in a basket boat, remember?” They hurried through the crowded inn yard and out back to the stable. He was there, sleeping quietly when his mother lifted the blanket for them to peek in. They walked home quietly, wondering. Could this baby really be the Messiah?
Days and weeks passed, and the strangers settled in a house down the street. Then one day Jerusha saw a procession of camels come into town. She and Amon watched as it stopped in front of the stranger’s house! Several richly dressed men got down with great excitement and went inside. “Why have you come?” Amon asked a servant boy.
“To see the King of the Jews—we followed his star all the way here,” he said.
Amon and Jerusha looked at each other with surprise. What did this mean?
“A King for us?” Mother doubted. “He is such a little boy, only the size of Meshak.”
“He is the Savior, as the shepherds said,” Father said confidently. “What was the angel’s song? ‘Peace on earth, good will to men!’ He is our Prince of Peace.”
It was the talk of Bethlehem for several days, and everyone was filled with excitement. That is, until the day King Herod’s soldiers marched into town.
What horrible things happened then! Jerusha heard the screams. “They are killing the babies—all of them under two years old!” the inn-keeper’s wife cried.
“Why, oh, why?!” Mother clung to little Meshak, but they snatched him away.
“They’re after the baby King—I heard them say so,” Amon cried, amid the wailing. The baby King? Jerusha was off running up the street, her heart pounding. How could God let this happen to them? If this was the promised Messiah—the words stuck in her throat as she pounded on their door. The house was empty.
But they haven’t got Him, Jerusha thought. A ray of gladness came to her heart then. God was bigger than all those terrible things—He hadn’t let them get caught. And in her sadness Jerusha knew that the Prince of Peace had come. She must tell the others. The God that kept Him safe could take care of them now.
“Ohhh,” said Sammy with a sigh. “How sad that was!”
“I don’t like it when sad things happen like that,” Alice said, leaning against Grandpa’s shoulder.
“But God took care of Jesus,” said Edward. “He warned them to escape at night, didn’t He?”
“Yes,” said Grandpa. “God did take care of them. And even when all those families lost their little babies, don’t you think God still cared?”
The children were quiet, and finally Alice said, “How? It seemed so terrible.”
“But terrible things happen to everyone,” said Grandpa. “He is our Prince of Peace because He has promised to never forsake us, that He is bigger than the terrible things. When everything goes wrong, God is still there to care for us and help us.”
“He’s bigger than anything, especially mean old King Herod!” said Edward.
“I’m glad,” said Sammy, snuggling close under Grandpa’s arm.