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“Grandpa?” asked Alice, “Can you tell us a story? Please?”

“Well, I think I can.” And Grandpa shut his eyes and thought. Then he said, “This story is about two people who lived in different countries and in different times, but they both loved God and wanted to do right. It is called

True Freedom

(Reference: Genesis 37, 39-47; John Bunyan.)

Imagine you were a boy growing up in a big family. There were twelve sons, and you were nearly the youngest, but your father loved you best of all. You were a bit spoiled and not very smart, and so you got into trouble with your ten older brothers. You tattled when they got into trouble, and you told them stories of how you would be “boss” one day. Of course they didn’t like you, Daddy’s little pet, and they got crosser and meaner all the time.

You didn’t think about it too much until the day when you went to Dothan to see how your brothers were doing with your father’s sheep. All of a sudden you were grabbed by the arms by the two biggest of them, your coat was pulled off, and you were thrown in a deep dark hole. Your heart beat wildly as you heard their voices talk overhead. They didn’t care about you at all, and they were planning to get rid of you! What will happen now? You shivered in the dark and thought of Daddy and the others at home. Who will take care of me now?

You saw how much trouble you had caused. But you knew God, and you prayed. You prayed to love and be good, and not be afraid whatever might happen. Soon you were tied up and sold as a slave, but you had freedom in your heart. Poor brothers that stood with the silver coins! They had chains of anger and wrongdoing making them slaves inside. But you were free, because God was taking care of you. Your name was Joseph, and because you trusted in God you were able to help save many people from starving.

Imagine being a man that had lived selfishly and meanly. You used terrible words, and didn’t take care of your family. Finally you saw how wrong you were and prayed for God to forgive you. You were terribly afraid that He wouldn’t, but He did. He showed you how He loved you, and taught you to be good. You must tell others about God, about how good it was to serve Him!

But the king was not happy with you and said, “You have disobeyed the law. Don’t you know that you can’t tell about God unless I say so?” You were cast into the prison with the rats and stinking straw. What would happen to your family now? Should you obey the king or God? You prayed to God for help to follow Him, and you knew that He would take care of you. Though you sat in the prison many years, you were free in your heart because you did what you knew was right. Your name was John Bunyan, and because you trusted in God you were able to write Pilgrim’s Progress.

“We have Pilgrim’s Progress tapes,” said Edward excitedly, as Grandpa finished the story. “Remember? Aunt Beulah sent them to us, and I like them very much.”

“And maybe John Bunyan wouldn’t have written that story except the Lord allowed him to be imprisoned. God’s way is hard for us to understand sometimes, but it is always best,” said Grandpa.

“Did he have to stay in prison all the time?” asked Sammy.

“I read about John Bunyan,” said Alice. “He had to stay in prison for twelve years, and he wrote more books, too.”

“What about Joseph?” Grandpa asked. “Do you remember what happened to him?”

“He had the coat of many colors,” said Sammy.

“That’s the coat that his brothers took away when they threw him in the pit,” added Edward. “And they said that a wild animal had eaten him. They were really mean.”

“But Joseph forgave them, even though he had to work hard and be a slave,” said Alice. “It was probably good for him, because he was so spoiled before.”

“I don’t want to be spoiled and thrown in a pit,” said Sammy.

“No,” said Grandpa with a chuckle, “but if you were, you would want to trust God anyway, and obey Him no matter what, right?”

“Uh-hmm,” Sammy agreed with a nod.