Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hermen Eutics, Stickler Killjoy, and Susan Oversimple Have a Friendly Debate on Jeremiah 29:11

I wrote the following story* as the introduction for my Sunday School class on Jeremiah tomorrow: 
Hermione Eutics sat beside her husband’s hospital bed and prayed. Her husband Hermen had been in a serious car accident a few days earlier. He was still in a coma; the prognosis grim. 
There was a knock at the door. She invited her unexpected guests to come in.

As the door opened, two dear church members entered, Stickler Killjoy and Susan Oversimple. Stickler and Susan were both enrolled in the local Bible college, and both attended the college-age Sunday School class taught by Hermen. As two of the senior members of the church, the Eutics loved young-ones like Stickler and Susan as children of their own (though both often tried Hermen’s patience!).

After exchanging hugs, Hermione invited them to have a seat. Stickler asked about the accident, treatment and prognosis. Hermione appreciated his concern and recounted what she could remember.
When she had finished, Susan put her hand on Hermione’s hand and, looking her in the eye, asked, “How are you doing, Mrs. Eutics? How’s your heart? Is your faith strong?” 
Hermoine appreciated this concern as well. Wiping away her tears, she picked up her coffee cup.

“This is one of Hermen’s favorite verses,” she said, holding up the mug so that her guests could read the printing on its side. “Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a  future and a hope.’ If he could speak, I know he would quote it. I’m clinging to this promise. And knowing that the Lord will keep it is what’s bearing me through.” 
The tears had started again, and Hermoine couldn’t go on. 
Seizing a break in the conversation, Stickler, flipping through his Bible to right page, commented, “That’s a great verse, Mrs. Eutics. But, if we read it in context, the previous verse says, ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.’ Really, in context, that promise is for the people of Judah in exile. It’s not really a promise for Christians to claim at all today. Maybe we could find a verse in the New Testament. In Romans 8, it says...” 
Before he could continue, Susan interrupted, “Oh, Stickler, you are a Killjoy! Mrs. Eutics, you go girl! Cling to Jeremiah 29:11 in faith! The Lord does have plans for your welfare, not for evil. That verse goes on to say the Lord will ‘restore your fortunes’ if you call upon him, pray to him, and seek him with all your heart. And I know you’re a woman who does that. So, we know the Lord will give full and complete healing to Mr. Eutics. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Lord gives him even better health than ever before!” 
“Now, Susan,” retorted Stickler, leaning forward in his seat, "I think you’re being Oversimple. We can’t make such applications of a promise made to Jews to Christians today!” 
“No, Stickler,” said Susan, her voice rising, “this is God's Word. If God said it, he’ll do it. He plans to heal Mr. Eutics!” 
“But, he didn’t say that to Christians!” replied Stickler, his face reddening and volume rising to match Susan’s. 
Before they could continue their argument, Hermione interrupted.
“I appreciate the zeal both of you have for God’s Word. However, this might not be the best time or place for that discussion. (Although, I am sure Hermen would join the conversation if he could!)" She said with a smile, kissing each on the cheek and guiding them toward the door.
"I will say this, however: If I know my husbandand after fifty-three years of marriageI certainly dothen I know this: Hermen Eutics would tell’re both wrong!
Why would she say that? You'll have to attend Sunday School to find out!

*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.