Below is a fictional story that was inspired by a chapter in the Bible. Stories can be a great tool for Bible teachers to use to engage their students in active learning. Before you get to the end of the story, see if you can guess what Biblical event inspired this story
The Jeremy Blinker Story
Jeremy Blinker eased into his favorite chair to get ready to watch the game. Jeremy looked around his family room and admired the beauty and comfort of their home. Jeremy and his wife, Sharon, had bought the house seven years ago and now it was paid off. Jeremy was fifty years old, and he had just retired. He had been an investment banker for ten years and had done extremely well. Now Jeremy could focus on his children and his art: painting and sculpting. He was very proud of what he had accomplished, but he often worried that somehow it would all come to an end. Sharon was a radio talk show host and was active in the church.
“Daddy, are you watching football again? It’s Tuesday night.” Jeremy’s seven year old daughter, Makaria, exclaimed as she climbed into his lap.
“Yes, baby, the football schedule has been crazy this year because of the coronavirus.” Jeremy pulled her up into his arms. Makaria was Jeremy’s oldest child. He and Sharon had two other kids, Jeremy Jr. and Summer.
“Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and now Tuesday,” Makaria slapped a hand to her forehead, “don’t you ever get sick of football?”
“You forgot Thursday night football,” Jeremy laughed as he tickled his daughter. “But I don’t think I ever get sick of football. What are you up to, Makaria?”
“I have a school project.” Makaria turned to her father and grabbed his faced and said, “Daddy what was it like for you when you were growing up?”
It was a question Jeremy dreaded. He avoided talking about his childhood, so shameful, and so much wasted time, he thought. Sharon was always saying he needed to talk about it and that other people needed to hear his story. Jeremy hated telling it.
Jeremy’s earliest memory was of being hungry, cold, and afraid. He was younger than Makaria and he was waiting for his mother to pick him up from school, but she never showed up. The school cafeteria manager saw him sitting on the curb, and she gave Jeremy a ride to his Aunt Susan’s house, where they were staying.
“We moved around a lot. We didn’t have very much.”
“We never had our own place to live. We were wanderers.”
Why? That question had haunted Jeremy most of his life. His parents were tall, but Jeremy knew they felt small in their own eyes. They were always afraid, and that they didn’t trust anyone for long.
Sharon had said, “Fear and distrust kept your parents going in circles. They never got anywhere. You suffered for it, but God was always protecting you, Jeremy.”
Jeremy didn’t feel protected.
“My parents didn’t find good jobs. They never had much money. So they never had their own place when I was young.”
“Where did you live, Daddy? Did you have any toys?” Jeremy could hear the sadness in Makaria’s voice.
“We stayed with different relatives and I had a few toys.” Jeremy didn’t want Makaria to know how much danger he felt as a child.
Once, when Jeremy was eight, they stayed with his older sister, Sandy. Jeremy recalled the terror he felt one night. He was sleeping on the couch, but woke up when Sandy’s boyfriend came in and put his hand on Jeremy’s leg. Jeremy pretended to be asleep and as the man began reaching under the blanket, his mother and Sandy came home. The boyfriend jumped up and left.
As a teenager, Jeremy and his mother lived in a downtown shelter for a while. One day, Jeremy’s father dropped him off at a suburban community center for a sports banquet, but no one picked him up afterwards. Jeremy walked back into the city. That night a group of boys chased him out of their subdivision. Jeremy ran as fast as he could; he knew they would beat the crap out of him, if they caught him.
“Did you ever have your own room when you were growing up?”
“No, honey, I didn’t have my own room until I went to college, and that was a miracle.”
Mr. Richland, Jeremy’s eleventh grade English teacher had asked, “Jeremy, what college are you going to?”
“I’m not going to college. I got no money,” Jeremy said to his teacher.
“Jeremy,” Mr. Richland said, “you are going to college. Your grades and test scores are too good. You’re going to get a full ride scholarship.”
When Jeremy told his parents what Mr. Richland had said they laughed and his Dad said, “Boy, they’d eat you alive in college and take all your money.”
Jeremy thought bitterly that his Dad had never believed in anything, especially not in his son.
School counselors and teachers helped Jeremy with college applications, and Jeremy secured a full scholarship. He did well in college for three years until he learned that his parents had been beaten to death by another homeless man. Jeremy dropped out; he had been driven to prove his Dad wrong. After his father passed away, Jeremy lost motivation. He didn’t return for fifteen years.
Sharon encouraged Jeremy to complete his degree. She said, “Baby, don’t let your light go out.”
In three years, Jeremy completed two bachelor’s degrees in business and finance and a master’s degree in financial management. He was forty years old. He married Sharon the next year.
Makaria looked at her father and she reached up and felt his wet eyes and said, “Daddy, are you sad?”
Your assignment is to read Numbers 13-14 and Deuteronomy 8. Then think about the discussion questions. Please comment, let me know your thoughts. This story was inspired by the Israelites wandering in the desert.
1. Did you guess the Biblical event?
2. Compare the stories of Jeremy and Israelites. Similarities? Differences?
3. How did God protect the Israelites in the wilderness?
4. What was God trying to teach the Israelites?
5. Was Sharon correct when she said God had protected Jeremy? How?
6. How is Jeremy feeling at the end of this story? Sad? Happy? Some other emotion?
7. What does Jeremy still need to learn in order to cope better with his past?