“What’s taking Dad so long? He’s been in there a half hour!” I heard Stephen say to my mom.
“He’s probably talking to someone,” I remarked and went back to sleep.
When Dad finally returned to the van, he told us what had happened.
As he entered the gas station, instead of finding a bored-looking employee behind the counter, he was surprised to be greeted warmly by a bright and cheery junior high boy who was buffing the floor. “I hope the restrooms were clean! How far do you have to go?”
Dad made a few friendly comments in return, and then left. After taking about 10 steps out the door it hit him, “I should have given that kid a dinosaur booklet!”
As Dad re-entered the store, the boy shut off his buffer.
“Here, I thought you might be interested in this. We’re trying to reeducate the country. We don’t think we came from monkeys,” Dad said. (That’s the “standard line” Dad uses when he gives these little Creation Science booklets away.)
“Monkeys?” the boy asked, looking confused.
“We believe the Bible supports Genesis,” my dad replied.
“Genesis? What’s Genesis?” he asked.
“It’s the first book of the Bible,” my dad explained.
“Oh! I should have known that.” the young man answered. “I was just confirmed yesterday. Catholic, I think.”
Shocked, my dad realized he needed to say more.
He continued, “Well, the world wants us to think that we just came from nowhere, but the Bible says that God created the world. People don’t want to admit this because they don’t want to deal with God. But the truth is that there is evidence in every area of science that is consistent with—and supports— Genesis. Did you know that there are sea shells in the rock strata of every high mountain including Mt. Everest?
Now the boy was shocked. I’m not sure if he was more surprised by hearing about sea shells on Mt. Everest or by the fact that he was getting a science lesson from a customer at 11 pm.
“So how could the shells possibly get there?” my dad asked him. “The Bible says that there was a worldwide flood. And the geologic evidence all over the world indicates that the geology of this planet was formed by a flood. In every area of science, the evidence is consistent with the Bible and not with evolution.”
The boy smiled with what seemed to be eager interest. “The real issue is God,” my dad said, realizing that what he really needed right now was the gospel, not a science lesson.
“Whether Catholic or Protestant, we both believe that God created man and that man has sinned. That’s the heart of the matter. God wants us to live forever in heaven but we can’t because we have sinned. And being good alone isn’t the answer because we could never be good enough. We would have to be perfect, and that’s impossible.”
The boy agreed.
“The solution is that God needs to forgive us. But to do that, somehow sin has to be taken care of. If God punished us for our sin it would destroy us, so He can’t do that.”
Again the young man smiled and nodded in agreement.
So my dad said, “The only one who can receive God’s punishment and not be destroyed is God Himself! That is what the cross is all about. God created man, then became man so He could die for us. It’s actually really simple.”
At this point, having given him the basics, my dad switched gears. “You need to read the Bible,” my dad told him. “It would be good to start by reading John. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. It’s at the beginning of the New Testament.)
The boy went over to the counter, got a blank receipt from the cash register, and wrote “J-O-N.” He looked up, “Ok, and you said that’s in the New Testiment?” He wrote “N-E-W T-E-S-T-A-M-E-N-T.”
My dad was thinking to himself, “Boy, he really is a beginner! He still needs a lot more information, but I can’t stay and talk. Anyway, he’s supposed to be working. So he said, “Read the book of John and pray. Ask God to give you the eternal life He is talking about there in John.”
In addition to his friendliness, the boy also seemed serious and mature. Perhaps, even though he knew so little about spiritual things, he did have some interest in knowing the one true God (since he said he had just been confirmed the day before.) Perhaps the Lord was now providing some information to bring his knowledge equal with his interest. When one responds to the light he has been given, God will give more light.
The boy asked my dad a few questions about himself. “No I didn’t teach school,” Dad replied, “But we do try to help families. And we teach about God and the Bible. The Bible is our wisdom. It’s God’s book.”
Not wanting to overload this boy with too much to think about all at once, my dad left, reminding him to read John and pray about what he read. Our family has been praying for him.