Ministry Resources

Chapter 10: Are You Okay?

The whole weekend flew by for Ezri and Eli.

Their heads swirled from all the great things that had happened to them the week before. When Ezri woke up that Monday morning, she knelt beside her bed and asked Jesus to use her in some special way that day. With that simple prayer in place, anticipation filled her heart. She strapped her T2U watch on her wrist and headed to the breakfast table.

As Ezri and Eli met up at the table, Elijah put down the newspaper he was reading so he could spend time with the kids.

“So, got a big day ahead of you?”

“Well,” Ezri spoke up quickly, “I’m praying that Jesus will send someone my way today that I can help or be friends to.”

“That’s great, Ezri. What about you, Eli?”

“I can’t wait to tell my story to Zach, the new kid I met last week,” said Eli.

“What do you mean by ‘tell him your story?’” asked Elijah.

“You know, my story of how Jesus came into my life. I thought that if I could be a good friend to Zach and help him with all the junk he’s going through, I might lead him to Jesus. So I prayed about it, and Jesus let me know I should start by telling Zach how I became a Christian.”

The three continued their conversation as they sat eating breakfast in the quiet of the morning—eagerly anticipating whatever the Lord and their T2U’s had in store for them that day.

Near the end of the school day, Ezri’s mood had changed. She had gone through the entire school day without anything special happening. Her T2U remained silent, and she saw nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, Ezri was becoming discouraged.

The bell rang for the final class period. Ezri gathered her things, put them in her backpack, and headed down the hall. From a distance she saw Eli talking with his new friend, Zach.

Who would have ever thought that just last week that kid was out to get Eli? Ezri wondered in amazement. Now look at them, talking to one another like they’re best friends.

Ezri turned the corner and walked past the girls’ restroom. For some reason, she felt like she should stop. Ezri paused for a moment then stopped. She then realized how odd it must seem to just stand there in front of the restroom, so she began to walk again. Ezri took five more steps, and her T2U began to vibrate like crazy. Ezri looked down at the T2U and noticed light gleaming out between the cracks of the cover. Afraid someone would notice something unusual going on, Ezri quickly slipped into the girls’ restroom, checked that no one was around, then pushed a side button on the T2U to reveal the screen.

Words scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and Ezri read the message:

“Romans 12:10-13: ‘Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves….’” Then these words appeared in bold letters, “SHARE WITH MY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED.”

Ezri’s heart skipped a beat. She was so excited, she almost let out a yell. She knew something good for Jesus was about to happen. Covering her mouth to keep from squealing, she noticed a muffled sound coming from one of the toilet stalls. Her hand dropped to her side, and she stepped closer to the stall. Soft sniffles and weeping became clear. As Ezri quietly listened to the crying, she heard a girl’s voice whispering over and over again, “Why? Why? Why?”

Ezri’s sense of joy was overcome with a feeling of concern. Poor girl. I wonder what’s wrong. Should I say something? I don’t want to get in her way, but she sounds so upset.

“I can’t do this alone,” said the voice behind the door.

Ezri took that as her cue to do something. It didn’t take a brain like her dad to figure out this one. She quietly spoke, “Hello. Are … are you okay?”

Ezri heard a sudden thud and realized she must have startled the girl behind the door. After a moment of silence, the girl said, “Who … who’s there?”

“It’s just me, Ezri … Ezri Kendrick-Gonzalez. Are you okay?”

Ezri waited silently for a few moments, then slowly the stall door opened. A fifth-grade girl she barely knew held the door  open with one hand as she wiped her red eyes with toilet tissue in the other hand.

“Can I help you?” asked Ezri. The girl stood in the doorway of the stall, a look of grief covering her face. She barely made it one step out of the stall before she buried her head in her hands and began to cry.

Ezri ran to the girl and cradled her in her arms. “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid to cry. It’ll be okay.”

The girl simply sobbed even harder. Ezri could feel the girl’s warm body and her heart pounding. Though the girl was almost a stranger, Ezri held her in her arms as though she were a sister she had known her entire life.

Ezri rubbed the girl’s back to comfort her; she didn’t know what to say, so she just kept silent.

The sob of crying calmed to a series of soft moans. After a while, Ezri said: “I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know God sent me here to help you.”

The girl looked up at Ezri through her blood-shot eyes. “What did you just say?”

“I said that I don’t know what you’re going through, but God sent me here to help you,” Ezri responded.

“How can that be?” asked the girl.

“Well-” began Ezri, but the girl interrupted Ezri, “I can’t believe it.”

“What can’t you believe?” asked Ezri.

After a moment of silence, the girl explained, “Well…” she paused then began again, “I … I was just about to explode this morning when I woke up. I was so mad at the world that I yelled out, ‘God, if You’re really there, if You really care, then prove it!’”

“Why are you so angry?” asked Ezri in concern.

The girl stepped back a little from Ezri: “It’s a long story. About six months ago the doctors told my mom she was going to die…that she had cancer. Ever since then, she’s just gotten worse. Now my dad is falling apart. Sometimes I find him in the back yard late at night, crying to himself so Mom and I won’t see him. I’m so lonely for Mom, even though she’s still with us, that I want to die.”

“You know,” Ezri began to speak then stopped. “Sorry, but I don’t even know your name.”

“LaRhonda,” the girl said as she wiped away tears streaming down her beautiful brown skin.

“LaRhonda, I’m so sorry about your mom. I lost my mom too.”

“You did?” exclaimed the slender girl in surprise.

“Yeah. She died giving birth to me and my twin brother. I never got to see her. You know, LaRhonda, you may never believe this, but I came into the restroom only because God wanted me to. He brought me here to tell you He loves you.”

“But what do you mean? He doesn’t know me. How could He love me?”

“Did you know,” Ezri began, “that God loves you and knew you when you were still being formed in your mother’s belly? The Bible, which is God’s Word, says that He knew all the days He had planned for you even before you were born.”

“You’re kidding,” interrupted LaRhonda.

“No,” Ezri continued, “and in fact, God says in the Bible that He knows everything about us—what we’re thinking, what we’re going to say before we speak a word, where we’re going, and what we’re doing. He even knows the number of hairs on our heads. He loves us so much; He wants to know everything about us.”

“So, how can God know all that about me, plus all the billions of others on earth?” asked LaRhonda.

“Because He’s God,” responded Ezri. “He created the entire universe. He knows everything. He can be with you and with me and with everyone, and know exactly what’s happening to each of us at the same time. God loves you so much, LaRhonda, He even sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for you and me.”

LaRhonda was startled. “Say what? Why would Jesus die for me?”

“Because God wants to have a personal relationship with you and wants you to live with Him forever in heaven one day. And the only way He could let us be with Him was for Jesus to die for us. I know that’s hard to imagine. But you can start by first believing that God cares about you so much He brought me here to help you. So … can I help you?”

“I don’t know,” LaRhonda said, looking sad again. “I just want my mom to be okay. I want my family to be normal again. I’m the only kid Dad has, and now I feel like I can’t do it all alone.”

“You don’t have to,” explained Ezri. ”God will be there for you and with you … if you’ll let Him. And, well, I know that we’ve really just met, but I kind of feel like I’ve known you forever. Could we be friends?”

Isn’t that just like God? That very morning Ezri had prayed the Lord would use her in a special way, and He did—with perfect timing. He led her into the restroom at the right moment. The T2U text message wasn’t just an accident. Ezri was about to make a new friend during the time of greatest need in LaRhonda’s life. God’s perfect timing!

Let’s Talk

  1. One of the greatest tragedies in life is losing a loved one. It’s even harder if you’re a child who has lost or is losing a mom or dad. Knowing other people who are going through the sadness of death can be uncomfortable. If you had been in Ezri’s shoes, do you think you could have shown such compassion to another kid at school who was losing his or her mom?
  2. Sometimes things happen in life that just seems unfair. Has anything ever happened to you that didn’t seem fair? Now imagine how someone who doesn’t have Jesus might deal with unfair things that happen to them. How can you show more compassion to other kids at school who may be hurting or have even lost someone they loved?
  3. Did you notice how Ezri was used in a place and a time she was least looking to be used by God? Part of God using us means trying to listen to His voice at all times—even when we’re in the middle of doing something else.
  4. Let’s pray that we can show compassion and God’s love to everyone. Did you know that when we have a willing heart to be used by God, we can more easily hear Him speak to us? Would you like to be a kid whom God can greatly use to show His love to the world? Do you have anything else you’d like to pray about when we go to God in prayer?
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