The Missing God
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 16.
veryone knew one another in the small town where Jharendra grew up near the Chinese border in northeastern India. And everyone worshiped one another’s gods. The townspeople worshipped gods of stone and wood. They worshiped Jesus. They worshiped the sun and moon. Whenever a religion had a religious holiday, everyone celebrated together in a temple or in a church or on the street.
One day, 12-year-old Jharendra was browsing in one of the town’s shops, and his eyes were drawn to a beautiful poster of Jesus. The large poster featured a painting of Jesus hanging on the cross. The quality of the poster was very high. Jharendra could see every detail of the painting. He wanted to take it home.
Jharendra didn’t know much about Jesus. All he knew was that Jesus was a Higher Power, a God among the many gods who were worshipped in his town.
He bought the poster.
As he walked home, he wondered where he could put the beautiful poster. He remembered that the family had a special worship room. In the room, the family had framed pictures of a number of gods. Mother went to the room every day to bow down and worship. The other family members also worshiped those gods.
But there was no picture of Jesus in the room. Jharendra decided that he would make up for that oversight by hanging his picture of Jesus on the wall.
So, when he returned home, he took a hammer and a nail that belonged to Father. He was hammering the nail into the poster on the wall of the worship room when Mother came in.
She darted over to Jharendra. Without saying a word, she slapped him on the cheek.
Jharendra felt the sharp pain shoot across his face.
“Why did you slap me?” he asked.
He wanted to know why he was being punished.
“Of course, He is God, but He is not our God,” Mother said, pointing to Jesus. “Take down the picture.”
Jharendra pulled the nail out of the wall and took down the picture as Mother watched. Then Mother left the room.
Jharendra didn’t understand why Mother didn’t want the picture of Jesus among her gods. But he was sure that he shouldn’t throw the picture away or place it in a drawer. He sensed that Jesus was Someone who was worthy of worship and needed to be worshiped. He took the poster, opened the door of the worship room, and stepped outside. Looking at the door, he decided it would be a good place to hang the beautiful picture of Jesus. He took the nail and pounded it into the top of the poster. Stepping back, he admired his work. Maybe Mother wouldn’t allow him to place Jesus among the gods in the worship room, but now he would see Jesus every time he entered the room to worship. Everyone who entered the worship room would see Jesus first.
Even though Jharendra and his family saw Jesus every day after that, Jharendra himself didn’t think much more about Jesus — until he grew much older. During a period of unhappiness, he started reading the Bible and visiting various churches.
A friend, a former Seventh-day Adventist, noticed his interest in Christianity and said to him, “If you want to join a church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has the truth.”
Jharendra went to an Adventist church. He was touched by the sermon and immediately asked the pastor for baptism. He felt convinced that he was in the true church when the pastor replied, “You can only be baptized after Bible studies. We don’t just baptize anyone without Bible studies.”
After baptism, he was ostracized by his family. But he is certain today that he made the right decision.
“I’m the first person in my family to become a Christian,” he said.
A younger brother followed him many years later.
He said facts, not feelings, led him to Jesus, the God above all gods.
“If you choose Christianity or Jesus based on emotions, your journey might end when your feelings get hurt,” he said. “But if you choose Jesus through logic and your principles, your journey will last.”
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help support six schools and two churches in India. Thank you for planning a generous offering on March 30.