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Joel

God Shows Himself Through A Rabbit

Joel

Joel and Snowball

Little did Joel know when he had to get rid of one of his bunnies that God was getting ready to show Himself as the loving Father that He is. Many times we think that we are doing exactly what God wants us to do, but when God confirms that, it is truly a blessing. As you read this story about a boy and his rabbit you will be as convinced as I am that there is a God in Heaven who truly does want to bless those who are faithful to Him by giving them the desires of their hearts.

Joel lives in Anchorage, Alaska with his parents and his brother and sister. Last year Joel was in a split class in school of third and fourth graders. It was somewhat of a shock to learn that there was a very serious problem with pornography in the classroom. Even though interest in this type of thing is common with guys his age, Joel knew it was wrong and took his stand as a Christian and did not follow his fellow classmates down this road of youthful lust. As a result, Joel did not have many friends. However, he knew that he had a friend in Jesus that was always with him.

This summer, Joel had to get rid of his rabbit when it started biting people. That was a hard thing to do but his parents assured him that he could get another bunny. His neighbors were going on vacation and had asked Joel to mow their lawn while they were gone. He knew that would give him enough money to buy a new bunny. Joel could hardly wait for the neighbors to return so he could get paid and he would be able to get his new pet. However, when they did return he was greatly disappointed when they did not offer to pay him a thing.

With the little money he had, Joel and his family took off in hopes of finding a bunny. There are perhaps a couple dozen pet shops around the Anchorage area and Joel soon found the little bunny that he really loved. This bunny was in the top cage above two other cages all of which were full of the furry friends waiting for someone to come along and give them a new home. Joel picked out the one he wanted and held it gently there in the store. Yes, of all of the bunnies, this was the one. However Joel’s heart was broken when he found that the little bunny cost more than what he had. Disappointed again, Joel put the bunny back in its cage.

Joe’s parents didn’t know what to do. Should they give him the rest of the money he needed? Should they loan him the money and have him pay them back as he was able to earn the money? Or is this just one of those times when you have to learn that sometimes life is hard and you will have heartaches and disappointments? Is this one of the times when Joel was to learn that sometimes we don’t always get what we want? Was God trying to teach a lesson in patience?

The next few days were not easy. Joel felt as though he was taken advantage of with the lawn mowing deal. He really expected to get paid. What could he do now to get the money he needed before someone else came along and bought the bunny?

My family and I had arrived in Anchorage Thursday and were scheduled to do programs at a church on Sunday. Although everyone knew what they were going to be doing in the programs, I had not yet decided which of two endings I was going to use. Everyone loves it when a magician produces a rabbit but because of the high cost of putting a rabbit on a plane, I had not brought my rabbit.

The team was only going to be at the one church before flying on to Kodiak. Arrangements had been made for a rabbit in Kodiak and to buy a rabbit in Anchorage would require finding it a home after only being used at one church. Because a rabbit was going to be used in Kodiak, the equipment needed to produce a rabbit was in Anchorage. I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I spend the extra money just for one church and then have the hassle of trying to find someone to give the rabbit to? Sure, there are always LOTS of kids who would love to have a free bunny but you still need to find parents who are willing to allow the kid to have it. Is it worth it?

On Friday, I looked at the rabbits at one pet store. They didn’t have exactly what I wanted and it was a bit more than I wanted to pay for one. Besides, the kids won’t know what they are missing. It will still be a good program anyway. Yet in my heart, I knew that the program would be that much better with a rabbit.

By Saturday the decision was made, give the kids the best program you can even if it does cost more money and it might be difficult finding someone willing to adopt a free rabbit without notice. This is not the first time that I have bought a rabbit in Anchorage so I knew of another place to look. As soon as Vicky and I entered this pet store and saw all of the rabbits they had, we knew right away that the little white bunny in the top cage would be perfect. However there wasn’t a price on the cage so we didn’t know how much it was going to cost. We asked the price and even though it was more than we would have liked to have paid, we figured the kids were worth it so we took it anyway. The clerk said that the bunny was real gentle and that a family had been in the week before and held the bunny a lot.

The store employee found a box to put the little bunny in, a bag of food was added and we went to the check out. When they got there the store manager was at the cash register. She asked about the little bunny and we shared with her that it was going to be used to present the Gospel at a church the next day and then we would be giving it away. The manager proceeded to ring up the sale and said she was going to take $5.00 off of the cost of the rabbit. That was not necessary but it certainly was appreciated.

There are over two hundred churches in the Anchorage area. Over the years, I have done programs at many of them. However because the team was to fly to Kodiak Sunday afternoon, they would only be available for one church on each end of the trip. I had been at Change Point in October last year and made them my first contact for this trip. They were quick to accept the offer to have the team do programs for the children during all four of their services.

I knew that by the end of that last service, I had to find someone who was willing to take the rabbit. Finding a kid to take it would be easy but remember, it is the parents that you need to convince. I had planned to announce at the end of each service the need to find a home for the bunny but in the excitement of things, I forgot to make that announcement at the end of the first service. That mistake cost me 25% of the opportunity to find a home for the rabbit.

The program was no sooner over when a young man came up to me and started telling me all about the rabbit I used. He told me that he had held that rabbit before. That it was in the top cage with a lot of other rabbits at a certain pet shop. He said that he had to get rid of one of his rabbits and wanted to get this one but couldn’t because he didn’t have enough money. Finally I’m starting to realize that I may have someone here that could provide a home for the bunny. I asked him if he wanted the rabbit. Of course he did, what kid wouldn’t. So I asked if his mom or dad were there and if he could get one of them?

I knew I only had a few minutes to repack my magic things before the next service started so I got to work on that as Vicky held the rabbit. It wasn’t long before Joel showed up with his mother and she tried telling me the story. At that point I knew that I had a home for the bunny but there was still a lot of details that needed to be worked out. I still had three more services to do. So I had Joel’s mother and Vicky exchange information as to how to get the rabbit to them, etc. while I continued to get ready for the next service. It wasn’t until we were on our way to the airport that evening that I got the whole story and what had happened started to really sink in.

One of the things I learned is that Joel’s family usually goes to the third service not the first. Why were they at the first service that day? There are a lot of questions that need answers. Here are a few.

How many pet stores are there in the Anchorage area?

How many pet stores have rabbits?

How many rabbits were at that “one” store?

Why did Joel pick out this rabbit when he was at the store days before?

Why did we pick out this rabbit the day we went in?

There are over 200 churches in the Anchorage area. Why were we at Joel’s church?

Why didn’t I make the announcement that the rabbit needed a home?

How many kids would have wanted the rabbit if I had made that announcement?

Of those kids, would Joel have been the one selected to get it?

Joel’s family usually go to the third service. What if I had made the announcement in either or both of the first two services and had already found a home for the rabbit by the time he got there?

The only answers I can come up with are these. There is a God in Heaven who is concerned about every detail of our life. He wants to bless those who are faithful to Him. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. He really is in control. He wants to awe us with the details of His hand at work. He can use even the smallest rabbit to show how big He is.

Let the true story of Joel and Snowball be a life lesson that the same God who did this, is at work in your life. Many times we are not aware of what He is doing. It is times like this that our hearts are blessed to see who He really is.

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