Characters’ flaws help us relate

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

I was visiting the other day with some parents who were leaving on a weekend trip to Six Flags in Texas. Our conversation brought back a flood of memories about Six Flags.

Our youngest daughter, Buffy, was 6 when she got lost at Six Flags in Texas. Charlie and I were sponsors for a church trip for about 80 teenagers and we took our three children along. On that day in June, Six Flags was already crowded. Then late that afternoon, admission rates were reduced so literally swarms of people came through the revolving gates.

Since it was time for us to gather our group and leave, all the sponsors took a head count. We found all the teenagers there but Buffy and five girls.

In a panic, I looked all around for her. The others joined in and glanced over the crowd in every direction. The lines got longer and the crowds got thicker and still no Buffy or the girls. We decided to spread out and look. Our group divided and went in separate directions to meet back in 15 minutes at the entrance.

At that point, I was scared. I could identify with what David said in Psalms 55:4: “My heart is in anguish within me. Stark fear overpowers.”

Where was she? Would we ever find her? The large crowd of people made me think that it was an impossible task.

After about 45 minutes of searching, reporting her missing to the authorities, and two trips to the church bus parked in the parking lot about a mile away, we found her. She was standing with a group of girls who had gone ahead. Buffy greeted us, “Hi, Mom, hi, Dad.” She never realized that anything was amiss. The girls thought they were doing us a favor by taking her with them.

My story was not unlike Mary’s in the Bible when Jesus was a little boy and she lost him in the temple during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
So it is easy to see how Mary and Joseph just assumed that Jesus was in the crowd with the other children.

Yet when night came and they looked around for Jesus, they could not find him. After three days of searching, they found Jesus in the temple discussing spiritual issues with the teachers.

The unique thing about the Bible is that it is honest in its assessment of its characters. The sins, traumas, frustrations and downfalls of its characters are exposed and in that way, we can all relate.

Paul wrote in Romans: “These things that are written in the scriptures so long ago are … to encourage us so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when He will make all things right.”

No matter what we experience, the Bible is on the cutting edge of our lives ever bringing us home to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: