PAPA didn't come downstairs this morning, but sent word for Aunt Joy to telephone Dr. Grave.
When we wanted to know if papa was sick, Aunt Joy said he had only forgotten something. When Ned asked if Dr. Grave had it, Aunt Joy laughed and said she thought not; and that if we'd stop and think awhile, we could tell what it was papa had forgotten that made him believe he could be sick. Then we knew what she meant, and Grace said: "Oh, I 'spect he torgot God."
"That's just it," said Aunt Joy; "and now which shall we do, help him to remember, or send for Dr. Grave?"
We all wanted to go up and help him remember; but Aunt Joy said we could sit very quiet and help just as well here. So we kept real still and "'membered for him," Grace said.
After breakfast, black John came down and told us papa was asleep. And not very long after, down came Mr. Papa himself. We all rushed onto him and kissed him, and Grace said:
"Oh, papa! you did 'member, didn't you?"
"Remember what, precious?" said papa.
"'Member God," said Grace.
"Why, darling, I never forgot Him," said papa.
"Was you sick, papa?"
"Yes, I had a dreadful night, and feared I was going to have fever."
"Is you sick now?"
"Well, no; the spell seems to have passed away. I took a little nap this morning, and that helped me out."
"But, papa, didn't you 'member God first?"
"Why, you funny little quiz," said papa, "since you ask such close questions, I believe, just before I dropped off to sleep, a feeling of rest stole over me and God seemed very near."
Grace clapped her hands and said, "At's it, papa; you did 'member."
Then papa wanted to know what Grace meant. So Aunt Joy said that we decided, when he sent down for Dr. Grave, it was God and not the doctor he needed. So we had sent him a loving reminder.
Papa smiled, and said to Grace: "And you think that's what helped me, do you, little one?"
"Don't you, papa?"
"You may think so, if it makes you happy; but I guess the little nap did it," said papa.
Then Aunt Joy told papa he was giving us children an object lesson in unbelief. Papa wanted to know how she made that out. So Aunt Joy said: "They prayed for you to realize God as a present relief; now you admit that you suddenly had ease, and went off to sleep, feeling God's presence. If that nap was God's way of getting you out of pain, why not acknowledge it, and so teach these children
that God's manner of answering them is both natural and easy?"
"It would seem a very sweet lesson; but in case they ask of Him the impossible, and then demand of me why he doesn't answer them, what then?" said papa.
"What is the impossible with God?" asked Aunt Joy.
"Now, I want you to understand that I know God has unlimited power, but at the same time, I have the constant evidence that he does not choose to exercise it at all times," said papa.
"Then the constant evidence you speak of proves Him variable. Now, of course, I can't blame you for not teaching your children to trust in a God you don't consider reliable," said Aunt Joy.
Papa didn't like it one bit 'cause Aunt Joy talked that way to him, and said that he guessed his ideas of God were quite as correct as hers, and he'd like her to prove that God used his power to answer such prayers as we offered.
Aunt Joy laughed right out and said she wouldn't be so foolish as to attempt that, but that Jesus Christ had proven there was nothing too small or too great for the Father to do, for the right asking, from providing a little piece of money to the raising of the dead.
Papa said that was 'cause Jesus was God's Son.
"True," said Aunt Joy; "but did not this Son say to mankind, 'One is your Father, even God'? (John 8:41). If, then, we call God our Father, as we are commanded to do, what must we call ourselves?"
Papa didn't say anything, so Aunt Joy said: "Jesus has told us so much about the Son of God, and how belief on
him or into him will give us the same power to do the Father's works Jesus had."
Papa seemed almost angry, and said, "Why, Joy, are you gone wild, that you should quote Scripture so recklessly? Now, look here, there's Ned; we know Jesus Christ would cure him right up. We also know we may call ourselves the sons of God, but it doesn't help or heal Ned."
Aunt Joy said, "Christ didn't cure people till they had faith enough to ask him to do it."
Papa said, "Well, Ned, she throws the responsibility back onto you. She's a cute one, isn't she?"
But Ned was so still we all looked at him.
Then papa asked him what was the matter.
"O, papa," he said, "I was just thinking I didn't deserve to be cured, for I've never asked it, in the Son's name. I've believed in him in some ways, but never in this way."
Papa looked kind o' funny, and said, "Do you now?"
"I do. Aunt Joy, papa, Trixie and Grace, remember with me."
Then Ned went to his room; he looked so strange when he went out I was 'fraid and so was papa. Papa said, "What can be the matter with the child, he acts and looks so strangely?"
"Let him alone," said Aunt Joy; "he's going to the Father with a son's claim."
Papa said Aunt Joy would make us all lunatics yet.
Grace wanted to know if we'd be like " 'ood ticks" then.
Aunt Joy laughed and said, "Yes, the G-oodest kind of ticks."
Ned didn't come down to dinner; papa declared "something was wrong with the boy," but Aunt Joy said, "Let him alone; he's having an experience."
When Aunt Joy and Grace and I were alone, she said: "Now, children, Ned has never thought about asking the Father to show him the perfect Ned. I have been waiting for him to take this attitude of mind. I did not urge it, for I left that with Him who knows best. But now that Ned waits for the command to go free, let us sit here and say:
"'Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou hearest me always.'"