All the Ice Cream You Want
A long, long time ago in the early 1900s, a little girl named Virginia had trouble falling asleep. She was beyond excited for the Fourth of July. The town celebration was going to include all the ice cream you could eat, and this was almost beyond her imagination. She’d been looking forward to it for days.
Virginia’s family was poor – really poor, and eating as much ice cream as she wanted would be a dream come true.
In the morning, Virginia’s older sisters walked into town, but she waited to ride in with her parents.
“When are we gonna leave?” she asked her dad while she hopped from one foot to the other in anticipation.
“Well,” he said in his southern drawl, “I have a few things I need to get done first.”
Slowly, the morning dragged by, and Virginia asked her dad at least a dozen times more. “When do you think we can go?”
“Well, it’s about lunch time,” he answered, “maybe after lunch.”
“When are we going to go, Dad?” Her voice was becoming anxious.
“I don’t know,” he said as he squinted at the sky. “Looks like it might rain. I’m not sure I want to hitch up the horses.”
When my dad told me this story, his voice broke when he said, “Her dad delayed so long that she never got to town, and my mother remembered that disappointment for the rest of her life.” I blinked back tears as he said, “Many have been the times I’ve felt bad for her about that.”
As I get ready for my own Independence Day celebration, my mind wanders all over the place. First, I remember the men and women who sacrificed so that I could have freedom to enjoy this day. Many gave their lives for the country they loved. Then I think about my Grandma Smith and wish with all my heart that the day had turned out differently for her. Both memories make me sad. But then I skip forward to the present.
In my mind’s eye, I see family and friends gathering under the picnic trees on my parents’ property. Mentally I begin to click off those who will come, and I look forward to the fun we’ll have. Eventually I start dreaming about the soft serve ice cream machine. Every year my brother Leigh sets it up and lets it run all day long. At the end of the day, everybody complains, “Ugh, I ate too much ice cream, but it tasted so good. I couldn’t stop.”
Oh how I wish I could trade places with the little girl my grandma was so long ago. If we could switch places for just one day, she could eat ice cream all day long, and I’d gladly do without, but I can’t do that. Her day was lost forever.
For some reason when I was a little girl myself, I asked my mom an odd question about trading places. “Mom, if one of us kids went to hell, would you trade places with us?”
Her eyes were sad when she replied, “I couldn’t trade places with you. The Bible says there is no escape from hell if you don’t accept Jesus as your Savior when you have the chance.”
I thought about her answer and how horrible hell is. Those who go there live in eternal regret and torment. I’m haunted by the words in Mark 9:48 that describe hell, “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” They can never get away from it, but it’s so unnecessary for anyone to go there.
We can have eternal freedom, and much like the freedom bestowed upon us by brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price, Christ paid for our eternal liberty with His blood. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” Galatians 5:1
I beg of you, don’t be like my great grandfather and procrastinate until you miss the most wonderful opportunity. Trust in Christ today, and you’ll experience something much, much better than ice cream. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8