PHILLIP was very fond of his grandmother, but there was just one thing he did not like about her room. This was a framed Sampler which hung on the wall over her bed. Of course, it was very old-fashioned; but what Phillip did not like were the embroidered words: “Thou God seest me.”
“Why do you have that on your wall?” he asked his grandmother one day. She replied: “Because it comforts me.” “Well, it doesn’t comfort me,” said Phillip, “it does just the opposite. I don’t think it is fair that God should always be spying on me.” “Fair or not,” said his grandmother quietly, “it is true.”
As Christmas came near the matter of shopping arose, and when one day Phillip’s school had a shopping holiday, his father also took a day off and they drove into the nearby town. As he drove along, Phillip’s father remarked: “I hear that the police have TV cameras covering the town centre, so that they can keep an eye on thieves and pickpockets.” He added: “Of course, some people don’t like the idea of being spied on. In fact, my newspaper this morning says that it is not right.” Phillip’s mother said that she thought that it was a good idea, but Phillip broke in with his old complaint about it not being fair. “I don’t like it,” he told his parents. “No,” said his father, “and nor do the criminals. Those who are doing no wrong have no need to fear being watched.” “Well, I don’t like it,” repeated Phillip. “I don’t think that it is fair. Why, it is almost as bad as Grandma’s text!”
By this time they had arrived at the car park, and were soon so involved in their shopping that all else was forgotten. There seemed so much to buy and Phillip found it very exciting. The great moment for him was when he chose his tape-recorder. This was something he had longed to have, but because of the price he hardly dare hope that he would ever get one. However, his parents and his grandmother had joined together to give him the money. He found just the thing, at just the right price, and was thrilled when they went back to the car park and he was carefully carrying the parcel with the recording machine. Of course, he was carrying other parcels as well, and so were his parents. In fact, they were all three so loaded up that nobody had a free hand to open the car.
Father’s arms were full of small parcels, so he asked Phillip to get the car key out of his outside pocket. Phillip first placed his precious parcel in a safe place and then fished around in his father’s pocket till after a struggle and some delay he managed to find it. At first he could not get the car door open, which made Mother and Father rather impatient, as they were so laden with their parcels, but at last he succeeded. Father poured out his armful of parcels on to the back seat, helped Mother with hers, and then they all got into the car and drove off.
They were less than half a mile from the car park when they were stopped by a police car. Father wondered for a moment if he had hurt somebody without knowing it, and even more so when the policeman’s first question was: “Have you just come from the main car park?” “Yes,” he replied. “I hope that there is no trouble.” “Not really, sir,” said the policeman, “but I think that you left a parcel there.” Both Father and Mother were about to deny this when Phillip broke in. As soon as the policeman mentioned a parcel he had a cold feeling inside him as he remembered that he had forgotten to pick up his recording machine. So in a rather scared voice he said: “It’s mine! I left it down behind our car.” “That’s all right, sir,” said the policeman cheerfully. “Not to worry.” So they turned round to drive back to the car park.
Meanwhile poor Phillip hardly dared to breathe in case the tape recorder might be stolen while they were driving back, but really he had no cause for worry, since there at the car park entrance was a smiling police officer with the precious parcel in his hand. Phillip was so grateful that he could hardly speak, but his father thanked the policeman and then he asked him how they knew about it and whose it was. The man explained that at the Police Station there was an officer watching the television screens. He had seen it all happen, had taken their number, and had then put out calls to him and also to the police car. “It was the ever-watchful eye that did it,” he concluded laughingly.
Phillip was very quiet as they drove home. His father could not resist asking him if he had changed his mind about being spied on, and he had to admit that but for the TV cameras he would never have been warned about his mistake and would have lost his valuable Christmas present.
That evening he went into his grandmother’s room and told her all about it, and how the watchful eye of the man at the Police Station had saved him from losing his parcel. In a very gentle voice she said to him: “Now you know, Phillip, why I find it such a comfort to remember that God always sees me. He is looking not to spite me but to take care of me. He will do the same for you if you trust Him to be your Saviour.”
She then showed him another verse about the eye of God. It was that wonderful reminder that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). This was the lesson which Phillip had learned. Have you learned it yet?