Johnny Orchard and The Rest of the Story

the rest of the story

Knowing the rest of the story.

My teacher knew the rest of the story. Her eyes twinkled as she looked across her classroom of first and second graders. She was reading The Biggest Bear to us for the very first time. Hands held high with the book opened using her fingers to spread the pages, she paused for effect before she turned the page.

the rest of the story

Johnny Orchard, the little boy who had a pet bear, was heading to the woods with his gun. The bear was trouble in the neighborhood so he had to go. No matter if Johnny took the bear north, south, east, or west, he always showed up a day or two later.

So . . .

Johnny and his father talked it over and decided there was only one thing to do.

Johnny said he would do it.

It was this place in the story our teacher paused. Every one of us tried to hide our sorrow. Johnny was going to shoot his bear! But her eyes twinkled and I saw a smile playing along the edge of her lips.

I remember her twinkle, her pause, and her slow turning of the pages.

Our teacher knew something we did not know: the bear was not going to die. She knew the rest of the story.

What happens next?

the rest of the storyI’ve read this story to my kids so many times I have it memorized. In recent years, I have read it to foster kids  and neighbor kids, kids who have never heard the story. The book is worn and frazzled and tape no longer holds the pages together.

You know the part I like best when I’m reading the story? The part I can hardly keep from smiling when I watch the bewildered, sad faces of kids who have never heard the story? The same part my teacher paused, right where “Johnny said he would do it.”

I like this part because I know the rest of the story – and in just a few minutes, the kids will know it, too. Their pensive, somber faces change to happiness and relief when they hear the rest of the story.

God knows the rest of the story

For many of us, 2020 has held frustrating situations, difficult challenges, countless unknowns. We do not know the rest of the story, and that causes angst.

You know something? God does. He holds the world, the chaos, and the future in His hands. He knows the rest of the story, and when we belong to Him, we rest assured because He’s got the whole world in His hands.

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  1. You can buy the book (The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward) on Amazon and other places for under $10,00. My copy is 30 years old and it belongs to my oldest son. Looks like I’ll be getting a new copy for myself and giving his to him come Christmas. 🙂

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