Samuel Collins

Samuel Collins, who is 13, plays the lead role in a new Christian children’s adventure series called “Samuel L. Collins and The Search For Biblical Truths.” It combines the adventure of “Indiana Jones”, the gadgets of “Mission Impossible” and the Scriptural principles of “Bibleman.” Filmed in exotic locations like Singapore, Bali and Egypt, Samuel is tasked with deciphering three clues in each 30-minute episode to determine the Biblical truth. You could win the $10,000 Grand Prize if you solve all the puzzles on the website. Plus, check out a trailer and order the first DVD in which Samuel grapples with integrity. Visit  Not surprisingly, he loves to read. Douglas Bond is his favorite author, who wrote Crown and Covenant, about the Scottish people who were fleeing from the King of England during the Scottish Reformation. The second DVD, based in Bali, Indonesia, in which Samuel thinks through the issue of idolatry, has just been released September 1, 2011.

Samuel L. Collins

Bunny and Me

When Aunt Cheryl gave me a stuffed bunny on my second birthday, little did she know it would change my life.

Due to the limitations of my young brain, the best name I could then imagine was Bunny.

Standing five inches tall, Bunny was tan, soft, and seven inches long from his little paws to his cute, cotton-ball tail. Despite his predictable name, he became my everything.

Wherever Samuel Collins went, Bunny was right there. Clutched in my hand. Held close under my arm. Draped over my shoulder. We were inseparable!

On one occasion, I remember placing a Crayola highlighter into one of his paws and calling out: “Momma, Momma, Bunny is going to write you a note.” Ah yes. The imagination of a child.

After I had been disciplined by my parents, I can recall sharing, through tears, “Bunny, this isn’t good. We’re in trouble.” He would sit there in silent, comforting empathy.

Not surprisingly, his presence at bedtime was absolutely essential. If he had become misplaced, my poor parents had to turn the house upside down to track down Bunny. I couldn’t sleep without him cuddled close in my toddler arms.

Bunny made me feel secure. Even if Daddy was gone on a business trip, and Mommy was tired, I could always hug Bunny and know that someone was there for me.

Today, eleven years later, Bunny has endured a lot of wear and tear. Between the obligations of being my constant companion and multiple spins in the washing machine, he’s a shadow of his former self. His tail fell off some time ago, his ears have been turned inside out, and he’s missing his right eye—resulting in an unending wink. Thankfully, my mother has lovingly re-stitched his mouth, and blessed him again with the gift of smell.

I recently turned thirteen. And I confess that I still sleep with Bunny at night. Having this much dedication to a stuffed animal is one thing for a child, but now that I’m officially a teenager, I realize that Bunny’s days are numbered.

You see, this birthday, my parents did it up big. It was kind of the Protestant version of the Jewish bar mitzvah—a rite of passage from childhood into manhood.

In addition to receiving a sword from my father, a Willow Tree statue of a young man reading his Bible from my mother, they prayed a special blessing over me as friends and family gathered ’round. It was very special; a moment I’ll never forget.

One thing my father said stuck with me. “Samuel, it’s time to cast off childish things. It’s time to become a man.”

I’ve certainly been moving in the right direction.

Some time ago I put away my dinosaurs and my invaluable Thomas the Train collection. Gone are my K’nex sets, my Lincoln Logs, and my beloved Hess toy trucks. They’re all carefully packed in cardboard boxes. One day they’ll be treasured by my future children as much I treasured them.

But I’m still holding on to Bunny—both physically and emotionally. In my more honest moments, I wonder, “What is it about Bunny that I need?”

Put simply, he’s the definition of comfort. Somehow, as odd as it sounds, when I hold him, I feel loved. He reminds me that I’m okay, that I’m safe, that nothing bad is going to happen to me.

But deep down I feel conflicted. I’ve been a Christian since I was eight years old. So I know in my mind that God loves me, that God can protect me, and that I can talk to God anytime. Easier said than done. God is invisible. Bunny is visible. I can’t touch God. I can cuddle with Bunny.

You see, I wonder whether Bunny is kind of an idol for me—not that I actually bow down and worship my stuffed animal.

Moses records the second commandment in Exodus 20:4–6.

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous od, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep My commandments. (NIV)

While I don’t worship Bunny outright, I think I might be flirting with idolatry.

If I had to summarize the second commandment in my own words, I would say, “Do not let anyone or anything become more important in your life than God.”

So, it’s not just that I’m getting too old to sleep with a stuffed animal at night. It’s that I’m having conversations with my imaginary friend about all kinds of things, when I could be having conversations with my real friend, my heavenly Father.

My parents have raised me to understand that we are to hold all of our possessions with open hands, no matter how expensive or sentimental they might be to us. If we are not willing to give them up for the needy, for our maturity, or in obedience to God, then we are guilty of idolatry.

Within the last year my mother said, “If you cannot pack Bunny away in a shoebox or throw him away in a trash can, then you have failed the test.”

Yikes! Not much wiggle room there!

My struggle with what to do with Bunny is probably pretty similar to the struggle some adults have with eating too much, drinking too much, or shopping too much. These activities make them feel better, even though they know they shouldn’t do it, even though it can be harmful to their health or their budget. Food, alcohol, or their credit cards can become their idols like Bunny is apparently mine.

While I know that New Year’s is still several months away, I think it’s time for me to make a resolution. The next time I’m feeling lonely, the next time I’m feeling the need to be loved, I need to turn first to God. I need to remember that God is everywhere, including in the bedroom of a thirteen-year-old boy who struggles with all kinds of insecurities and fears.

In addition to telling Him how I feel, I plan to recite the three words of 1 John 4:8b: “God is love.” I’m comforted by the fact that the Creator of the universe loves me personally.

Plus, unlike Bunny, who is forever deaf, I serve a God who hears me and cares for me. God is pretty clear. “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).

What has become the “Bunny” in your life? Are you willing to join me on this journey and put God back on the throne?


Samuel’s parents, John and Kristi Collins, home educate Samuel, alongside his fifteen-year-old sister, Katie, and his nine-year-old cousin, Jada. In addition to participating in debate competitions, Samuel likes to play basketball and make fountain pens on his lathe.


Samuel L. Collins