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
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
Not surprisingly, his presence
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
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
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
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.