In a secluded clearing of the large pasture, Denise and Jon lay snuggled up on the blanket she had brought from Nana’s. The tablecloth and picnic items were still spread nearby, though the food had been hungrily devoured quite a while back. His passion spent,
Jon was sleeping soundly, snoring softly. What was it that was so different, Denise wondered. She knew she loved him. She had since the first time she’d seen him! As usual, he’d been sweet and gentle, at least until she hesitated. Then his touch had become almost demanding, until she surrendered.
Why, she wondered, why was it different? Somehow, it just wasn’t the same. The pleasure of being with Jon was for some reason greatly diminished. Was it guilt? Why should there be guilt? She loved him, didn’t she? And he loved her! She didn’t have to worry about things like pregnancy and diseases. She had learned a long time ago, in S£x education class at school, how to prevent those things. And she and Jon had always been cautious.
But, Denise remembered in Sunday School, they had studied scriptures in the Bible which listed fornication and adultery with the evil works of murder and idolatry. Roger had explained carefully to his mixed class that premarital S£x was fornication. That S£x was a wonderful gift from God, but only if two people had made a lifetime commitment to God and each other. Of course, at that time, Denise didn’t really even believe there was a God, so she had given little heed to the teaching.
Now, things were different, but what could she do? Jon would never understand if she suddenly denied him. He had proven that today! What if he sought out other girls? How could she bear that? Denise felt trapped, wanting to do good, but continuing to do wrong, with no answer in sight.
Surely, when you loved someone, and that love was returned, God wouldn’t expect denial of the love. After all, he is a God of love, Denise concluded, making a mental note to study the Bible regarding this issue, for herself. Perhaps Roger had overlooked something which would ease her conscience.
Nana and Papa had given her a new Bible, one with references, concordance, dictionary and a lot of study helps. This would be her first study, she decided as she rose silently from the ground to avoid waking Jon.
“Show me what to do. God,” Denise prayed quietly, as she walked over to a large oak tree, looking out upon the expanse of pasture land with a large tank in the distance, and noted a few cows moping along, eating the grass leisurely.
Thinking back. Mom and Dad had never made her feel like premarital S£x was wrong. Oh, there had been times when something was said about a girl who turned up pregnant, or with a venereal disease, and they would comment about how dumb that was, nowadays, to get caught in that situation, what with contraceptives, and condoms, and such.
But, no, she couldn’t remember any thing about a moral standpoint being made clear. Discretion and precaution seemed to be the main thing from her parents point of view.
What would Nana and Papa say, if they knew about her relationship with Jon? Denise cringed at the thought! There is your answer, she told herself, knowing that they had a close relationship with the God of the Universe!
Jon awakened, and called out, “Denise, where’d you go?” Then looking around, propped on one elbow, he saw her standing beside the tree, her back to him. Getting to his feet, he walked toward her, a new coolness was in his voice as he called out to her. “What is going on with you? You’ve sure changed! Are you seeing someone else or what?”
Spinning around to meet his gaze, a surprised Denise said to him, “What? Of course not! How could you even think such a thing?”
“I don’t know, but you’re sure acting strange. I’ve never seen you like this before. You want to tell me what’s going on? I wouldn’t even have left campus if I’d known you were going to be like this,” John said, disapprovingly.
“Oh, Jon, please don’t talk like that! You know how much I love you, and I’ve missed you so much while you were gone!” She walked to him, put her arms around him, and held him tight, burying her face in his neck.
Responding to her touch, he said, more gently, “Well, something’s different! You sure don’t act like you used to.”
“Jon, have you ever considered, really considered, whether there is a God? You know, like the Bible says?”
“What? Don’t tell me you’re going religious on me!”
“I don’t know. I didn’t really think there was a God, but, we had a Bible study at Nana and Papa’s, and, well, I’m convinced now that He is real. I’m just not sure where I’m going from here! You’re right, though, things are different! I never realized it before, but this really affects everything in my life.”
“Oh, come on Denise. Don’t give me that! Have they been preaching ‘hell and brimstone’ to you, or what? What’s the big deal, anyway, whether there’s a God or not?” Jon asked impatiently.
“No, they have not preached ‘hell and brimstone’ to me!” Denise said, suddenly irritated with Jon’s irreverant manner. “They’ve preached “love*, that God loves me, and wants what is best for me, and that since He created me, only He knows what is best for me!”
“Sure! And how are you supposed to know what He wants for you, huh? Answer me that!” Jon’s voice was becoming increasingly bitter, Denise thought, as she wondered how her beautiful plans for this afternoon had gone down the drain! How could he be so callous, so unfeeling when referring to the Almighty God?