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George MacDonald was a 19th century orator and story-writer who C.S. Lewis once called his master as relates to story-telling and relating truth through fantasy.

One of MacDonald’s short stories was titled, "The Gifts of the Child Christ." The main character of the story is little six-year-old Sophy, who lived in a home with her nurse and two parents. There were all wrapped in their own self-centered world and went about their days coming and going with hardly an indication they were aware Sophy existed. The most attention she received was irritation when her presence or her basic needs as a child were injected into their separate and selfish routines.

In church one Sunday, Sophy had sat quietly as always and listened to the preacher drone on. She understood little of all this adult monologue, but one thing that stayed with her was the declaration that whom the Lord loves, He chastens. And ever after that morning Sophy wished and even prayed that the Lord would chasten her so that she would know He loved her.

As MacDonald relates the story he tells of Sophy, ignored and lonely, sitting in her little rocking chair in her room beginning to read a senseless little children’s book but quickly losing interest in it; he goes on, "But she did not read far; her thoughts went back to a phrase which had haunted her ever since first she went to church: 'Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.'"

"I wish he would chasten me," she thought for the hundredth time.

The small Christian had no suspicion that her whole life had been a period of chastening – that few children indeed had to live in such a sunless atmosphere as hers.

Source: The Gifts of the Child Christ, G. MacDonald, Eerdman’s Pub. Reprinted from The Gifts of the Child Christ and Other Tales, 1882

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