“John, has it been such a long time that these bones are growing tired of the journey? Surely, we have only just begun.”
“Let’s see, how long have we walked now along this road? Life has certainly taken turns we never expected, Peter, yet has anything been as we expected? Can we even know what tomorrow holds?”
Looking into the fire, Peter shook his head and restlessly tossed in another log. “The work does not take a leave of absence, my friend, though we may at times lose heart for it and yearn for His return. We must never forget how many have not yet heard, though the ache in my bones reminds me of the boundless quest we face. But He made it clear that….” A familiar knock interrupted, three taps and then four more.
John sat still as Peter greeted their guest. “Welcome, Luke, are you alone? Come in, come in. What news have you? Sit here by the fire, it will take the chill off.”
Good to see you, Peter and John, my good friends. I have looked forward to your hospitality and that thought spurred me on when my legs begged for rest. Tell me, Peter, are the stories true? Are even Pharisees believing?”
“There is one with an outlandish claim, but I wouldn’t be too hasty to accept this mongrel.” Peter growled.
John was quick to respond. “It truly is astounding, and we, of course, await confirmation of what brother Barnabas has seen and heard of this most unexpected transformation. This is of vital importance and, if true, it’s certainly by the Lord’s hand, Peter.”
“The Lord chose the twelve and that one was not among us, John, and this man has done the most to destroy us all. I’ll need more than Barnabas’ word before I join with this one.”
“Yes, my brother, and we have done well by remaining in prayer night and day. The Lord will not leave us without a clear answer. In any case, Luke, we are even now awaiting Paul’s arrival.”
“Wait, we must.” Peter sighed. “Yet I burn inside as our precious time passes away while we wait on this Paul to show himself.”
The evening was peaceful and quiet and all fell asleep until John heard seven faint taps on the door. “Peter, someone knocks, wake up.”
“Who’s there?” Peter called out.
“It’s Barnabas, and I have brought Paul.”
John opened the door and greeted Barnabas with both arms and offered his hand to Paul. “Come in and join us. I am John, and this is Luke and Peter. I will stoke the fire to take the chill from the air.”
Paul was quick to find the rough fisherman whose eyes were likewise focused on him. “Ah, Simon Peter, it is good to finally meet, and thank you for your kindness in accepting this meeting. You must have many questions for me and I stand ready to answer all.”
Saul of Tarsus, is it? And yet you come under another name, Paul?”
“I received it directly from our Lord, brother Cephas, as you likewise received yours, I believe. I was led into the wilderness by the Spirit for three years where my journey was laid out for me and my will was transformed to His. The truth is to be spread to the whole world and He has chosen me to suffer much for that cause until its completion. You received the same charge, I hear.”
“In person, after the resurrection, after my humbling and also with a promise of suffering. Tell me, Paul, why should I believe you? This could be one of your devilish ploys to bind us in chains and throw us into prison.”
“Not by my word, nor even by the word of faithful friend, Barnabas, I assure you. The Lord will reveal it to you as He did to me. I also await his direction for the work ahead. Three years in the desert taught me many things, not the least of which was a hard won gift of patience. All will be accomplished on schedule, but not ours, my brother, His. A difficult thing for we who take the bull by the horns, yet a true test of faith. I will join you in prayer and will await your decision at the home of good Barnabas. Peace to you, brothers.”
“Very well, sir, we are agreed to await the Lord’s direction. We will talk again tomorrow. And peace to you.”