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The wheels of the Greyhound bus made a rhythmic “clickityclack, clickityclak” as the welcome signs of Tulsa faded from sight. Danny knew it would be a long ride to his first church assignment in Detroit but he was far too excited to even think of relaxing. Finally, he was going on the mission field. So what if it wasn’t Africa. Or China. Or even Mexico. He had still been invited to help set up a children’s church and he wasn’t going to be discouraged by the fact that he was still in America. He was doing God’s work.
At least, that was what he had been telling himself. Suddenly doubt flooded in and he felt the urgent need to find confirmation in God’s Word. For the next several miles of “clickityclacks” Danny buried himself in the Bible, searching for every verse he could find that would give him peace about the secure job he was now leaving behind.
“Could I ask you a question?”
The voice shattered Danny’s concentration. It was the man in the seat beside him that had intruded on his studies. Perhaps ‘man’ was too kind of a description. He was more of a boy, perhaps 19 at most. His clothes were clean but wrinkled so Danny guessed he had been on the bus for a lot longer than from Tulsa.
“Sure, ask me anything.” Danny replied, and then for his own pleasure added, “I know ALL the answers!”
“I hope so,” the boy said, not amused at the failed attempt at humor. “I noticed you are reading the Bible. Do you know much about it?"
Danny hadn’t expected a question like that. How do you answer that one without looking either stupid or boastful? He decided to be evasive.
“There’s a lot in this book to know. Would you like to read it for awhile?”
“Naw, I just got out of prison. Just before they let me out I got saved.” The boy actually said it casually. “I haven’t ever read the Bible but the prison chaplain said I should learn the Ten Commandments as soon as I get home. Could you show me where they are so I can get a Bible and read them?”
Danny felt a sweep of chills go through his body. God had set him up. The mission field had been brought aboard a bus and now it was up to Danny not to blow it.
“The Ten Commandments?” Danny asked. “Do you know any of them?”
The boy thought for a second. “Well, I know you shouldn’t kill and you shouldn’t lie or steal. I can’t quote ‘em, though.” After a brief pause the boy added “I just don’t want to mess up as a new Christian just because I don’t know all the rules.”
Danny smiled. “Let me show you an easy way to learn what God wants us to do about all those ‘rules’.”
He turned his Bible to Matthew chapter 22 and began to tell the boy about when Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment. Then he finished with “Love God, and love people. If you do that you won’t have to worry about breaking any of the Ten Commandments… you will automatically obey them if you learn to REALLY love God and others.”
The boy looked like he understood. Danny hoped he did but he would never know because the bus was coming to a stop.
“Well, this is where I get off!” the boy said, smiling broadly. He got up and started toward the bus door. Then he turned back to Danny. “Thanks. You really helped me!”
Danny settled back in his seat as the bus pulled away from the station. He prepared himself for the return of the monotonous “clickityclak” of the long trip ahead of him.
Maybe he could catch a few winks. He closed his eyes.
Danny opened his eyes. Leaning over the seat in front of him was a middle-aged lady with a nervous look on her face.
“Pardon me, but I heard what you said to that young man.” She looked Danny right in the eyes, leaving him no way out. “Could I ask you a question?”
Danny smiled warmly as he breathed a silent prayer. “Thank you, Lord, for this confirmation!”
Then he calmly continued evangelizing.
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This was a very nice story, it shows how God has a plan for each of us, we just have to keep heading down the road. (winks)
Great story, Jerry! Love the title, and the characterization.