Copyright 2009 by Douglas Batson, National Certified Counselor
Synopsis: A chance airport encounter with Linda, a former high school classmate, prompts Edward, a jaded Christian counselor, to reflect on his own disappointment with God. A familiar Charles Dickens theme transports Edward to his own past, to Lindaís future, and to the unfamiliar, sidebar story of widowed Naomi in the otherwise familiar Book of Ruth. Eloquent Old Testament saints, a German pastor, and a gung-ho Army sergeant in Iraq remind Edward that, in spite of painful life circumstances, God is an Ebenezer, a stone of help in times of trouble.
SETTING: A contemporary living room and the airport passenger waiting area.
AT RISE: A total of 8 males and females are seated on chairs with heads bowed and mumbled prayers. Edward & GCF stand to side by airport chairs.
Spirit, I take it we are in the future. Oh wait. I see Linda---and Sue---in this group.
SUE/HOME GROUP LEADER
Yes, surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. Thank you, Jesus. Letís praise Him in song then pray for each other.
(sings His Banner
Over Me is Love)
3X: Iím feasting at His banqueting table and His banner over me is love / His banner over me is love
(not singing, but sobbing)
The Founder of the Feast indeed! I wish I could give God a piece of my mind to feast on! Iím sorry everyone, Iím grateful that my sins are forgiven and Iím going to heaven, but our home has been just hellish for months! Itís terrible! Oh, why is God allowing me to suffer like this? My husband and I have never had serious marriage problems, but since our Craig came back from Iraq all messed-up with PTSD, Mike has blamed me!
I will fight for my son! I will do whatever it takes to make Craig better!
(sobs, lights dim from small group)
When the deepest desire we feel within our hearts is for something other than God Himself, a spirit of entitlement develops. Lindaís legitimate desire for a happy healthy family has become an idolatrous goal. When lesser desires are the only ones we actually feel, they inevitably become compulsive demands. An addiction begins. We need God. He is all we need. But until we realize that fact, we experience lesser desires as needs, and then devote all our energy to satisfying them.
Is that why my counseling clients donít change, why they keep repeating the same negative behaviors over and over?
When the capacity for soul-pleasure in Christ is lost, people become irresistibly attracted to lesser pleasures: either to counterfeits such as oneís children, careers, a do-good cause, even animals or sports, OR, cheap substitutes for soul-pleasure like addictive eating, drinking, pill-popping, or promiscuity.
I cringed when Linda lashed out at God like that.
Really? I applauded that she has the courage to voice her pain! Let me explain: When life gets tough and God does nothing, His Spirit is telling us this world is not our home. Linda sees the rubble of her own efforts to make life work, and it will be painful for her to give up control and abandon herself to God. But there is no way to know God well except through the rubble. With brokenness and repentance she must go through, and not around, the rubble.
Is that how you counsel your clients, Edward?
(pauses, facetiously, with
No, I say to them: donít let your heart be troubled, rest in the loving arms of God; even though they are convinced that God is indifferent, or even cruel. I insist that they believe that God is good and quote scripture. I might even hint that any distrust of God is sinful. I urge them to find contentment with the many blessings that remain, to get more involved in church and in serving others. After
all, thatís what I did when I lost my son, first to distance across state lines, and then emotionally.
I uttered ďAll things work together for goodĒ just to deaden the pain of wanting to be with my own son. I numbed the pain to... perfect nothingness.
(groans and weeps)
Perfect Nothingness? Buddha believed that life is suffering and the way to end suffering is to end desire. And this Buddha called contentment? Oh no! no! no!
(aghast, pounds fist repeatedly)
Morley Jacobs was right! God forgive me! I am a Buddhist counselor! I found nirvana and mistakenly called it ďvictory!Ē I wear the Buddhist robe I crafted from life. I girded it on of my own free will, inch by inch and yard by yard, until the robe became so long that it tripped up my Christian walk.
Spirit, why show me these things if I am past all hope?
Show me, Spirit, how did you describe it? How the experience of despair is the initial movement in the rhythm of hopeÖbecause, like Linda, I am despairing!
THIS IS AN AIRPORT SECURITY ANNOUNCEMENT. PLEASE REPORT ANY UNATTENDED BAGGAGE OR SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TSA PERSONNEL IMMEDIATELY. YOUR COOPERATION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
(When the announcement ends
Edward is no longer
restrained to the chair.
He stands up, two passengers
dragging luggage hurry across
the stage behind him, he looks
SETTING: Same airport passenger waiting area.
AT RISE: Edward still stands at same spot.
Spirit, are you still there? God, can you hear me? I confess that Iíve dreamt only of lesser things, and then foolishly despaired when those dreams shattered.
I am shaken to realize that my happiness has been no different from that of circumstantially well-off people who donít know Christ. And my counsel to others? I shudder to think.
But I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this encounter. I would now encourage those who hurt to interpret lifeís hardships not as problems to fix, but as important elements in a larger story that all who know God long to tell. I would urge them to accept wherever they are on the journey, whether feeling happy or sad, as the place where God will meet them, where He loves them, where He continues to work in them...
and I am woefully inadequate to communicate this truth.
But the scriptures are never inadequate! In the Bible, if there be any person who feels emotion caused by the death of his dreams, but who receives from God far better dreams, show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you.
(Edward sits down, arms
raised; a different hooded
individual [can be same
actor who, while lights are
dimmed, changes color of
his upper garment] sits up
opposite of Edward).
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS LONG PAST
Your inadequacy is neither a curse to lift nor a disorder to cure. It is a gift to be received, a gift that can make your faith strong, clear, and wise.
(again unable to turn around)
Sir, are you the Ghost of Christmas Present?
Alas, Edward Greenhough, pneumatology was never your strong suit. The Ghost of Christmas Present has been with you since Pentecost! I am a Ghost of Christmas Past.
My past again?
No, long past... Some of the most joy-filled books of the Bible were written from dark prison cells. Equally paradoxical is the painfully unattractive life of an unsung hero of the faith who ¨¨¨hoped in God, in the very same way you now hope.
My own Christian life is what appears painfully unattractive.
You are indeed not the man you were, and now your counseling skills, which are quite satisfactory, will communicate how God never, never stops doing us good. Close your eyes and when you reopen them, Edward, we will be in Bible times.
SETTING: Same airport passenger waiting area.
AT RISE: Edward is seated.
Look down that dusty road. Three people come toward us. Would you care to guess who they are?
(shielding his eyes)
I see three lone figures walking this way on a road in a desert landscape. The Emmaus Road? The two unnamed disciples andÖ will I see Jesus?
Please donít be too disappointed that we are in Israel when she was ruled by judges. It is December 25, 1081 BC, and the three individuals approaching are women. You will soon recognize them from the book of Ruth. Naomiís husband Elimelech passed away shortly after they reached Moab. One dream shattered. But her two sons had met and married nice Moabite girls. Perhaps Naomi thought, as we all do, that if the other shoe does not drop, she would be able to move on. If enough blessings remain to enjoy, perhaps she can endure the pain. Sadly, that then becomes our dream----that sufficient blessings will come our way to enjoy this life.
For Naomi, however, the other shoe did drop. First one son died, then the other. God did nothing to preserve the dreams Naomi thought essential to her happiness: no financial security, no devoted husband to grow old with, no enjoyment of her adult sons and her grandchildren. Now she treks back to Judah with two foreign daughters-in-law. Pay attention, Edward, to how God satisfies a dream that Naomi never thought much about.
(lights on three women)
Go, return each of you to your motherís house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with me, and grant that you may find rest in the house of another husband.
(she kisses them;
they wail and weep)
Surely we will return with you unto your people.
My daughters, why should you go with me? I am an old woman. I have no hope of remarrying and bearing children again. Even if it happened, it would be absurd for you to remain
unmarried and wait till my sons were old enough to marry you. My dreams for happiness are gone. No, you girls should go home. Because the hand of the LORD is gone out against me, my hopes are dashed, but yours are still alive!
(they wail and weep again,
Orpah kisses her mother-
in-law and departs; but
Ruth cleaves to her)
Donít urge me to leave you. Where you go I will go; where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, however severely, if anything but death separates you and me.
(Naomi and Ruth depart stage,
lights back on Edward & GCLP)
Edward, how would you describe the dynamics of what just unfolded between the three women?
Naomi wants the good life for her daughters-in-law that transcends cultures: happiness defined by marriage and family, health and success. For Naomi happiness is only a memory, never to be experienced again. For that reason Naomi thought they were better off without her---a sure sign of despair. Orpah behaved as most of us would, but Ruth has a different dream---and her loyalty is phenomenal.
Well said. Observe now as Naomi returns to her hometown, Bethlehem. Naomi refers to God as Shaddai, which means the Almighty One, an invincible mountain, the force that cannot be resisted.
(lights on townspeople)
(announcing to others)
After ten years, Naomiís is coming home! And with her a Moabite daughter-in-law!
FEMALE TOWNSPERSON 1
A Moabitess? I hear that Moabites steal!
FEMALE TOWNSPERSON 2
Whatís worse, sheíll seduce our men folk.
(Naomi and Ruth enter. The 3
townspeople shout and rush
to embrace Naomi. Ruth
This is my daughter-in-law, Ruth.
nod to Ruth).
Except for Ruth, I went away full, but the Lord brought me back empty. So donít call me Naomi any longer, but Mara. Yes, life has been bitter. Shaddai has brought misfortune upon me; He took my husband and my two sons. Iím miserable and you might as well know it.
Edward, what did you observe?
Well, Naomi certainly isnít sanitizing her story. She has serious doubts about her faith which teaches that God is good. That she calls Him Shaddai reflects just how fatalistic she has become. God is to be endured, not enjoyed. Tragedies in life are Godís doing, whether He sends them or allows them. Naomi is miserable, and the mood of the townspeople toward Ruth isnít helping any.
The Scripture says that Naomi returned to Bethlehem ďas the barley harvest was beginning.Ē Remember, it was due to famine that Naomi and family had migrated to Moab. That the darkest night precedes the dawn is not a clichť, but is how God works. Happiness has been taken away, despair has set in. But Godís behind-the-scenes work is the first movement in the rhythm of hope. Naomiís unlikely journey to joy has begun!
Iím afraid I missed that part.
Our conviction that God is our Ebenezer, a stone of help in Whom we hope and have deep confidence, often becomes the
courage we need not to quit nor to settle for worldly pleasures. Even when we see nothing but darkness, God is
doing us good. Knowing He is moving at all sometimes becomes the central piece of faith we need to keep ourselves moving. How did C.S. Lewis put it? Concerning Narnia experiencing perpetual winter but never Christmas? AslanÖ...
GCLP AND EDWARD
is on the move!
Yes, and because Ruth and Naomi were poor, their daily bread was their immediate concern. Thus, Ruth asked her depressed, inactive mother-in-law for permission to go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain. Ruth, unfamiliar with the culture, nevertheless sets off to do good. Was it merely good luck that Ruth caught the eye of a wealthy relative, who just happened to own the field where she gleaned? No, the scripture says, ďAs it turned out,Ē Ruth found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz. Do you now sense the movement in the rhythm of hope? Is not the Spirit of God able to conceive the fruit we are to bear at any time? This is exactly what transpires in Naomi as she catches a glimpse of God moving.
SETTING: Naomi and Ruthís home.
AT RISE: Naomi and Ruth prepare food in their kitchen. Edward and GCLP observe from the side.
Ruth, you are bringing home so much barley! Blessed be the man who took notice of you. In whose fields have you been gleaning?
The ownerís name is Boaz and he has shown me favor. His overseers obviously leave extra grain for me. I asked Boaz why all this favor to me, a foreigner, and he replied: ďIíve been told all about you, what you have done for your mother-in-law, how you chose to live with our people.Ē And he said: ďMay you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.Ē
The Lord bless him! And bless the Lord! For He has not stopped showing kindness to the living and the dead. Boaz is one of our relatives! My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz our kinsman? Tonight, he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Conceal yourself near to the threshing floor. When Boaz lies down, note the place where he is lying. Later, go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.
I will do as you say.
The Lord has not discarded me. He has always been there, even when I could not see it. But now I can see His kind heart at work. My pain is still real. Iíve felt it keenly for 10 years. But now something else matters more. Iím beginning to recognize a dream bigger than every dream I have ever dreamt.
Only a desire for God provides the power to consistently resist the lure of lesser pleasures and to stay anchored in
hope in the midst of lifeís storms. The branch must draw life from the vine or it withers and dies. When Naomi sensed God was moving, her heart leaped!
By saying ďGod has not stopped showing kindness to the living and the dead,Ē Naomi views Godís kindness to extend to her deceased husband and sons. Now that is profound! Naomi lost what she had depended on for happiness, yet she never deadened her pain; never gave herself over to lesser pleasures, or became an addict. From the rubble of her shattered dreams, she discovered a bigger and better dream, one not about her at all. Naomiís new dream taps the depths of her soulís desire, a desire for God! Few of my clients would ever do that! They would rather remain miserable than to hope in and trust a seemingly fickle God. And if they donít immerse themselves in what blessings remain, then they live for relief and become addicts to whatever provides it, and then attempt to justify it. One client told me: ďGod wants me to be happy---and I am not happy in this marriage.Ē Then she wanted me to confirm that God might be leading her to divorce her husband!
Naomiís brokenness allowed her to discover a desire that no brokenness can eliminate, but at the same time, one that only brokenness can reveal. God told Israel that if they sought Him with all their heart, He would let them find Him We cannot abandon our own dreams without help, the help of shattered dreams. Perhaps that is why so few people make a sustained effort to seek God with all their hearts.
I see now that it was easier when I was satisfied with lesser things. One of my neighbors is a successful businessman with an attractive wife and three bright, athletic, and equally good-looking kids. When I can catch him between vacations, the conversation about Christ is shallow. He is a believer and the family goes to church, but he thinks I make Christianity so difficult and he
no doubt wonders why a ďChristian counselorĒ struggles so much. Until we realize how badly we need God, how empty we are without Him, we can sing ďGreat is Thy FaithfulnessĒ without worrying about whether God really shows up. We can
enjoy a happy indifference to whether we discover Him or not.
If you think suffering a mystery, Edward, consider the even deeper mystery of Godís restrained passion! Listen closely now to what Naomi tells Ruth. It helps us understand that Godís passion toward us makes it difficult for Him not to sweep down in power from on High and solve all our problems. Watch and see that an allegedly unresponsive God is really a restrained lover!
SETTING: Naomi and Ruthís home.
AT RISE: Ruth rushes into the kitchen where Naomi stands. Edward and GCLP observe from the side.
Oh, Naomi, I did as you said. Boaz woke up and asked who is there at his feet. I answered with, ďI am your servant, Ruth. Spread the corner of your garment over me since you are a kinsman-redeemer.Ē How that noble man rubbed his eyes in disbelief! We talked for hours of our attraction to each other. But Boazís passion for me is far more than physical; it is deeper, richer, and enduring. But when he spoke of trouble with Jewish family law, I became confused. Boaz moved away from me and quickly prepared himself for a journey before dawn.
Naomi, what shall I do? I love Boaz and I think he loves me. But he said he cannot marry me until a legal problem concerning a near relative is cleared up. I donít know anything about these technicalities. All I know is that I want Boaz. Doesnít he want me?
I wonder if Naomi was tempted to take matters into her own hands. After a hot day in the fields she could have dressed Ruth up in sweaty, raggedy clothes and then presented her to the near relative, hoping for a swift rejection to move them through the legal impasse.
Hardly, Edward. Naomiís heart is at rest, which allows her to be powerful in Ruthís life. With the wisdom of a spiritual director, she longs for Ruth to abandon herself to the one who loves her. In spite of Boazís restraint, she is confident that his desire will find a way to bring them together.
Ruth, Boaz wants you more than you want him. He is withholding himself from you for a time at great personal cost. It is harder for him to keep his distance from you than it is for you to wait for him. Know this, that this man will move heaven and earth to find a lawful way to marry you. And thatís what you want, a marriage that rests on an unshakeable foundation. You want nothing less. Wait, my daughter. The man will not rest until the matter is settled today.
Wow! The picture of Christ preparing a place for His bride is hard to miss. At least from this vantage point, itís crystal clear. Is that what Jesus meant by saying, ďLet not your heart be troubled?Ē Even with disappointment we are to continue to hope, to wait eagerly, confidently in what He is doing. That we should prepare ourselves to meet Him, longing to experience God so deeply that we keep moving toward Him no matter what happens in life?
Isnít such devotion to God what Karl Marx called an opiate addiction? Sigmund Freud agreed, and such thinking permeates your modern counseling theories.
Yes, I know. But only now can I differentiate between counseling Christians and secularists. It makes no sense that one on the secular journey feels terrible but is ďdoing great,Ē because ďnormalĒ people are just not supposed to hurt much. Feeling better is the goal of secular counseling and even of secular religion. But following Christ is not about enjoying this life, nor the people around us, nor ourselves, but rather enjoying God, knowing His passion for us as our life foundation. His Spirit works through every disappointment and shattered dream, which, at times, means that ďdoing greatĒ requires that we feel awful. Itís the path less traveled leading to His incomparable joy, isnít it?
If God didnít withhold heavenís best, if He gave us His own son, then why would He hold back any other good thing? The scripture says He wouldnít, and He doesnít. This is what you will now behold. Boaz knew the three criteria of the kinsman-redeemer law, and he did not rest until he fulfilled all of them. Letís now witness a joyous wedding party.
(lights on Boaz, Naomi,
Ruth, and 5-7 others
are gathered at a party)
Let it be known that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech and her sons. There is now no other claimant. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess as my wife so that the name of the deceased will be maintained. Today you are my witnesses!
MALE TOWNSPERSON 1
We are witnesses! May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, who Tamar bore to Judah. (cheers again, raised
glasses, Ruth kisses Boaz)
Spirit, I have trouble with that toast. Why wish Ruth to be like Rachel, who was barren and resentful? Leah felt unloved, and Tamar was a deceiver.
MALE TOWNSPERSON 2
Boaz, why, you look a little perplexed. Let me explain: You have married a lovely woman. We all want the best for you. But even if the unimaginable happens and Ruth turns out to be as conniving as Rachel or insecure as Leah, God will still be at work to bring about the good He intends. Do not try to rearrange your circumstances merely to feel better. Remember that the 12 sons of Israel were born through the likes of Rachel and Leah!
MALE TOWNSPERSON 1
Boaz, since Eden and until the Messiah comes to reign, things have gone wrong and will go wrong in everyoneís life. You are not immune from evil or calamity. Your failure may trigger worse failure still: just look at Judah and Tamar. When life falls apart, do not try self-remedies. This will be difficult for you because you are wealthy and powerful. But only God is the author of the truly good. Boaz, I wish you brokenness because I wish you joy.
Amen, Amen. Well, Edward, does that help you understand the toast? And you have to just love these Old Testament saints!
Brothers, I have worked hard and lived responsibly and now have new responsibilities.
(beckons Ruth to his side)
I submit myself accountable to you. When the pain in life threatens confidence in my ability to make life work the way I want, I will put Godís pleasure before mine. So I abandon myself to the pleasure of the One whom I cannot manage. I and Ruth, too, live to please the Lord God.
(Lights dim, OT actors exit)
Iíd say that Ruth and Boazís marriage has the firmest of foundations. And Naomi, what becomes of her?
Naomi has a son! Hallelujah! Naomi has a son! She has a son!
(lights on Naomi,
alone holding a doll)
Oh, God, the path has been rough. I still miss my husband; I miss my sons. My pain is real. Tears now blur what remains of my eyesight just enough to see your face. My heart swells with worship because you have given me a sense of your Presence and the certainty that You have called me to be part of Your sovereign plan. Ruth is a wonderful daughter. Boaz is a fine man, and this baby of theirs, well, Iíve never seen anything so beautiful. God, I am not who I used to be. I was depressed, angry, and afraid of the future. Although now old, I am grateful and full of joy knowing You are here and You are moving. I am anchored in hope, in You my rock of help.
(shouts as in Scene 1)
Ebenezer, my Ebenezer, you are my Ebenezer!
Naomi abandoned herself to God, her rock of help, to her Ebenezer. And Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, the father of David, the father of Solomon. Somewhere in that genealogy is Jehoshaphat and
Hezekiah, but ultimately Jesus the Messiah, the ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer! Jesus went about His fatherís business, and mankind is still his business!
Spirit, did Naomi know that she was in the lineage of Christ? What a legacy of faith! It was only because her dreams had shattered that she could abandon her own heart and encounter Godís!
(GCLP exits or disappears from view)
Spirit, why is this truth being revealed to me? I am not a big name Christian leader who can convey it to thousands of joyless Christians who view pain in their lives the wrong way. So why me?
THIS IS AN AIRPORT SECURITY ANNOUNCEMENT. PLEASE REPORT ANY UNATTENDED BAGGAGE OR SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TSA PERSONNEL IMMEDIATELY. YOUR COOPERATION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
(is able to stand up, looks around, behind chairs, then
looks at his wristwatch)
I haven't missed my flight! The Spirits have done it all in one hour. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. I donít know what to do.
I am as light as a feather, happy as an angel
I know what Iíll do. Iíll teach a seminary course on Naomi! Old Testament patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; Moses and David, move over! Make room for Naomi. Now picture this!
Miss Jones, how would you summarize our semester of studying the life of Naomi?
Well, Iíve been out on the highway, for 61 years, sometimes it seems just like a day / Iíve shared a lot of sorrows, Iíve shed a lot of tears / But then you came and you took them all away / itís a Happy Road that Iím traveling on / Just canít help myself, you got me singing a happy song;
Whoooo! Young lady, go to the head of class! Iím as merry as a schoolboy, giddy as a drunken man! I know, Iíll teach a class on Boaz, too. Boaz 101. For men only! Why, that sounds like a new cologne fragrance!
then mock seriousness)
And, Mr. Robertson, how would you summarize our semester of studying Boaz?
(sings to the tune of
Daniel Boone TV series
From the yamulka on the top of Boí / to the heel of his tassled shoe /
the rippinest, roarenest, most righteous man / the house of Isríel ever knew /
Boaz of Judah was a man / yes, a real man / with an eye for little Ruthie / And a nose for barley futures was he! Hee-hee-hee!
(Linda enters, dragging
suitcase, taps Edward on
the shoulder. She looks
totally upset, just the
opposite of the giddy Edward)
LINDA AND EDWARD
(simultaneously, to each other)
Are you all right?
No, I am not all right. Edward,
(places face in her
hands then looks up)
Iím so glad you are still here. I just got a phone call from my husband.
(pauses, wipes tear,
Craig is in serious trouble, and has been sent back to Texas. And Mike is so upset over how Craig talked to him on the phone. Something is so terribly wrong! I just have to help my son! Iím on standby for a flight to Dallas. Would you please pray with me?
Linda, yes, Iíll pray for you---and do my best to assist your struggling family. Come, sit down.
(they sit, Linda with
face in her hands)
Linda, your alarm at this news about Craig is legitimate. Before I pray, I want to share a hard truth of the Christian faith because you have come to a fork in the road on your faith journey. One path is lined with advertisements that life is supposed to work well, all suggesting that God exists solely to see that it does. Not many choose the second path because it invites you to live in a disappointing world where our dreams may shatter. When
you pray, God may seem cruelly unresponsive or callously indifferent. You will then be tempted to manage life on your own terms, to do what it takes to feel better. The only signage on this second path is a promise that God will
not rest until you experience an intimacy with Him that you never imagined. You will not be able to describe this joy, by which you will feel alive, hopeful, grounded; even in the midst of painful circumstances. Do you understand the two paths set before you?
You wonít mind, Edward, if I have a good cry about this!
No, not at all. Iím tearing up myself imagining how hard it is for Jesus to restrain Himself from immediately helping people desperately crying out to Him from hospital beds, prison cells, and the like. While He awaits the Fatherís signal for the grand feast of the ages to begin, Jesus is preparing that banqueting table, and His banner over me, over us, is love.
(Linda buries her face in
her hands. Edward, with arms
raised over his head, leans
back. As he does, the hooded
figure of Morely Jacobs sits
upright opposite Edward.)
Edward Greenhough, no longer a man of the worldly mind, you have shed your Buddhist robes and your counsel dispenses Godís grace to Linda.
(passes the clipboard
over his shoulder)
Jacobs! You speak comfort to me, and that after I doubted the chance and hope you procured for me. You donít know how grateful I am... Oh, the release form, of course Iíll sign it... Iíll need a pen.
(sobs on the form)
No, Edward, you will not need a pen. Your tears of worship attest that Jesus Christ is your Ebenezer. Given your attitude when you were hurting, you didnít deserve a hug, but now He gives you an eternal one anyway! And thatís the grace that takes my breath away!
(Edward wipes his tears and
hands the clipboard back
over his shoulder; lights dim)
THIS IS AN AIRPORT SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT from Jeremiah 32:40. I will make an everlasting covenant with them; I will never stop doing them good. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.
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