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TRUST JESUS TODAY
I've had this idea for this story for quite some time. I let my mind chew it for a bit, because I wanted it to be really good. I tried to push it out though, for a FW Challenge "Teacher". I didn't have time and I wouldn't have been satisfied with what I had. I've been tweaking it ever since, just whenever I had time. I finished it, but I almost feel like I rushed the ending. I'm not completely satisfied with it. Help? Please?
Here I go again.
Slowly, my little Ford Ranger pulled over to the curb, right in front of 6613 Lakeside Avenue. It was a trip I'd made with anticipation many times before. But this visit was different. This time, there wasn't an extra plate for me at the dinner table, there wasn't a game on the big screen TV, there wasn't even that big, old, dumb mastiff slobbering at the door to greet me. No, it would just be me and my friend. Everyone else had deserted him; I was all he had left. And instead of jumping out and running up to the door, I pulled the key out of the ignition and sat in the dark, silently pleading with God as I stared out at the cold, wet night. Lord, but I get so nervous about this kinda stuff. I stutter, sometimes. I don't know what to say...what if he gets mad at me?
I will give you the words. Trust in Me. Now, go...and teach.
But God, this is my friend, not one of my little seventh grade history students. And he's dying of cancer. I may never see him again. He doesn't want to be preached at.
Don't preach the way...teach the way.
I could see my friend's head appear in the window, the soft light surrounding him only accentuating his pale, white skin stretched thin against his skull. He's waiting for me, Lord...
I'm waiting for him...
I sighed. Grasping the door handle I whisper to the silence, "Here I go again." I stepped into the drizzling rain and walked slowly up to the house. The door opened before I even reached the porch. "Hey," a weak voice called out. "Were you gonna sit out there and freeze all night? I thought you fell asleep." He tried to keep his voice light and carefree, but relief shone in his eyes, temporarily hiding the pain. Pain from his body's losing battle. And pain from the rejection of many loved ones.
I smiled as I wiped my boots on the front mat and shook the rain from my coat. "I'd never leave you, my friend." I paused, briefly confused. Where had those words come from? From my mouth, sure, but where...
"...come on in. It's been a while since I've seen you." He was leading me to the living room. He gestured towards his favorite leather recliner. "Sit down. Do you want anything to drink?"
I swallowed hard. "No, t-thanks," was all that I could manage. See, God? I wanted to scream. Even in his last hours, he thinks of others before himself. Why do you want to kill such a selfless man?
Morals do not save a man. Teach the way...time is running out...
"...so I've been going to a support group; all cancer patients. The leader's a cancer survivor. They seem to be the only people who actually understand everything I'm going through. Don't get me wrong," he added hastily. "Your friendship means the world to me, but...you just don't know..." I watched as a small tear escaped the corner of his eye and rolled gently down his cheek.
We both stared out the window during the uncomfortable silence that followed. A steady drizzle flowed from the sky, making the night seem even darker and more forlorn than the starless night sky had been to begin with. A perfect match to the mood in here, I thought to myself. I could stand the silence no longer. "Gee, how about this rain we're having? Think we've had enough?" Here I go again. This may be my last chance to tell him that God loves him and all I can think to talk about is something as superficial as the weather.
He nodded and we chatted about cars, football, and the latest action movie. Another long silence followed. I could take it no longer. I decided to plunge right in. Here I go again... "Do you have any idea what's going to happen when you die?"
"No," he whispered quietly. His mouth stretched into a small, uneasy smile. "I thought you'd never ask that. You can tell me, can't you? I'm so scared..."
A mere fifteen minutes later, we were both on our knees, weeping and holding each other. My friend pulled away from me. "Brother," his voice broke. "What took you so long to tell me these things?"
I sat back and wondered why I had waited so long. "I don't know, my friend. I honestly don't know."
A gentle breeze suddenly broke into the room and swirled around us, weeping with us, and whispering to our souls.
My children, my children...
I was there with him three days later, in the hospital. In so much pain, but filled with such joy. I knew the end had come when he opened his blind eyes, reached his shaking hands upwards, and whispered, "Rabbi..."
I heard a whisper from heaven and it flooded my grieving heart with peace.
You have taught him well my child.
* A Fictional story inspired by the song "Here I Go Again" by Casting Crowns. *
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