Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Adulthood( 07/30/09)
Trust like a child
By Josiah Kane
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I’m shuffling toward the door, but my gaze is fixed heavenward. I’m desperately hoping God is looking. I cannot bear the destitution personified by that door. “Please, Lord. Please! You know I need this job.”
Comes the Whisper “I know.”
The polished door swings open. My judge sits by that desk, his eyes drilling into mine, getting ready to pass the dreaded sentence. Worst of all is the coolness in those eyes. I’m no one to him. Just a tool in an assembly line; a defective part at that. Despairingly I throw my head down and silently sob. This man hasn’t a heart for people. He only cares that his job’s in a peak of demand at the moment when everyone else’s has slumped, and so he sucks the livelihood from his co-workers. He doesn’t care. No-one cares.
Comes the Whisper “I care.”
The manager’s lips slide apart into a rigorously policed gap. A sickening stream of honeyed malice slips through it, explaining firmly though not curtly that I’m to be retrenched. Part of wants to give up, wants to storm out even. But the manager keeps gibbering on about Economic necessity and over-specialization. So instead I return to pleading with my Father. “What about Rebecca, Lord? Or the kids? Steve, Mike, Leah; they…we…need the money. You know jobs are fleeing like rabbits as prices soar overhead like an eagle. Who can look after us, Lord?”
Comes the Whisper “I can.”
At last the monologic meeting is over, the manager has made it clear that this paycheck shall be my last. “Your particular services,” he says, “are no longer required.” I draw my coat tighter around my body and hunch over in anticipation of a frigid winter even before I leave the building. I trudge dejectedly along, nipping into an alleyway as shelter from a late autumn squall. Without warning I can contain my grief no longer. “WERE YOU EVEN IN THERE?” I scream. “And now? Where are you now? My life’s always been enough of a tightrope act, struggling to ballance work and home and church and life! Are you really going to stay at my side as the rope is sawn through at both ends? Father, this is impossible. Are you going to hang around through the impossible?”
Comes the Whisper “I was. I am. I shall.”
My stormy soul begins to calm, but it is still far too turbulent. “But Father, why? I have no job, which means no income, which means nowhere to live; nothing to wear; nothing to eat. I was practically permanently broke though I laboured without pausing. How now can I support my family? How can I even support myself?”
Comes the Whisper “You can’t”
I weep, completely confounded. “What can I do?”
Comes the Whisper “Trust me.”
I pause, utterly unable to respond. Hanging in the air is the whispered “Trust me.” I wonder, awestruck, then finally mutter “Lord, what must I do?”
Comes the Whisper “Seek my kingdom.”
I backtrack, determined to follow the walk through the browning park. My heart no longer so burdened with worry I almost want to sing. I round a corner, and physically stumble over a tramp. The vagrant’s sleepy eyes close tight in pain, but he is clearly too cold and weak to respond. Before my reason comprehends what I am doing, I clasp the filthy man around the chest and heave him to his feet. Then I scramble to slip out of my coat, and bind it around his shuddering frame. Gently I lay him down once more, smiling to see the shivers die down into contented rest. There’s a couple of quid in the coat as well, enough for a warm bowl of soup for the needy man.
I stride on toward my home, and strangely the autumn air fells somehow warmer. As a man I’ve striven but failed to provide for my family. But trusting as a child in the faithful promise of my God, I hope to see his solution borne out in my life.
Story inspired by Matthew 6:24-34 in light of the modern economic downturn.
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