Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)
TITLE: Love through the Chaos
By Elizabeth Cain
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Bibles are illegal, and many have been destroyed. The few surviving copies have been divided into separate books, bound with the covers of household books, and have been distributed amongst Christian families.
“What do we look like to the world?” I ask Brett, my older brother, as he turns the page.
“What do you mean?” he asks.
“Mr. Andrews said that when the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s heart his life changes. What does that change look like?”
“God’s love, I guess. And I’d imagine a life that produces the ‘Fruits of the spirit’.” I hear Brett close the book, “Speaking of Mr. Andrews, we’d best be going. The sun’s about ready to set and we don’t want to be late.”
Every week we Christians meet together in this crypt for worship, and tonight there are at least thirty of us. I recognize the voice of Mrs. Gonzales, a baker; Mr. Andrews, a missionary; Mr. Parker, a construction worker; and many other voices. Brett holds onto my hand as he leads me through the cryp.
I hear Brett start coughing, “You alright?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he replies, “guess I’m still not used Just the smell of decaying—”
The crypt suddenly explodes in a rain of gunfire, one of the bullets rips through my left arm. I drop to the floor, crying out in pain.
“Ana!” Brett yells over the uproar, “Are you alright!”
I can’t answer through the pain, but I manage a nod.
“We need to get out of here!” I think I hear him say, before he picks me up. He takes off in the direction of one of the tunnels, I assume. “Almost there,” He murmurs, but then he suddenly cried out and slumps to the floor.
“Brett!?” I exclaim, my voice lost in the deafening gunshots reverberating throughout the crypt.
“Keep going!” I hear him say, and I out in the direction of his voice. I jump when my hand touches something warm and wet. His shirt is stained with blood. Tears pour from my eyes and for a moment I can’t breathe.
“Ana, you must go!” Brett says again.
I feel him grab my hand, pointing it a little to the right.
I obey, dashing in the direction he instructed. My breaths are in short gasps and I keep choking sobs. I must have made it into the tunnel because the farther I went the quieter the gunshots were. Feeling around with outstretched hands I found the wall, and as I followed it I’m sure my bloodied hand left a trail of blood.
Gradually the gunshots cease, and I know that everyone is dead. Tears blur my vision, causing me to stumble. Fresh pain courses through my arm as I hit the floor. Too exhausted to continue, I simply sit against the wall.
Thinking back to the verses Brett read a strange peace comes over me. I take comfort in the knowledge that everyone who died today is now with God. I’ll see them all again one day, everyone, that is, except their murderers.
Wiping the tears from my eyes I whisper, “Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us so that all my friends who died today can be with you now. Help the remainder of my life reflect you. Please be with the people who hurt us tonight. I pray that You touch their hearts, Lord, as you’ve touched ours…” I struggle to breathe again, but manage to continue “Please be with the man who killed Brett. Help him to come to know You…”
“Who are you talking to?” a voice asks curtly.
I give a startled jump, my thoughts racing, “…I was … praying.” My voice is shaky, but not with fear.
“Of course.” I hear him say, “No doubt for your life to be spared. It’s your false beliefs that sentence you to death.”
“…Only in this life…” I say gently, though I’m not sure if it’s me speaking. “But I wasn’t praying for… my life to be spared; I was praying… for you… and your friends to... find peace” I smile, hoping he sees in me a life touched by God. The pain in my arm fades. All I feel now is joy.
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