Rags to Riches
Rasul raised his arms to protect his head as his master struck him again and again with a heavy, nail-filled club. He bit his lips at the excruciating pain as his flesh ripped apart. Clarence yelled at him, “You lazy, good for nothin’ slave. I’ll teach you to go fer water without permission. Back to work and don’t let me catch you loafin’ again, you rotten piece of dirt.”
Rasul pushed his arms against the ground, groaning as he pulled himself up, sweat and blood trickling down his back. The salty sweat stung his open wounds. “Oh Lord,” he cried “Give me strength to get through this day.” At the end of the day, he thanked God for giving him the strength to endure.
As he walked into his broken down cabin, onto the dirt floor, his wife, Adin, stood aghast as she stared at him. “Honey, what happened?” They discussed their situation as she washed his wounds and bandaged them. They longed for the days in 1805, when they were at home in Africa, before the slave traders captured them and brought them to America to be sold in the slave market. After she finished bandaging him, she prepared their supper consisting of some stale bread and a bowl of rice, rationed out to them by their owners.
Rasul wondered what his owner might be eating. He knew it would be the very best that money could buy. Perhaps a tender steak with baked potatoes and fresh vegetables from the garden, complete with a home-baked apple pie for dessert. He hungered to be able to eat just one full meal. “It ain’t fair, Adin. We be working from sun-up to sun-down whilst dey get everythin’ they be needin.’
“No, it ain’t,” she agreed. “But Jesus will make it fair in da next life. We dus got to keep trustin’. We pay for dem that dey not end up bein’ tortured ferev’r in hell.”
The next morning, Rasul struggled to drag his body out of bed. Back to the cotton field and another grinding day. “You look terrible,” commented a friend. “I feel terrible,” Rasul replied, “but Jesus here ta help me.”
Suddenly from out of nowhere, Clarence appeared. “You’re going to think ‘Jesus’ when I get through with you, scum bag. You’ll be sorry you ever mentioned that name.” Down came the club, striking him on the head, leaving Rasul sprawled out on the ground. “Get up,” yelled Clarence but Rasul couldn’t move. His head throbbed and he knew his life was draining from him. Clarence yelled again, “Get up,” as he kicked him in the side.
Suddenly Rasul felt no pain at all. A sense of great peace and calm came over him such as he had never known. He found himself standing on his feet, gazing at the most gorgeous mountain scene. The beauty and brilliance was beyond what he could describe. Then he saw his mother running toward him. He had never known her to look so young and vibrant. There was a shine about her that he somehow knew was a result of being in the presence of the Lord. He trembled, remembering her last breath as she lay groaning in bed, laden with arthritis that wouldn’t let her straighten her body. “Welcome home, son,” she exclaimed as she hugged him.
Then he saw a man approaching. There was something very different about this man and somehow he knew instinctively that it was Jesus.
“Enter into the joy of the Lord, Son,” he said. “Never again shall you hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite you.* You suffered poverty on earth but now all the riches of Heaven are yours.”
* Isa 49:10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. (KJV)
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