Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)
TITLE: Man of God
By Robin Ocasio
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I remember mother’s words to me as a young man, “Carlos, whether it is inconvenient, or unwelcome, YOU are a preacher of the Word, don’t you ever forget it!” I wonder if she had an inkling of this day.
The rocky ground gives no relief as I lay on my back, staring upward but seeing nothing.
My eyes no longer work. Only empty, burned out sockets remain. My captors take great pleasure in torturing me. The loss of my eyes being just one of the crosses inflicted upon me.
It is no matter, I can see more clearly now than I ever could when I had sight.
His word brings me comfort. I know the Lord will certainly preserve and bring me safe unto his heavenly kingdom.
I am not sure who reported me to the authorities.
It could have been my sister; my neighbors down the street or even my wife.
As a result, I was subjected to public humiliation. Ridiculed
I lost my job.
Everyone I knew deserted me, one by one.
Then the news came. It arrived in a registered envelope. Return Receipt. The minute I saw it, I knew immediately what it was. So did the carrier. I could see the sympathy in his eyes.
My heart sank like a stone within me.
I was to appear before the special counsel.
I had heard rumors of such things occurring, but the news media made light of it. Only the mentally ill, persons belonging to extreme religious cults, the terminally ill or criminals deemed to be a threat to society; only these individuals would be requested to undergo a counsel examination and treatment plan.
“Why would an every day bloke like me be put into that group?” The question plagued me. I was at my wit’s end. “It must be a mistake,” I reasoned. “It will soon be corrected. Everything will be fine.”
So at the appointed time, I naively reported as requested.
Upon my arrival, I was immediately ushered to a place that looked like paradise on earth. At the sheer luxury, my breath caught in awe. Every modern convenience was made available to me.
At first my tormentors used kind words and flattery. “You are such a learned scholar, a man of keen intellect, a natural leader for our people….”
They pandered to me and gave me great deference.
I must admit, I was tempted, but I just could not do as they asked.
Then they attempted to reason with me, “Carlos, you must be reasonable. Look at the facts, examine the scientific evidence, and consider carefully what history supports…”
When these tactics failed the threats began.
Still, I did not relent. The more they pushed the firmer I became.
No one acted as my advocate.
No one stood with me.
But the Lord stood by me.
Then the final “opportunity,” to clear my name, and affirm my status as a productive member of society came. I could have my life back.
To do so, I must recant my beliefs. Denounce my faith.
If I failed to do as directed, I would be forcibly placed in an internment camp and immediately begin “treatment.”
I would NOT deny Jesus!
I have fully proclaimed the Gospel message.
“Treatment” is what I now know as torture, it is my daily affliction.
The laughing, jeering voice of the guard is calling out to me, “Carlos, its time, for your treatment.”
With each new persecution, my physical body sustains new injuries. It grows weaker and I know that I am not long for this world.
From a great distance I can hear the keys opening my cell.
I hear the shuffling of feet, drawing nearer. I can smell his foul breath and feel his malicious anticipation.
“Oh Lord, may it not be charged against him.”
I smile towards my captor, because, The Lord strengthens me.
I can hardly wait….
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