Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: "Serenity While the World Shakes"
By Lucile McKenzie
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Meanwhile, Esmal, sound asleep in his bed, dreamed he was sailing on a boat that rocked back and forth with increasing intensity. Suddenly an especially hard rock jolted him awake. But, oddly the rocking continued. Groggily, he sat up. “What’s happening? Why is my bed shaking?” After a few sleep-stunned minutes, he realized it was an earthquake.
“Oh, no, what is happening at the prison?” Mindful of his responsibilities as chief jailor, he stumbled out of bed. “I must hurry. If they‘ve all escaped, the prison officials will have me executed.”
As quickly as possible he made his way through the dark, rubble-strewn streets to the prison. The sight struck terror into his soul. Many of the building’s walls had crumbled. Iron doors to the cells were lying on the ground or hanging by one hinge. Esmal cried out, “Surely they’ve all fled. I will be held accountable.” Well, he thought, at least I shall save them the trouble. I will not die a disgraceful death at someone else’s hand. He drew his sword and pointed it toward his chest.
But much to his shock, he heard a voice call from amidst the rubble, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” (Acts 16: 28 NAS) Was that the voice of the Apostle Paul, who, with a man named Silas, was imprisoned for continuing to speak out about someone named Jesus? Esmal had dismissed them as merely a couple of rabble-rousing fanatics.
Stunned, he called out, “Bring some light.” As men gathered with torches, Esmal, trembling with fear, stumbled into the prison. To his amazement, all the prisoners indeed were there, even though their chains, loosened during the quake, lay scattered on the floor. Esmal found Paul and Silas sitting quietly in a corner of their ruined cell. Marveling, he said, “The faith these two men have in this Jesus has not only kept them unafraid in the face of possible death, but miraculously, their faithful courage has also calmed the other prisoners so they did not escape. What mighty power this Jesus has!”
Overcome, he fell down in front of Paul and Silas and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30 NAS)
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