Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: No More Running
By Jack Taylor
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It was the water dripping off his goatee that caught my attention. A small silvery stream glimmering and glowing as it spilled onto his fleecy white raiment. His hairy arms raised in triumph over his head while his smile threatened to split his face in two. Could it be real?
I knew this man. Restless since the day he was born. Pushing the limits. Betraying his friends. Bringing heartache to his mother. Cursing his father. Challenging the nights to swallow him up. Running. Always running.
No amount of water could wash away what he had done. I’d seen the look in the face of the angel he had abandoned. Fighting in Afghanistan was no act of patriotism. This was no hero. The medals in his drawers were no compensation for the nightmares in his head. I’d seen those hollow eyes filled with terror.
I knew the children left orphaned in another land. Their cries twisted his thoughts and reached for his soul. The bitterness and humiliation of being out of control wrapped itself around his throat. The shadow of the angel of death had narrowly passed him by too often. And not always by his choice.
The scars on his wrist caught my attention. Who was this coward? This pseudo-saint who stood soaking in the pulsating strains of “Amazing Grace”. This survivor. This lost one now applauded by the smiling sheep.
Authorities had been mocked and defied. Reckless acts pursued like the wind. Meaningless words spewn like lava over friends and enemies alike. No amount of confinement had touched his heart. Now he was here. Standing serenely as if all was well. Unafraid. No longer running.
The 99 polished cherry prayer beads left behind marked him as a child of another faith. One who didn’t belong. One who had stumbled long and hard and often. Purging his spirit and falling short. No water before had ever purified him in the way he longed to be pure.
I knew he had bowed the knee. I knew he had confessed the Name. I knew he had embraced the Son. I knew the arms of God were wide.
Grace had won. Freedom lived. Forgiveness reigned. Joy flowered. Obedience danced. Trust smiled.
I looked at myself in the mirror of the baptistery. The rivulet on my goatee trickled to a stop. The peace was real. His Word was true. There was no more need to run.
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