Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)
TITLE: The Unlikely Malta Miracle
By Amy Brown
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Julius purposefully paced the deck, trying to remember his little girl’s face with hazy success. It had been nearly a year since he was last home and she would have grown now even more into the beauty of her mother. But these thoughts were otherworldly. Now his existence seemed mysteriously wrapped around the life of another, the strange man more scarred than the most battle-weathered soldier who stood before him.
“Julius, if any of these sailors escape, the rest of the ship will be in jeopardy!”
“Yes, man, I understand, but what would you have me to do?”
“Obey the message. We must stay together.”
“You want me to watch as these men’s agonizing last hopes disappear into the sea with their lifeboat all because my prisoner has had a dream? You’re out of line, Paul.”
“You know as well as I do, Julius, that misplaced hope is not hope at all. They cannot and will not save themselves. And if they try God will not allow the salvation of many of the others on this ship.”
Julius stormed off. Paul had a way of polarizing people, either they lavished undying love on him or they relentlessly hated him and sought after his death. He’d heard stories of his miracles, his healings, but he didn’t need to see a miracle to know that Paul’s message of Christ was the only true thing he’d heard in his entire life. He just wasn’t ready to admit it. After all, it was the Romans who had put him to death.
His voice bellowed out over the storm to his soldiers. “Cut the lifeboat’s ropes! None will leave this vessel until God himself has deemed it is time!”
Julius’ words hadn’t been the typical sinner’s prayer, but without a second thought he knew he would indeed live, whether he lived or died. He turned towards Paul, but Paul was gone encouraging the men to eat.
At dawn they saw beachfront and though the surf pounded the ship’s bow into a sandbar and the stern was battered to pieces, all 276 survived as they swam or were washed onto the island of Malta. None who heard were not amazed and for generations sailors would hear about the unlikely Malta miracle. But Julius, his wife and his precious daughter knew the real miracle had happened on the ship before he ever reached the beach’s sands. God, the sea’s and the hurricane’s creator, had become his ultimate lifeboat and he’d finally boarded ship.
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