Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: Take Heart
By Ambrose W
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I feel my nation breathe a sigh as the news is handed down. We all bow our heads and wear solemn faces. Properly sober, we prepare to mourn him.
But I know the thought that burns in my heart is not mine alone. I see the good this man has done, but I am glad that he has no more to do.
My grandfather was among the original rallies for hierarchy for our people.
“Give us a king! Give us a fountainhead! Give us a leader so that we may command respect as we stand among other nations!”
It was his creed, and he taught it to my father.
His wishes were gingerly granted, and a king was appointed. He was a man who lived well, but died in squalor. That man was replaced by our recently departed king, who in those days was a wonder to behold.
Yes, this king made our people’s pride swell with no caution. Men emulated him. Women adored him. He singlehandedly won wars. He sat in fields and wrote passionate verses. He was kind and brave.
It was even said that he was a man after my God’s own heart.
And I will admit, I think those words were true.
I believe his soul still grasped for the Most High, even when his body bowed to putrid impulse.
When sex – oh that terrible, typical vice that has enslaved and degraded more great men than I care to know – shackled my king and turned him from a champion to a murderer, I believe that no one grieved more than he.
Now, over the last few months, as his children have violated one another and defiled all manner of holy sanctuaries, I do not think he entertained fantasies of his innocence. I do not think he counted himself clean.
He was a good man, but he was just that. A man.
And so it is with that sentiment, that I bury my king.
It is the same sentiment with which I buried my grandfather.
My grandfather who desired nothing more than for God to be justified to the world. He who woke each morning and worked each day with prayers on his lips. He who grew vexed at the aimless state of our people, as he knew the power we held but did not wield. He who allowed himself flawed illusions of how our nation should find peace and glory.
And now I bear the consequences of my grandfather’s shortsighted folly. I must watch as our leaders grow drunk on meaningless power. I must tell my sons again and again that true authority is not a worldly institution. I must close my eyes and imagine what it must have been like to see my Lord as a mighty cloud before me. Oh what I would give to know that firsthand presence!
Soon, the king’s son will take the throne. By all accounts, this young man is predicted to be wildly successful on behalf of our nation. It is said that he will bring us honor, and other nations will revere us once again.
I long to believe it.
But I look at this young man, and I wonder which of his father’s sins have been pressed into his heart. I wonder how long it will be until we must eat the bitter fruits that are sure to drop from him.
Then I look at my own sons and I wonder the same thing.
What have I done? Me. A man with no political standing or consequence. What sins have I pressed into my son’s hearts? Can I do anything to rectify it?
These wonderings, they are nothing new. They’re a continual regurgitation of human defect. When will fathers stop kissing death onto their son’s foreheads? How will our people rise from humiliation and wandering? Where can we go to rest our tired bones?
These are questions that I cannot answer.
But as my nation bows before yet another faulty ruler, I know answers will not come to us until Israel no longer seeks flesh or vindication to be our king.
It is not for me to know the time or the place.
But my Lord assures me that this era of human kings will not last forever.
So I wait for the one who needs not seek God’s heart, but is the Heart himself.
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