Jason sat down on the long steep steps of an old building in the heart of the city. He swung the small back pack off his shoulder and let it drop beside him. It was a pleasant enough for a spring morning. There wasn’t much traffic here and Jason could sit in the early morning light and allow his thoughts to collect. It was Jason’s 17th birthday. It had been two years since he had packed a few clothes and quietly slipped out the back door of his home in the middle of the night. He wondered what his mother would be doing right then, in that quiet little town in the middle of nowhere.
“W’sup?” Jason heard a voice behind him say. Jason turned to look up at a tall slender figure with long hair wearing a well worn trench coat.
“Hi, I’m Bill.” said the man in a soft reassuring voice. “Who are you looking for?”
“No one,” said Jason. I just sat down here to find some peace and quiet.”
“Ah. Well you looked like you were looking for someone. I’ll leave you alone to your thoughts,” Bill said and started to walk away.
“You don’t have to leave,” Jason muttered. “It’s a free world. You can sit wherever you want.” In reality Jason felt he could use a little company. He spent most of his time alone, avoiding contact with other people. Having someone to talk to on his birthday seemed a little comforting. His father had been a demanding perfectionist and couldn’t tolerate Jason’s restlessness and uncertainty. It was good to hear friendly voice.
Bill pulled a couple of granola bars out of one of his many pockets and held one out to Jason, “Want one,” he said.
“Yeah sure, thanks,” Jason said gratefully. He hadn’t hadn’t eaten since noon yesterday.
“You look like you’ve been on the road for a while. Have you found what you’re looking for,” asked Bill?”
“Yeah? Well you look like you’ve been on the road for a while yourself,” said Jason. “You hang around here much?”
“Nope. I just needed to get some air and felt like this would be a good place to come.”
“Ya know, the strangest thing happened early this morning” Bill continued. “I was awoke from a deep sleep by a bunch of sounds that occurred all at the same time. A loud rattling sound, a car starting up and a person’s loud snoring all occurred like a crescendo of sound. I was so sound asleep that it felt like I was being drug up out of deep hole. When I woke up I felt this urging to look at my watch. It was exactly 1:12 AM and heard the name, ‘Matthew.’ I’m not a religious person, but I felt I was supposed to read Matthew 1:12 in the Bible. So I rummaged around and found this old bible and looked it up. The verse simply said, ‘After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel, the father of Zerubbabel.’ I thought, ‘Man, why would that passage be important to anybody? It is so short and meaningless. But then I suddenly realized what it meant. It seemed so important that I just had to tell somebody about it.”
“So,” Bill said. “Would you be interested in hearing what that passage is about.”
Jason looked at Bill over his right shoulder with a leery eye. “Not really, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead.”
“Well,” Bill began cautiously, “What I saw was that even in the worst times possible these people from Israel,l who had been drug off into exile as prisoners of war were still being used by God. They were still being productive and doing what they were doing, not knowing that from their direct family lines would come the messiah. Isn’t that totally amazing? It didn’t matter how good they were, or how hard they worked. God was still using them. I think that’s what God wants people to hear. No matter how horrible things may seem, God has not forgotten you, and that he is still using you.”
By the time Bill had finished speaking Jason was slumped over with his head in his hands weeping desperately. Jason had felt so alone, so abandoned, that he had thought that absolutely no one cared whether he lived or died; especially God!
A few minutes later when Jason looked up, he was alone.
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