Where there is life..
Pains in his back grew worse as the sound died down. How long since the mountain broke apart covering the village in mud and rock; to his pained mind it seemed hours. Losing air, Jason tried to calm his breathing, yet the pain made it hard.
He tried thinking of what happened. It was not a quake, no trimmer occurred, just a mass of rock, mud, and uprooted trees sliding down the hillside. His only warning, the sound of trees snapping behind his house; a warning that gave him time to jump from a window before the house was covered.
As his breathing slowed, he tried calling out, but the dust choked his voice. All he could do was pray that some had lived and would come with help. Knowing the closely built community at the foot of a mountain, visions of the village covered in mud raced through his mind. How many had survived?
He started praying for those he had grown to know as family. Neighbors that slowly turned to the Lord after two years of ministry. He could see the village skeptic shouting, knowing the man would try claiming it was the act of judgement.
"Where is mercy?" The man would roar, not knowing the true love of God. Seeking to keep others doing his will, keeping him in power. Jason prayed for help in dealing with this man, and now, the skeptic would win.
"Oh Lord," he prayed. "I seek you once more. Do not let my failure destroy the goodness of these people."
In the darkness, Jason heard voices singing, and knew his life was leaving him. With his remaining strength he pushed against the wall. Then taking a stone in his hand, he knocked against it, knowing the sound would not reach those above.
As he was losing consciousness, Jason thought he could feel vibrations along the wall. Slowly, he knew it was so, as the space he was in grew larger, the voices louder. Then as light shined down in his eyes, he heard his neighbor's voice call out.
"He’s here," Martin called out. "Under there. Brace this wall."
Jason began praising God even as he was being pulled by the arms through a small opening that grew larger every second; hands clearing dirt away as he was pulled free.
"What.. happened," Jason whispered as he sat on the ground. Looking around he could see the villagers gathering, no one was hurt; his house was ruined.
"Zukajah tried getting rid of you," the neighbor explained. "He loosened some rocks up the hill, but he must have gotten caught in the slide. The tools he used were still there, but no one has seen him."
Jason looked at the hillside behind his home, wondering where Zukajah was beneath the rubble.
"If he’s trapped, we need to help him."
Jason struggled to his feet leaning on one of the young men, starting up the hill searching for signs of Zukajah, anything to point where he might be under the debris. Time rushed past as they looked, digging in a mad race to find the trapped man.
Jason was growing weary when they found Zukajah's robes buried in the rocks. Martin pulled him aside so the younger men could work, digging the man out. Hearing Zukajah groan as they lifted him up between two boulders, Jason could not be held back, reaching the man as they laid him on the ground, hardly breathing but still alive.
"Zuka?" Jason called to him, leaning close over the man who had been his rival since he had first come to the village. "Zukajah, can you hear me? You are safe, we are here to help."
“Why..?" Zukajah whispered, weak and near death, "Why.. you try.. help? I try.. kill you."
"You acted out of anger," Jason said, placing the man's robe under him like a pillow, "I act from the love of God. He that would help you."
"No help.. for me."Zukajah closed his eyes, "Your God is greater than mine."
"Come now," Jason smiled, "there is but one God, you just haven't accepted that."
"You think.. there is hope.?"
Jason looked at the faces of those gathered, people who knew the old man all their lives. They knew his anger, yet also knew he was one of God's creation. Turning to Zukajah, the man who stood against him for two years now. In his heart, he thanked the Lord for him.
"Where there is life there is hope."
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