Rudi crouched behind the splintered pew, shaking uncontrollably. Even after surviving eighteen attacks on his village he was unable to steel his nerves to go out and fight. The sight of seeing his thirteen year old cousin beheaded by the ruthless jihad had shattered all of his resolve on the third attack. He cried out silently to God but again he sensed he was being ignored.
There were very few men left now. At last count there were about 150, with 200 women and 300 children. A far cry from the 2000 strong village it had been just fourteen months ago before the violence began.
Another cocktail of fuel and fire ripped through the almost destroyed church. Fresh screams arose as more wounds were inflicted on innocent victims. Above the roar of the fire Rudi became aware of a childís mournful wail. It wasnít just a child, but his child, Sinchess. She was hunched on her knees, swaying like the breeze over the fallen body of her brother.
In that surreal moment something reached into Rudiís heart and transformed him in an instant. Clarity ripped through his mind as he stood and collected his dead son in his arms. Rudi opened his mouth wide and roared! Unmistakable love and grief exploded from the devastated fatherís lungs. Courage overtook the man as he strode purposefully toward the door.
Before he reached it he remembered Sinchess. He spun on his heel and ran to his terrified daughter. Rudi drew Sinchess close until all she could hear was the pounding of her fatherís heart. He wept as he cradled her in his arms and stroked her hair. The love of God began to consume him as he held his daughter, the last of his earthly loved ones who was still alive.
In the theatre of his mind Rudi relived the horror of the past fourteen months but this time with a new perspective. Having now lost his wife and son he clung to his daughter, filled with hope for the life she had left to live. He determined to stand and defend her freedom to worship God and to blossom into the young woman she was destined to become.
Rudi whispered words of assurance into Sinchessí ears before transferring her into a faithful friendís embrace. He kissed her tenderly on the forehead and turned to face the deranged enemy beyond the door. No longer afraid Rudi accepted the invitation of the Lord to fulfil his destiny.
For fourteen months Rudi had been filled with anger, grief and confusion. The attacks by the jihad had been callous and shocking. Rudi had blamed God. It was all because they were Christians the Jihad had claimed. Infidels! Rudi had witnessed much of the horror first hand and had been confronted with the crude graffiti and fear of attacks every single day. He had cried out to God for answers but had heard nothing in reply.
Today was different though. Today it all made sense. All his life Rudi had claimed to love God. That only lasted while there was peace and freedom. Since all of that had been threatened Rudi had found himself in the midst of an inner crisis. What did he really believe? The evidence of the crises revealed little love for God at all, if any.
As he held his dear son in his arms he was overwhelmed that God had willingly given his only son to pay the price for Rudiís sin. He was overcome by the reality of Godís love for him despite the rebellion in his heart. In that moment Rudi knew that he must stand against the onslaught of the jihad terrorists. He was filled with desperation to respond to the love of God and to demonstrate his love for his remaining family and friends.
Rudi took hold of the dor handle and breathed deeply. ďI love you JesusÖĒ he exhaled full of sincerity. Calmly he stepped through the threshold and confronted his true enemy.
* This story is written in memory of the 10,000 Indonesians who perished in the violent jihad attacks during 2000-2003 and to honour the courage and love of the 50,000+ refugees still trying to continue on in their lives.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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