Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Who Will Heed Her Woes?
By Peter Stone
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Seeing that no one heeded her woes, I sat beside her. “What troubles you, child?”
She responded with suspicion, “What are you doing in Bethlehem, gentile?”
“I’m writing a book about the Messiah, Yeshua. Since He was born here, this seemed a good place to further my research. I’m a doctor from Greece - my name is Luke.”
“You follow the Way?” she asked, curious now.
“And a doctor?”
Hope entered her voice, “My mother is very sick. Can you help her?”
She took me to a run-down, flat-roofed stone house. An aging man met us at the door. “You bring a stranger to our home, Miriam?”
“This is Luke, father. He follows the Way. And he’s a doctor.”
Seeing the concern in my face, the man sighed, “Forgive my rudeness, friend. I am Hanan. Please, enter.”
The house was in a state of disorder. Worn out clothes needed mending, cooking pots were encrusted with dried food, and the floor had not been swept for some time.
Against the far wall, a woman in her fifties lay curled in a fetal position on a sleeping mat, rocking slowly back and forth. I recognised her malady immediately. “How long has she been like this, Hanan?”
He answered from a great distance, “For thirty-four years, since the murder of our son. Sometimes these turns last a day, sometimes weeks. During them Rinnah barely eats and cannot sleep.”
“Your son was murdered?” I asked, aghast.
Tears were flowing. “It was Herod’s soldiers. They came to Bethlehem and killed every male infant. They pulled little Joseph from Rinnah’s arms and ran him through right in front of her.”
I was distraught. “May I speak with your wife, friend?”
“Can you help her?”
“Not as a doctor, no,” I answered truthfully. “But by lifting her up on the wings of an eagle with God’s Word, perhaps.”
Hanan consented, so I sat beside the painfully thin woman.
“Who are you,” she whispered.
“I am Luke. Like your family, I follow the Way. I would like to share a Scripture with you.”
“Tried that. Doesn’t help much,” she lamented.
“I think this time it will. The Book of Jeremiah says ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.’ ”
“Sounds like my life,” she murmured.
“Indeed. My research has revealed that after Herod had all the young boys in Bethlehem slain, he thought the Messiah to be dead, and therefore ceased pursuing Him. Rinnah, your son died so that Yeshua, the Messiah, the Son of God, could live.”
Rinnah stopped rocking. “What?”
“But it does not end there, Rinnah. As you know from being a follower of the Way, three years ago the Messiah died. In fact, Yeshua died so that your son could live.”
Rinnah sat up, “But my son is dead!”
“Yeshua taught that God is not a God of the dead, but of the living. Because of your faith, Rinnah, your son is even now in heaven, embraced by Yeshua’s loving arms.”
Drawn by the words the Lord was laying on my heart, Hanan and Miriam sat beside Rinnah.
“Do you visit your son’s tomb, Hanan?” I asked suddenly.
He staggered as though struck. “I was doing so, but…”
“But the tomb was broken open three years ago, was it not?” I pressed.
Glancing fearfully at his wife, hands tensed into fists, Hanan nodded. “Yes, and Joseph’s body was gone!”
“Our son’s tomb was desecrated?” Rinnah demanded in outrage.
“Oh no,” I said, smiling warmly, “quite the opposite. I have spoken at length with Matthew, one of the Messiah’s disciples. He told me that after the Messiah died, tombs throughout Israel broke open and the bodies of many holy people were raised to life, days later to be taken to heaven by the resurrected Yeshua. Dear lady – your son was one of these, so as Jeremiah said, ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded.’ And this work, which you have so faithfully embraced, is to believe in the Messiah whom the Father sent.”
All at once Rinnah, Hanan and Miriam were hugging each other while laughing and crying. Their burden of despair had been replaced with the oil of joy.
Jeremiah 31:15-16, Matthew 27:52-53, Isaiah 40:31, John 6:29.
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