He stood alone in the field, sadly gazing at what once was his home. Now, there was nothing but charred wood and destroyed lives. It had been so long since Preacher had heard his own name, he had forgotten it. Besides, it was safer to only be known by what he was called to be...a preacher—and that had cost him everything.
“God, why did You do this to Your people?” He yelled, throwing his clean shaven head to the sky. “We stayed true to the Word—even died for the Cause. What else can I give up?”
Broken, he sank to the blackened ground at what was once the front door and wept. Preacher could see, in his minds eye, the lovingly built cabin where he had grown up. He could see his father’s large form trudging across the thicket with dinner slung over his shoulder. Despite the grim look that seemed to have been permanently etched onto his father’s face, there was always a twinkle in his eye and a whistle on his lips. He could see his mother puttering around the kitchen, wooden spoon in hand, working on dinner while helping Preacher and his sister with their class work.
This had been home. Now it was gone.
Preacher had hoped...no dreamed of…to return to the cabin with Valerie, his wife, after the persecution ended, and start their family together.
A breeze caught up some of the ashes and sent them into the air, and in that moment, Preacher heard that small Voice that had been silent for so many months.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future...Trust Me, My son...”
Preacher choked back a wail as he fell prostrate on the ground. The memories of his home seemed to merge with his dreams for the future. Valerie was carrying two small children across the thicket towards a new cabin. He was standing in the front of the cabin smiling widely and laughing as one of the children demanded to be put down. The child toddled forward, towards Preacher and latched onto his leg.
“Please, God. Don’t take that from me.” Preacher breathed, curling his gnarled fingers deep into the charred soil.
Preacher’s phone vibrated in his back pocket startled him. But, the presence of God was so strong, he couldn’t move.
“When all is stripped away, and you have nothing else, My son, that is when you are truly home,” His voice gently scolded Preacher but then the tone shifted. “But because of your faithfulness in the things that you were called to, I will grant you the desires of your heart.”
The phone vibrated again, and Preacher felt a release within his spirit. With a shaking hand, he fished out the phone and flipped it open. He didn’t recognize the number. Preacher frowned and carefully answered it, glancing towards the sky wondering what God had in store for him now.
A familiar voice flooded the line, “Hello, David? It’s me...”
Preacher blinked and sucked in a deep breath, David was his real name. In disbelief, he sat backward on his haunches. “Va...Valerie? Valerie! Are you okay?”
“I’m okay...and you won’t believe what God has done for us.”
“Then tell me, Sweetie...”
She slowly began to unfold everything that God had provided and David found himself smiling and glancing around the thicket. As she finished, David began to laugh.
“Valerie...I’ve got the perfect spot for our home...I just need to build it.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
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