The world is beautiful,” Melody said aloud as she sat down on the park bench in front of a small pond.
“That's Crap. This world stinks,” said Ben, a homeless man, as he sat down on the park bench beside her. He looked rather young, perhaps in his early twenties, but he smelt bad and his clothes were ripped and dirty. His face was unshaven and his eyes looked so hopeless.
Melody looked at him surprised. Her hair was neatly pulled up in a bun. She wore designer glasses and a black high-fashioned sundress. She held her writer's pad in her hand. She'd come looking for inspiration to complete her writing assignment. After going two weeks with no inspiration, the deadline was quickly approaching. She had two more days. The point that it had to be a true story made it difficult; she preferred writing fiction with happy endings. But she had prayed for inspiration and God led her to this park.
“Each day we live is a wonderful gift from God,” she said to the homeless man beside her.
“No, it's not,” replied Ben bitterly. “It's a punishment for all the sins we have and will commit.”
Melody felt compassion swelling up in her heart for the homeless man beside her. “Don't you know? We've been forgiven. Jesus bore our sins on the cross,” she said.
He laughed cynically. “Bologna. Then why am I still suffering from mine. I bare them every day I live.
“You don't have to.”
“I must and so must we all. You're a college girl, aren't you?”
“Yes,” she replied, “a sophomore.”
“You grew up sheltered and your parents taught you these things to hide reality from you. You don't know nothing about life.”
Melody thought for a moment wondering how to reach him with the truth she had discovered. “Do you know what life is all about?” she asked.
“I know a lot more than you do.”
“Then teach me what you know.”
“I know life stinks. If there's a God, He's cruel and distant. He's also deaf to our prayers. The world is evil. We are evil. If we think we are good, we're only fooling ourselves. Life is going to shatter your dreams one day. And you're going to come to the harsh reality that life stinks.
“Your reality is harsh. Mine was harsh, too, till I gave my heart to Jesus.”
“Harsh? I doubt you even know what harsh is.”
“My parents died in a car accident when I was 4. My brother and I were put into foster care. They tried to keep us together at first, but that wasn't easy. Most people only wanted one child so we got separated. He was all I ever cared about after my parents died. He loved me so much. Eventually I got adopted. He ran away and I never heard from him again. That's what shattered my world.”
“How was the family who adopted you, religious?”
“No, evil,” she replied. “They abused me, especially the Dad. I ran away at 14 years old. Eventually, I found myself in a Christian shelter for run away kids. That's where my life was changed. I met Jesus and He became a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He's my inspiration. He's my joy. He makes life worth living.”
“So how can you afford college?”
“I work full-time... and got some scholarships. While in the shelter, I got my GED. I applied for some scholarships. My essays won me some big ones. God helped me all the way. He was there for me, encouraging me each day. He's my inspiration”
Ben looked amazed. “What's your name?” he asked.
“Melody,” she replied.
“What of your brother?” he asked.
“I don't know where he is but everyday I pray for him and I pray God will bring us back together.”
“I think I may have been wrong about something,”
Melody looked surprised. “What's that?” she asked.
“I don't think God is deaf to our prayers. I've only had one prayer since my parents died and I lost touch with my sister. I think God just answered it.”
They looked at each other as tears filled both their eyes. “Ben!” she cried as they embraced.
She'd found her long lost brother and got her story at the same time.
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