Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: A Distant Green
By Lynda Schultz
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The old man chuckled to himself as he picked his way through the rocks. His breath was ragged, but anticipation gave him strength as he took the last step that would bring him to his destination at the summit. Tomorrow would be a new day and he wouldn’t be complaining about mountains. He doubted that he’d even have to worry about coming down off of this particular one. He sensed that this would be his final trip, as surely as he sensed the presence of God around him.
The day was clear. He looked out, shading his eyes from the glare of the sun. He could see it all—all that Yahweh had promised the Hebrews from long before he was born. It was so…green.
Ah, now I know I’ve spent too long in the wilderness—to be so impressed by something as simple as a colour!
A millisecond of regret clouded his thoughts. The impatience of his youth, that rashness he’d thought had been left far behind him at the foot of a dead Egyptian, had caught him unprepared as an old man. Two blows, and unwise words that were an affront to God’s holiness, had cost him his walk through this beautiful land another generation would now enjoy.
Still, it would have been something to walk over there in all that greenery, to touch the ground You promised to give to our Father Abraham’s children.
“Moses, my friend.”
The old man wasn’t startled. Once upon a time he would have jumped at the sound of God speaking to him. Not anymore. After all this time he heard God’s voice even when Yahweh wasn’t speaking out loud.
“Yes, my Lord.” Moses waited. It was not for mere man, even the friend of God, to speak before his Maker had his say.
“This is it. This is the land I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were all men of faith, my friend, in spite of their frailties. They roamed around, living in tents, all the while believing that this day would come. I told them their descendants would return to this land, build houses, plant crops, found cities.”
His audience of one nodded his head slowly.
“I wanted you at least to see it, even though you won’t cross the Jordan with the others.”
“I appreciate that, Lord, I honestly do.”
It was an end, but it was also a beginning.
“So, they’re going to make it this time?”
Israel’s soon-to-be-ex-leader could almost hear God chuckle at the hint of doubt in His servant’s voice.
“This time they will.”
With just the tiniest twinge of envy, Moses thought about two men who had been with him from the beginning of this journey who were going to be especially delighted to see the end of this journey.
“Caleb and Joshua are finally going to get their vindication. They told the others that giants and fortified cities wouldn’t be any problem for You,” he remarked as he mentally annexed: And now those “others” won’t get the chance to find out how true that is.
“I heard that, Moses.”
The old man smiled.
It was as though two men stood side by side perfectly attuned to each other and each comfortable in the presence of the other. Anyone observing would think he saw only one old man who seemed to be talking to himself. Moments passed in silence until…
“It’s time, Moses.
A wind, like the breath of angels’ wings, stirred around the old man’s head. He took one last look at Canaan and then turned his eyes toward what he couldn’t see, but what he knew was there. The brilliant green of the Promised Land faded and gave way before the overwhelming glory of another place.
Face to face this time, Lord?
Face to face this time, my friend.
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