Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)
TITLE: From the Foundation of the World
By Sandra Renee Hicks
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Everyone isn’t there yet. As those present wait, Officer Matilda mischievously asks, “Did you hear about Pastor Grove’s son, Paul?”
Eyes widen in anticipation.
Matilda’s “audience” leans forward.
Excitedly, member Earnest answers, “No, what about him?”
In animated form, Matilda continues, “He got busted for possession of cocaine. I’m surprised you didn’t see it on the local news. They paraded him out in handcuffs in front of that popular club, Bliss Cavern.”
In stunned response, Deaconess Catherine throws up her arms and exclaims, “What?!”
All eyes are riveted on Matilda.
She relishes that her revelation has made her the center of attention.
Member Gloria sits in silent prayer for the Grove family. She calmly shares, “We need to handle this with godly care.”
“Humph,” responds Matilda. She folds her arms and disdainfully declares, “What we need to do is consider the reputation of this church. Pastor Grove and his felon son have got to go. We can’t have such a disgraceful smear.”
Deaconess Catherine agrees. Angrily, she points at Gloria. “You’ve only been here a year. Most of us have a lot more invested in this church. We’ve done too much to have it damaged by a drug addicted fool.”
Gloria answers, “I’ve been a friend of God long enough to understand that without love, we are nothing.”
Matilda rolls her eyes and firmly states, “I have no intention of letting a low-life druggie disturb what we’ve labored so hard to build here.” She looks around at the others. Some give nods of approval.
Earnest won’t make eye contact with her.
Gloria locks eyes with Matilda. Sharply, she says to her, “Your position conflicts with God. If you don’t repent and change, your sins will find you out.”
Defiantly, Matilda gets up, puts her hands on her hips and declares, “I said what I mean and I mean what I said.”
With godly poise, Gloria responds, “Matilda, God’s words never return void.”
Matilda glares at Gloria but says nothing more.
Soon the rest of the participants arrive and the group proceeds to discuss the business of the church agenda.
Meanwhile at Pastor Grove’s home, the family does damage control.
Grove has known for years that Paul was addicted to cocaine. He and his wife, Mary raised their only son in the Lord but they couldn’t prevent Paul’s decline into the darkness of addiction.
When Paul was born, the Lord said to Grove and Mary, “From the foundation of the world, I destined Paul to be My anointed and chosen vessel.”
The Groves believe God. Paul’s circumstance won’t move them from God’s promise.
One morning at dawn, consumed with remorse, Paul drops to his knees in repentance. He sobs, “Lord, please forgive me and help me to kick this habit. Give me the strength to live the rest of my life in fervent service to You.”
“My son, from the foundation of the world, I destined you to be Mine. We’re going to get through this together. Have no fear, Jesus is here.”
Paul lifts his arms in gratitude. “Thank You, Lord.”
His parents look up and see Paul standing before them.
“I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused. The Lord met with me at dawn and promised that we’d get through this together.”
Grove and Mary glow, broadly grin, and gratefully embrace their son.
Paul was granted probation and ordered into a drug rehabilitation program.
Pastor Grove had to deal with the fallout at his church. Some of the self-righteous members wanted him removed, but thanks to God, reason prevailed and he remains as pastor.
Paul conquered his addiction and is now a fervent follower of Jesus.
Is Paul accepted by all at Rock Steady Church of God? No, but God accepts and approves of him. That’s more than enough.
Three years later God tells Pastor Grove, “Paul is ready. Appoint him as Youth Pastor.”
Pastor Grove knows that he risks the wrath of some church members but he’s happy to obey the Lord.
Paul does a superb job as Youth Pastor.
One day he gets a call in his office. It’s Officer Matilda. She’s crying and can barely get her words expressed.
Paul waits patiently.
In anguish, she tells him, “My daughter, Ava, is a drug addict.”
Numbers 32:23 - KJV
…and be sure your sin will find you out.
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