Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)
TITLE: A Heart's Witness
By C D Swanson
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The events continuously circled his mind since the incident. He recalled with precision, and detailed accuracy, all of which he had seen, and smelled during his tour of duty. He remembered the acrid stench that had assaulted his nostrils while he fought bitter bile that threatened his esophagus. He recoiled thinking about the claustrophobic areas in which prisoners were ensconced, vermin their biting cell mates.
Within the tomb-like openings, oppressive sounds of chains rattling mingled with woeful cries. The incessant rattle of one particular individual had unnerved him considerably. He wasn't like the rest, he wasn't an average prisoner.
His chains held an almost melodic-rattle. And, unlike the rest, he seemed at peace, even though he was imprisoned. The majority of captives desolate and sorrowful yet held arrogance in their demeanor. Not so for this particular individual. Although confined, he was free. Although in chains, he was calm. And, when he said, "I was wrong in the past for what I've done. I was a rebel, spiritually blind, completely separated from God by sin. But, then Jesus died on a cross to pay for my sins, and through faith and by grace, I've been forgiven. I've been adopted into God's family, and I'll never be the same. I am free, He has set me free.” --he would bring his right hand way up, and the chain would rattle in song-like fashion.
He had continued with alarming tranquility stating, "There are things far worse than confinement, such as an unhumbled spirit, and unbroken pride. To be free in Christ is a sinner's deliverance. The awakened sinner's realization about their guilt and misery is the start of freedom. You see, my brethren, try as a sinner might, there is no deliverance or pardon by one's own hand... it's all in vain. Help is only by the mercy and through the grace of God, and only then will sin be forgiven. Yes...sin can be forgiven by an amazing and Sovereign God. The comforting influence of the Holy Spirit, which dwells in me now, is why I'm pardoned, and delivered from my bondage. Amen."
After that seemingly enlightening speech, he had double locked the doors leaving that prisoner in total darkness. Suddenly, the earth moved, painfully throwing him to the ground, literally paralyzing him with fear. His ear to the dirt-encrusted cold stone floor, he listened wild-eyed to the rattle of chains coupled with thunderous footsteps. It seemed an eternity until he found his footing, thereby allowing him to race back to the putrid room in which the man had been held. Holding a torch high above his head the room ablaze in brilliant light-- three rats danced over broken chains in which the man was last imprisoned.
He fell to the ground, willingly this time, and sobbed. So what he had said was true...God delivered him from his prison, broke his chains, set him free, and unlocked the doors.
A growing warmth and subsequent ease overtook him giving way to a burning desire and visceral need to find him. Yes, he'd apologize for being the one who put him in chains. He wanted to experience all that the prisoner had discovered and felt when he was saved. He too wanted to experience His mighty love and learn all about the Savior’s grace and unmerited favor.
In fact, he had so many things he wanted to say and ask Paul...
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