Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Expect (07/11/13)
By Arlene Showalter
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“Come in, daughter, and rest from your earthly labors.”
Janet stepped forward, heart bursting as she looked around.
“It’s so beautiful here, Jesus.”
“Of course. All sorrow dissipated. All disappointment gone. Only joy and gladness from now on.” He draped a snowy robe, intricately embroidered in gold thread, over her shoulders.
“Is that … Moses over there?” she gasped.
“Of course. Would you like to meet him now?”
“Moses,” Jesus said, “I’d like you to meet Janet. She arrived only moments ago.”
“Shalom.” Moses bowed over Janet’s hand. “Enter into God’s perfect peace and wholeness.”
“Thank you.” Tears filled Janet’s eyes. “Shalom.”
Jesus tucked Janet’s hand into the crook of his arm and patted it with the other. “Shall we take a stroll?”
Janet nodded, and dared give his arm a little squeeze.
They walked along the river of life. Trees of every sort bloomed and bore fruit every 20 minutes. Flowers grew and multiplied. Nothing died.
Jesus pointed out Abraham, Paul, David and Esther as they walked along. “Shalom,” he greeted as each passed by.
Janet sighed, wrapped in contentment. “At last, at long last, I am here where I belong, after all that hard work on earth. Chairman of the Ladies Society. Sunday School teacher for 40 years. Member of the choir. It was worth it all for this!”
“Jesus, Jesus,” Janet heard someone shout. She frowned a bit. The voice sounded familiar. Too familiar.
“Jesus, is she here?” The voice neared and a man appeared, wearing a snowy white robe with intricately embroidered gold thread.
What?” Janet gasped, “him?”
“Hi,” he said. “It’s so good to see you!”
Janet pulled her hand from Jesus’ arm. “I don’t understand,” she stammered, clenching and unclenching her fists. “You? Here?”
“What’s wrong?” Jesus asked.
“This is … my brother!” Janet exclaimed.
“Yes, of course,” Jesus answered. “We’ve already met. Quite some time ago.”
“I know when he died,” Janet almost snapped. “I was there, as was Mother and Father.”
She crossed her arms, crushing the robe against her.
“You seem to have a problem with him being here,” Jesus said. “Why?”
“He….” Janet stared first at her brother and then at Jesus. “He was such a ….” The word shot from her taut lips. “Sinner.”
“Yes,” Jesus agreed, “you’re right about that.”
“He never helped when Mother had that stroke and Father….”
“No,” Jesus agreed, “he did not.”
“He never went to church. He spent all his time and money partying.”
“Then why — why is he….”
“Why is he here?” Jesus asked. He turned her to face him. Love and challenge burned from his eyes. “What did you expect, Janet?”
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