Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)
TITLE: Three Faces, Three Voices, Three Hearts
By Kathleen Fairman
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Admit it. You blew it -- big.
I had misgivings about him right from the start. Oh, he seemed loyal enough at first. “I will do it,” he said. “I will fight that Philistine, just as I fought the wild beasts in the field when they attacked my father’s sheep. I am your servant.”
But he wasn’t; you and I both know that. From the beginning, he was driven by something else. When he would not wear my armor – the armor of a great king, mind you! – well, then I knew. He marches to the drumbeat of another king. You.
Still, I’m in charge. That fool Samuel tried to tell me otherwise. “Turn to the Lord,” he said. “Follow His ways, or something awful will happen.” Your ways. Imagine him saying that to God’s anointed. Well, I made my own choices. You gave me brains, and courage, and strength. Didn’t you expect me to use them? To decide what was best for my people?
Sometimes, late at night, I dream of thrusting my sharp sword into that heart that you love so much, watching his precious red blood spill into the cold sand like a shower of rubies. Then, you would know. They would all know. I’m in control. The kingdom is mine. The power. The glory. Mine. That’s right, isn’t it?
Well, isn’t it?
He just didn’t get it.
Of course I loved him; it wasn’t a question of that. But the sad thing is, he’d missed the point. All the prophets had told us. God’s will was political justice. A king – a messiah warrior clothed with power and might – would save us from those godless Roman pigs.
Jesus had never understood what it was all about. Control over our own lives. Our right to command our own destiny, like captains of a great fleet of ships. This was to be given to us -- to God’s people. Finally, we’d get our share. Ours would be the kingdom. Ours the power. Ours the glory.
He leaned toward me. “The one who dips his bread with me now,” he whispered, “that is the one who will betray me.” Quickly, I pulled my hand away, but as our eyes met, I was certain of it – the others knew.
“How can he forget what we have coming to us?” I thought, white hot anger rising up inside me and gripping my heart as I slipped into the darkness. Rage led me through those narrow, dusty streets, down the path that I had chosen. I would show him who really knew what God’s will was.
I would show him.
He looks helpless, Father.
Oh, dear God, my beautiful son, with his body that I have cherished and nourished and watched grow all these 33 years – now he just hangs there, bloodied and bruised and broken. Your Word – our whole family has studied it – says that he who hangs on a tree is condemned. But he is a good man. You know that, yet you let him suffer. I don’t understand.
My eyes ache with crying made all the worse by the sneering taunts tumbling around me. “Let him come down here if he is really a king! He just can’t do it – simple as that.”
Do they not understand a mother’s sorrow? Have they forgotten the good that he’s done? Do they not care? I don’t know. All I know is that I love him. And I love You, too … but it is getting harder.
I remember that night, years ago, when the angel came. “You have been chosen,” he said. Chosen? Me? Let it be, I cried. Let it be as you wish.
If I’ve learned one thing from my son, it is this: You are in control, and I must trust You. Well, I don’t trust You. How could I, after what’s happened? But Joseph is gone. My son’s disciples have practically collapsed with fear and grief. Who is left?
So I turn to You. I recite the scriptures that he knows so well and is calling out, even now. You are my refuge, my tower, my strength … You are God; there is no other. Yours is the kingdom. Yours the power. Yours the glory. Into your hands, Father. Into your hands …
My son is abandoning all of it -- his whole life -- to You.
What good can possibly come of letting go like this?
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