Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)
- TITLE: SOLITUDE
By Kevin Rodgers
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Matt shook his pounding head slightly as he reached to rub his eyes with aching hands. It took him a few seconds to realize his hands had not moved. They were bound together and fastened to a short post that was embedded in the ground. A quick look around told Matt that something was different. This time was unlike any other he had experienced throughout the past three days in which he had been held captive in this isolated village, nestled deep within the jungles of Southeast Asia.
The post he was strapped to stood erect with a ring of burning embers completely surrounding it. The men of the village were dressed with exotic headgear and their faces, as well as their bodies, were painted with what looked to be war paint. The women and children sat scattered amongst the village observing the ceremony. The men continued to dance and chant wildly in their native tongue.
Matt knew a little of the language these people used. He had studied quite extensively before making his voyage into the jungle. The problem was that very few people, outside of the villagers themselves, understood this complex language, thus making the amount of information for Matt to study seem minuscule.
As Matt listened closer to the chants, he realized that death would squeeze him in its grasp sooner than he had hoped. Though he could only understand some of what the shouting meant, the phrase “death to the white devil” rang through the air more than once. The end was approaching.
Matt could taste the sweat and tears that had trickled down into the corners of his mouth. He wondered if it was the heat from the fire or his extreme fear that had caused the salty fluids to flow in the first place. He hoped the remainder of his group would not meet the same demise that he most assuredly would.
Each of the six members of his party had been held in solitude from the moment of their capture some four days earlier. He had seen no signs of the others during this time. However, after the months of praying he had done in preparation of this expedition, and the numerous hours of praying he had done over the last few days, Matt was confident God’s plans would work out just as they were supposed to.
Without any warning, the chants halted abruptly. Silence filled the atmosphere for a split second before the ‘swooshing’ sound of a hurdling wooden spear ripped the stagnant air. The spear found its mark, piercing deeply into Matt’s chest. Life drained from Matt quickly. His breathing became faint and his vision darkened with each passing second.
Silence and total darkness commanded everything, but only for a brief moment. Suddenly brightness, unknown to man, thrust Matt’s eyelids open. The glorious sounds of harps erupted through his ears.
A sense of awe, unlike any he had ever felt, overtook his entire body at the sight of what stood before him. He found himself on bended knee, looking up to what Matt knew could be no one other than Jesus Himself. No one in all of creation could possibly possess such power and majesty as the man that stood over him now.
The harps’ songs faded into the background as the man began to speak to Matt. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!”*
A smile the size of Texas reached across Matt’s face, as he stared hypnotically into the eyes of his Savior. “Look,” Jesus said, pointing to his right. “Do you recognize anyone here?”
Immediately Matt burst into tears of happiness, for next to his Savior stood two of the villagers he had encountered on his journey. Shortly before his arrest, he was able to share his faith with them. Unbeknownst to him, they were killed the day before Matt’s own murder, because of their new found faith in Christ. The confidence that Matt possessed in God’s plans during his final days proved true. God chose to use Matt in wonderful ways to further His kingdom. Matt chose to willingly obey God’s calling.
*Matthew 25:21 NIV
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