Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)
TITLE: Gently Rapping at My Chamber Door
By Harriett Ford
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My Chamber Door
“Things like this just don't happen”
(from an interview with Phillip Wells, of Wichita, Kansas )
Behold I stand at the door and knock, Rev. 3:20
Once upon a midnight dreary, much like the night Edgar Allen Poe described in his famous poem The Raven, a desperate man pondered, also weak and weary. Large rough hands covered Max Rhoads' face in the darkened kitchen. Feelings of helplessness and desperation engulfed him.
His wife Ann had recently suffered a stroke, and he'd had to quit his driver's job in order to care for her. Doctors did not expect her to recover and if so, she would not walk again. Major medical bills had piled up into a mountain of debt.
Sadly, Max believed the situation was largely due to his failure to walk with God. He had turned his back on God's blessings, disillusioned by “those hypocrites” in the church.
The November cold crept into the room. Electricity, heat, and water had been turned off as well as the telephone, due to unpaid bills. The cabinets were bare, the bank account empty. A cold winter would soon arrive on the winds sweeping across Kansas plains.
“What do I do now God? There's no way to make ends meet. I need help that only You can deliver.” Max cried out, even though he thought God had no reason to listen.
Poe described someone gently rapping at the chamber door. Max heard a timid knock.
He remained at the table, his face buried in his hands.
More knocking, more persistent. Max ignored it, hoping the visitor would leave.
The knocking grew more insistent. Opening the door, Max said, “Whatever you're selling, you I don't want it.”
Two neatly dressed young men stood there. “Are you Max Rhoads?” They verified his name and address.
“Yes, what do you want?” Max demanded.
“The church has collected some goods for you, and we have them in the truck.” Both men went to a truck on the street and returned carrying large shopping bags filled with groceries. They made four trips bringing sacks brimming with food and other necessities.
Never had Max seen so much food. Only moments before, he had cried out to God in desperation. Could his prayer have been answered so quickly?
As the young men turned to leave, one of them handed an envelop to Max. “Mr. Rhoads, the church also sent this to you.”
After the door closed on his mysterious visitors, Max reasoned, This must be a dream. Things like this just don't happen. However the groceries sat there in heaps. The envelope in his hand was real. He opened it to find over four hundred dollars. Overwhelmed with gratitude, he wept tears of joy.
Moments later, a second knock at the door roused him. “They've made a mistake and delivered this to the wrong address,” he muttered. “They're coming to take it all back. Oh that is too cruel!”
A different pair of men stood at his door. “We're from a church over there, and we've been sent here to deliver some things to you.”
The men proceeded to make trips to their truck, bringing back groceries and supplies. Max stared in amazement. The counter had no room to hold a single item more. Just as before, one of the men handed Max an envelope from “the church.” They left him standing in a state mild shock.
He opened the second envelope to find over nine hundred dollars.
Max remembered Psalm 51:17, “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” He understood at once that God had not forgotten him. There was no other explanation for these bountiful supplies.
Monday morning, Max paid the bills and had over six hundred dollars left in his pocket.
After that experience, Max Rhoads became known as a faithful member at a church in the city of Wichita. Pastor Curtis Gordon described him as a man with a heart after God who loved loved to talk about Jesus.
Years later, when Pastor Gordon presided at Max's funeral, he said that before his death, Max indicated he saw the Lord, perhaps welcoming him through an open door to a glorious and glad morning.
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