Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OVERLOAD (10/06/16)
TITLE: Heavy Laden
By Daniel Rae
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A cliff hung over the white sand beach like an awning, shadowing the dishevelled group of aspiring refugees.
A tri-hulled sailboat had drifted onto the beach, silently nosing into the sand. Two men jumped from the boat into the shallow Caribbean Sea. Even as they took a few steps onto the beach they began to load the Haitians onto the dilapidated vessel. Dawn was quickly defeating the night and the process was accelerated. Daylight is the universal enemy of those that endeavour outside of the law.
Out of seemingly nowhere one of the boatsman drew a small firearm and a shot rang out, echoing off of the ragged cliffs. The Haitians are aghast as a slender woman is dragged onto the sliver of beach like a rag doll, and left there in the early morning heat.
People on the boat were becoming hysterical, confused and mortified by the overt violence. 'Que estaba sangrando!' yelled one of the crew. 'She's was bleeding !'
Even for these unfortunate people the horrific stories of men and women fleeing Hispaniola for Puerto Rico, were countless. A woman unfortunate enough to menstruate during the ill advised crossing would be weighted down and shucked off the boat. Bulls and Great White sharks can smell a single drop of blood from a kilometre away.
In the starkness of daylight the trimaran was actually a combination of several weathered hulls, somehow bound together with rope and twine, rendering it more a raft than a seagoing boat. it raised its tattered sails as it bumped through the surf heading for the open sea. Women and men alike hung on for dear life, some on the narrow decks and some almost fully submerged in the salty brine, mouths and eyes barely visible above the oceans surface.
Even the least familiar with the physics of buoyancy would have quickly concluded that the makeshift vessel was perilously overloaded.
The majority of Haitians share a common religion, a hybrid of Voodoo and Roman Catholicism. As a Nation Haiti is the poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere. Much has been theorized as to whether Haiti made a deal with the 'devil' in the early 1800's when black slaves liberated themselves from the French. True or not, Haiti's blend of Catholicism and Voodoo has in part or in whole, rendered the Country incredibly calamitous and desperately impoverished.
Mark 4 describes the familiar story of Jesus calming a storm. Even as the boat was almost swamped, Jesus commanded the winds and the sea to 'Be still'. Jesus' presence in the boat most certainly saved the disciples from drowning due to the inclement weather.
The overloaded trimaran was well into the Mona Passage now, some 50 miles offshore. A brisk wind had progressed into a full on squall. The sails were long since lowered and the craft was nothing more than a bobbing cork, midway between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The Haitians feared for their lives and many cried out to their Voodoo gods to save them. But the winds and the waves were relentless despite the Haitian's pleas.
But there was a girl onboard the raft, a ten year old daughter of a Christian pastor, a Haitian that had converted to Christianity many years before.
The young girl had grown up in the blessed shadows of prayer and cried out to Jesus to save not just her but all of those on the heavily laden boat, even as the hulls had begun to tear apart. As she prayed she referred to her Sunday school lessons that had taught her about Mark chapter 4.
The same Jesus that calmed the Sea Of Galilee heard her prayers and rebuked the winds that churned the Mona Passage. As the storm abated the girl thanked the Lord for answering. Despite the severe weather and the grossly overloaded boat, not a single life was lost.
There is much to be learned from the Children of God that take the Saviour at His Word. A child void of doubt or unbelief is a formidable lobbiest, fully expecting Jesus to not just hear but to also comply with their heartfelt request. And from their example there is much to be gleaned about Faith and Trust in the ultimate Saviour. For no matter how overloaded our lives may seem, Jesus is never further away than the answers to our heartfelt prayers.
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