Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WIN (02/14/19)
- TITLE: Reliance
By Trace Pezzali
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“Go. Don’t go.” he whispers, though he knows in truth he is the one leaving.
Panic speeds a beat into his heart. This isn’t the long goodbye - the one that will take him to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban for how many years. The first soldiers’ training in Navosa is just four days, but why does this feel like…
He must be strong. This is God’s will, surely. The wheels are in motion to provide for their future.
Olivia resumes her slow walk up the hill toward the YWAM house. The path skirts a drop that opens up a vista of endless mountains. Insects drone in the soft humidity that carries the scent of musky earth and overripe fruit. From the rainforest comes the yap and growl of the Golden Doves, and the chatter of parrots. He commits this scene to memory. He’ll recall it many times when the loneliness comes.
Olivia turns again and now walks backwards. She refuses to break eye contact and he can’t either. Drinking up the sight of this beautiful brave Australian is more intoxicating than any substance from his past. When she’s out of sight it’s like the last rays of sunlight disappear.
They’d met at a church service and the connection was immediate. Stories had spilled out of both of them, presenting as a feast of wonder. He lay out his heart for the youth in the streets, and she told of a longing for Fiji that was planted years before she arrived. Now she teaches deaf children at the school and uses art therapy to help young mothers at the home.
Earlier she had pleaded, “Don’t go. Please trust God.”
“If God doesn’t want me to, I will stop,” he’d promised.
Aisake had felt the tremor in her fingertips.
“I believe this is Satan, tempting you away from God’s Will,” Olivia whispered.
His mind flashes to his mother, her body convulsed whilst demons were drawn from her body by the power of Christ. Aisake knows the reality of Satan.
Confusion roils in his stomach. A man of God had told him to sign up. The testimony of a Fijian back from war, legs amputated, but proud to have fought for the British Army. The reality of $2.50 an hour for hard labour compared to the promise of good money.
The money. Their future. Aisake needs to leave now to make the bus. He shoulders his pack and prays as he walks the main road. He is shaken by a foretaste of homesickness. The familiar noise, smell, colour and dust of Suva is in his blood. Kids play marbles outside the corrugated lean-to’s he passes. Older boys jostle at Touch Rugby. Round native women roast dalo as they laugh and gossip in rolling dialect. Reggae beats overlay church hymns that echo over the near valley. He is all sentiment today and fearful brooding.
Wisps of scripture tease his thoughts. "Do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink; nor have an anxious and unsettled mind… But strive and actively seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well...little flock… it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. .. Provide money belts for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens..."
Aisake reaches the bustop sooner than he is ready. The supervisor and other recruits form an animated group. Collectively they turn their faces to the bus which arrives in a wheeze of exhaust. On automaton Aisake steps up, is jostled down the aisle to a seat.
"THAT SERVANT WHO KNEW HIS MASTER’S WILL AND YET DID NOT ACT IN ACCORD WITH HIS WILL, WILL BE BEATEN WITH MANY LASHES."
GET OFF THE BUS.
Horrified, yet overwhelmingly relieved, Aisake manoeuvres through the crowded bus, yells to the supervisor he passes “I can’t go,” and launches himself through the open door.
On stiff hinges the door closes. The bus lurches off in a cloud of dust. And Aisake laughs. He punches the air, triumphant at his victory over the enemy that would divert him.
Aisake now knows he is accountable to God’s calling on his life, and if he relies on God for wisdom, he will keep his course.
(Scripture: Luke 12:29-33,47)
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