Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
TITLE: Then, Now, Tomorrow
By Donald Standeford
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Shem frowned and gazed into the unforgiving ripples of the endless punishing sea. It concerns me, father.
Noah gazed at Shem with inquisitive eyes. Whats wrong?
I often question God, father. I know of Gods wisdom; however, I cant get them off my mind.
Who is on your mind, Shem?
Well, father, those that you preached to for a century. Why could this ark not be a refuge for all?
Noah took a deep breath. The sharp salt air cleared his thoughts. Shem, did you not see the abhorrent corruption?
I did father, yet I always thought many would seek God in time to repent.
Through my preaching?Noah rested his callused hand on Shems shoulder. Many heard; however, they all returned to their deafness. If they had demonstrated a will for repentance, we wouldnt be on this ark looking out over the ocean waves today.
I know, but it makes no sense.
Im afraid I dont understand.
A hundred years, father. It took a hundred years to put this ark together, yet it has saved only eight souls.
You are wrong, Shem.
A whole new world will come from our seed. If not for us on this boat for temporary respite, a whole future of billions would never live.
Will not the new world fall also into corruption?
Do you not believe that they deserve their fate?
I observed their wickedness, father. Nevertheless, we sit here upon an ocean that punished, and destroyed all whom we knew. Nevertheless, why have you preached for a century and save not a single soul?
Youre here, arent you?
Im your son!
Huh? Shem squinted at Noah. What do you mean by that?
Relax son. Noah grinned, his face beaming. Maybe it was my bad preaching.
Your preaching was sound enough.
Sound enough? Okay.
Your preaching stirred many hearts.
Yet in the end they turned away. They just could not take that last step. They would not turn from their old life to look at the life to come.
What concerns me, father, is the promise God made that a savior would bring forgiveness to all of us for all of our sins.
That will certainly happen.
Why bury a whole world under these dark waves?
Son, said Noah, shaking his head, Have you given up? God prophesied it; he will bring it to pass. The fact that the prophecy has not been fulfilled does not mean it will not.
I know, father. God has his will, ways, and timing. However, why God would create Eve and Adam knowing of the deaths of not only they but those they bore?
Noah gazed at the rolling grey clouds as if searching for the mind the mind of judgment itself. Son, he said, Look at it this way: since the first sins of Eve and Adam, weve had no peace here on earth. The pride, injustice, and indulgences buried in the depths below us could never have produced for our Father in Heaven those who would faithfully walk with Him as Enoch did.
And the world that lies ahead of us will?
Shem, that new world will be as temporary as the old.
Then why save us, father? It makes no sense! Why destroy one world that depends upon a savior, only to build a second world that will most likely be no better than the first? We take refuge upon an ark to seed a new planet with our kind, and our kind rebels. How long can this destroying and rebuilding continue on?
Shem, God listens. He will answer you in time.
Why not now?
Shem, Shem, your intent is honest; nevertheless, you must understand the power of God. He will build for us a new kingdom, a Heaven on this earth more beautiful than Eden.
Of course he will, father. As the stories say.
All I am saying, Shem, is that no place on earth was ever meant to be our permanent residence, any more than the refuge of this ark is to be permanent. I do, however, have consoling news for you.
Yes, God has said, no more will rain punish us. Shem, God will create from your lineage a savior who will forgive the sins of all, heal them, and build us a paradise.
You mean I am the one?
Yes, Shem; you are the one.
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