Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
- TITLE: Freed from the Pallet
By Debora Dyess
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Jacob scowled. “We carried Daniel home without you.”
“I found a healer!”
The men in the room groaned, then laughed.
They’d grown up together. They’d raced, played and helped each other with chores, then attended school and dreamed of the future together. And when Daniel became ill Jacob, David, John and Caleb prayed constantly for him and waited for him to get better.
But he never did…not entirely.
While most of him healed, his legs remained limp. He grew, but they stayed small and withered.
His friends remained his friends. They worked hard to make his life as normal as they could; helping him with everyday needs, praying with him and, most importantly, treating him like a human being. Except for them, his world had become the boundaries of the pallet on which he lived, and the roadside where he begged.
Caleb frowned impatiently. “I’m serious! This will help Daniel…maybe cure him!”
“Last month you smeared his legs with milk, honey and herbs and wrapped them in clothes.” David smiled.
“Promised that would help, too,” John laughed.
“A woman told me that it would change—“
“It changed me, all right!” Daniel smiled at Caleb. “I was sticky for weeks!”
“And smelled like soured milk,” David added.
“Attracted every insect in town…Kept them away from the rest of us!” Jacob ended the teasing and everyone, except Caleb, dissolved into hysteria.
“This is real!” Caleb insisted. “This is the teacher, Jesus. He’s here, and I’ve seen what he does! He’s a miracle worker!”
“Another miracle worker!” John stood. “To the miracle work—“
“This isn’t a joke!” Caleb shouted, frustrated and red-faced. “Daniel, if you want your life back you have to meet Jesus!”
Daniel frowned, remembering how many times Caleb had entered the door with some scheme or plan or cure that never worked. “And next month it’ll be something else.” He spoke softly, tired of the disappointments.
Caleb knelt beside the pallet. “Next month you’ll be rushing to the temple, choosing a wife and asking me for work—after you apologize.”
The two men locked eyes. After a minute Daniel relented. “Alright, Caleb…we’ll see what this Jesus can do.”
They carried him, as they did every morning and evening, with one on each corner of his pallet. The usual lighthearted conversation wasn’t part o this trip. Each was quiet, thinking about what might happen next. So much was at stake! Daniel could be healed—freed from the pallet—or he could be disappointed again. They prayed silently as they walked, and Daniel rode with a silent plea to God. ‘Be my Jehovah-Rophe. Heal me…heal me, please.’ He’d prayed so many times before.
They turned onto the street where the Nazarene was staying and John groaned. “Look!”
David frowned. “Are there even that many sick people in the world?”
People surrounded the house. Daniel could tell from the crowd that the inside o the house was filled to capacity and that these people simply had no way to enter…no way to see the miracle worker. He closed his eyes, discouraged.
His four friends stopped, surveying the scene.
“What’s going on in there?” John shifted, adjusted his grip on Daniel’s pallet and sighed. “And how can we get Daniel inside? It could take hours! It’s almost dark now. Is this Jesus going to heal all night long?”
Caleb looked at Daniel and then into the faces of his other friends. “I know if we can get Daniel in to see Jesus he’ll walk home! I know it as sure as I’m alive.”
Jacob looked determined. “Then we have to get him inside.”
“Look…” David pointed to the back of the house. “It’s built into that hill…Could we just—“
“Go up onto the roof?” Jacob asked. “What good would that do?”
David grinned. “Then we lower Daniel down.”
“Through the roof?”
The men hurried to the top of the house, sat Daniel’s pallet down and began to pull at the mud and straw that made the rooftop. They worked furiously, chipped away at it with stones and scooped the rubble away. After tow hours they had a hole big enough for Daniel. They tied their sashes to the pallet.
“Meet you outside,” Caleb grunted, laying on his stomach, carefully lowering the pallet.
Daniel clasped his arm and let go. Then he looked down into the smiling face of the Nazarene. ‘I think I’ll run home,’ he thought, smiling.
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