Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Importance of Being Earnest (not about the play) (08/04/11)
- TITLE: Ruth
By Margaret Kearley
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Based on a true story of a doctor who worked in South Africa.
One very chill African night some many years ago,
We worked to help a mother ‘neath the lantern’s feeble glow,
But tragically she slipped away, leaving on that night cold
A tiny baby premature and a crying two year old.
We had no incubator, no electricity at all,
No special feeds with which we could nourish the boy so small,
We tried all ways to keep him warm, then to make matters worse
We filled our last hot water bottle, only to see it burst.
As was my normal custom, on noon of the next day
Some children from the orphanage met me so we could pray.
I told them of the girl aged two and the tiny baby ill
And how that we must keep him warm or he would die from chill.
One ten year old whose name was Ruth then bowed her head and prayed
With trusting blunt conciseness, a request she quickly made:
‘ A water bottle, please God, please send one very soon
It will be too late tomorrow, send one this afternoon.’
I bit my lip in anguish and inwardly I sighed,
I just couldn’t add an ‘Amen’, no matter how I tried.
I know God can do all things, but this was just too much
In our remote equator post how could we ask for such.
So inwardly I struggled, but there was more to come
Young trusting Ruth continued to press her request home:
‘And dear God while you’re at it, please will you also send
A dolly for the little girl whose life seems at an end.’
Halfway through the afternoon a message came for me:
A car was at my front door so I hurried there to see.
The car had left but right before my unbelieving eyes
I saw on the veranda a parcel of great size.
I felt the tears begin to come, I knew just what to do,
I could not open this alone, the children must come too.
Together we pulled off the string, undoing all the knots,
Then folded back the paper of the large brown cardboard box.
Thirty, forty pairs of eyes were sparkling, focused, bright
As I reached into the box and bought the contents into sight –
Bandages for patients, coloured jumpers, and the treat
Of many delicious goodies that would be oh so good to eat.
Then, reaching down into the box I felt – oh could it be? -
My fingers touched the rubber and there it was for all to see,
A brand new water bottle! I just broke down and wept
At the loving kindness of my God and my faith so small, inept.
But Ruth came rushing forward and without more ado
Said ‘If God has sent the bottle, He’s sent the dolly too.’
Then she delved down into the box, knowing what she would find -
A beautiful dressed dolly – oh! how her eyes did shine.
‘Can I come over with you?’ she asked me straight away
‘And give the little girl the doll and tell her if I may
That Jesus loves her very much, her tiny brother too,
And He has sent these special things to show His love is true.’
Five long months beforehand, in a very far off land,
Some children from my homeland had packed that parcel grand,
And their Sunday School teacher, obeying God’s clear voice,
Added a water bottle – though it seemed a strange odd choice.
One of the girls put in a doll but she could not have guessed
That this doll would be the means by which so many would be blessed :
The watching group of children, the little girl and Ruth,
And me, because God showed me there more of His Sovereign Truth.
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