Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Straight From the Horse’s Mouth (11/14/13)
TITLE: Rags To Riches
By Pauline Carruthers
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In the dark night sky an insipid moon skids in and out of rapidly shifting clouds, glinting intermittently on old tin cans nestling amongst the rubbish. Living shadows emerge from nowhere, ragged clothes hanging from skinny bodies. The unnamed ones, orphans of poverty, beginning the nightly scavenging for survival on the dump outside the city.
Jack sits on the boulder that has become his place. A meagre fire burns just long enough to boil water for coffee and a bag of bread overflows at his feet. He knows they don’t trust him and struggles to make them understand that he is only the messenger. Yet on those nights when the scavenging goes unrewarded they sit hesitantly around him, reluctantly savouring the unaccustomed freshness of the bread and hot coffee. Sometimes they linger and listen as he talks to them about Jesus and His love for them. But his words fail to penetrate minds that have no proof, nor understanding of the source of a love that would give everything for their sakes.
A chill wind hurtles around the dump and Jack sinks deeper into the folds of his oversized coat, the precious new Bible pressed safely against his chest. Tonight he feels an excitement, a certainty that to read the words of Jesus in their own language will smash through the barriers that hold childish hearts in captivity. It hadn’t occurred to him that books had no place in their world. He cried silently to His Heavenly Father, but the feelings of failure and frustration drowned out the answering word. He felt trapped in his own inadequacy to find a means of piercing the darkness that held these little ones in its grip.
Why would they trust him? Jack knew they had spent most of their lives around the dump, devoid of a loving parent’s tenderness. He struggled against the inner voice that told him he would never find a way of reaching them. What means of communication would triumph over fear and mistrust? Maybe the love that bought the warm blankets he was taking tomorrow might just re-ignite a spark in long forgotten memories.
Emily struggled alongside Jack, carrying her share of heavy blankets. She sank down on the boulder, watching as Jack lit a fire. In the silence, Jack watched her and wondered if he had been right to bring his wife to this place. They didn’t see or hear anyone approach and were startled as a child’s voice interrupted the silence and a small shape appeared, almost masked by the darkness.
“I have a name. It’s Peter. I want to know what praying is.”
The boy’s blue eyes were fixed on Jack’s face, a quizzical look replacing the usual blank expression.
Despair spilled over as Jack saw the tears welling up in Emily’s eyes. She stood and took the child’s cold hand in her own, surprised that he had allowed her to get so close.
“Praying is talking to God”, she said. “And God is our Heavenly Father. Though we can’t see Him we can sense Him all around.”
Emily drew the child closer, reluctant to release him. Jack held his breath, afraid to lose the moment, sensing the Holy Spirit’s powerful presence. The boy shrugged his bony shoulders and continued quietly.
“I can feel Him when Jack reads the book and talks about Jesus and when he closes his eyes and whispers. I can feel Him now, when you hold my hand and when your eyes smile.”
A torrent of love overwhelmed Jack’s heart and a joy beyond understanding flooded his soul. A glimmer of hope was rising as the ice began to crack and a ragged little boy surrendered to Emily’s loving touch. He knew it would only take one child’s trust to begin the release of the dump’s captives into freedom and a new life.
Emily caught Jack‘s glance and the smile he loved so much spread across her gentle face.
“The seeds have been sown and now our gracious loving God will drench the fertile ground and speak directly into their hearts. They need to hear His voice Jack. They need to experience it for themselves. Straight from the Source.
That night, as the cords of love began to weave around cold little hearts and the sweet essence of God saturated the putrid air, a soul was saved. And a boy named Peter began a journey that rescued countless unnamed little ones from a life on the dump.
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