Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOPE (joyful, confident expectation in salvation) (03/05/15)
TITLE: Hope's End
By Graham Insley
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The guards who had beaten him had done a thorough job. Every bone ached. His right elbow was the worst at the moment. His left hand came over and massaged it as he pressed it into his side and an audible groan escaped his lips.
"Hey, are you okay?" The man on his left could barely speak through bruised and battered lips. His eyes were almost shut from the swelling.
"It's been a pretty rough day in the office." Our first man tried to make light of the situation. Not that there was much to make light of. First they had been publicly humiliated by being stripped to their underwear, and then every ounce of skin that was now exposed had been whipped, kicked and beaten with rods.
"Standing for Christ isn't a safe occupation, but then, we always knew that." Leaning as far forward as his stiffness and aches would allow, the second man massaged his left knee, which brought his attention to a strangely protruding finger. "I think my pinky is broken."
"Only your pinky? I think every bone in my body is broken." In spite of the pain a small tinge of humour could be detected in the otherwise tight and controlled voice. "I know we're supposed to suffer as He suffered, but if my memory is correct, not one of His bones was broken. Unfair, I reckon." This time a clear giggle came with the words.
"How can you giggle at a time like this? Don't pretend you're not hurting."
"Oh, I'm hurting. But I'm hoping more than I'm hurting."
"Hoping? What hope is there in this?"
"There is always hope in Christ. You know that. Sure we're in prison, we've been clobbered from one end to the other and I don't know if the pain is worse from the beating or the cold of these stones against my bare skin -- but all things work together for good for those who love the Lord."
Our second man laughed outright at those words. "Hey, that's good; 'All things work together for good.' You should write that in a book sometime."
"I just might. Come on, let's sing. I might be in a terrible place, hurting all over, but I can still praise His name."
At first cracked and hoarse from their pain, two voices rose in unison and became clearer as they rang out in joyful expectation. Eventually not only did they sing, but they danced in their hearts as hope filled the dark and dingy cell.
Suddenly the whole earth shook, the walls vibrated before their very eyes, the wooden stocks fell to pieces at their feet and the prison door flew open as its lock shattered.
"See, Silas," Paul shouted at the top of his voice, "there is always hope in Him."
Based on Acts 16:23-26
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