Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: I SURRENDER ALL (to God) (don’t write about the song) (05/07/15)
- TITLE: The Voice
By Gary Ritter
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At the sound of his father’s voice Max buried his throbbing head under the pillow. Did he have to yell right in his ear? A moment later what felt like Niagara Falls cascaded over his shoulders, drenching his bed. Would that man never leave him be?
One more of his father’s grating declarations boomed at him: “How dare you act like that last night!
Max couldn’t remember exactly what he’d done, only that he’d been ripped out of his mind at the party and that somehow his father had found him and dragged him home.
He was so tired of it all. As a PK – a pastor’s kid – he’d had to toe the line all his life. “Do this! Don’t do that! People are watching. What will they think of me if you act up?” Max had had enough.
On the morning of his seventeenth birthday he woke up and said, “That’s it.” Since then for the last year he hadn’t cared what his parents thought. He was going to do what he was going to do.
With his father still railing at him Max peeked with one eye at the clock: one-twenty-seven, presumably in the afternoon. “You will get up and you will go to the Christmas Eve service tonight!” Yada, yada, yada.
An entirely foreign thought popped into his feverish mind: “You will be saved tonight.”
What? He’d been “saved” at the ages of five, eleven, and fifteen. No more. Max planned to live his own life from now on. But that was a really weird thing to think – to hear. It was like it came from outside him.
He finally got up when his father dragged him bodily by the feet off the bed and threw more water on him. Shivering and resentful he glared at his father, hate and bitterness welling up in him for all the religious rules he’d been made to follow, for the lack of love from this man who declared he followed a loving Savior but never demonstrated any of His grace. Sure, he’d go tonight, but then he was gone. Max vowed his father could look from here to kingdom come and never find him.
That evening the congregation sang their obligatory Christmas hymns, the deacons passed the offering plate, and his father preached a brief, uninspiring message. Max sat and looked vacantly at the stained glass windows yearning he were elsewhere. Soon he’d leave this all behind.
The service wound down. His father said a benediction in dismissal and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Just as Max stood up, that voice returned: “You haven’t been saved yet.”
At that moment his father cried out to the people who’d begun moving toward the exits, “Wait! Come back! I have something to say.”
Confused, most people stopped and obediently took seats in the rear pews, questions in their eyes.
“I just heard from the Lord,” his father said. “I…I have to repent…to God, to all of you, to my son, Max.”
As his father spoke true repentance for his sins and lack of real love of Christ, Max’s eyes burned. His father said, “And most of all I’ve failed Max. I’ve been a Pharisee, not a disciple. Max, I have wronged you. Will you forgive me?”
Max wasn’t exactly sure what happened next. Tears streamed down his face, which felt flushed as an intense tingling filled his mind and body. Max wanted to forgive his father. How could that be for all the wrongs he’d heaped upon him?
Conviction flooded him. His legs trembled and turned to jelly. He crashed to his knees. From his mouth came words he’d promised never to say: “Yes, Father, I forgive you. God, forgive me, for I, too, have sinned.”
Words again entered his head: “Will you trust in Me?”
Without a doubt Max knew the voice of his Savior. This was Jesus and this was real. Those other times he’d never repented. Regardless of his intentions he’d never surrendered. Now, he was crushed, broken, in his unworthiness.
“You died for me. Yes, yes, Lord, I give you my life, all of it. I trust You alone to save me.”
An overpowering urge came upon him. Laying down all of his pride, he approached his father. Each hugged the other as though their lives depended on it.
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