Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Trust and Obey (don't write about the song) (05/21/15)
- TITLE: Like a Child
By Pauline Carruthers
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Matthew’s dark, fathomless eyes stared unfocused on the quiet road. A long driveway stretched out behind him; a heavy snowfall rapidly hiding the surrounding woodland behind an ethereal white veil. The unfamiliar cold, damp air seeped through the light clothing that belonged to another land and soaked the flimsy sandals that barely covered his feet. He shrugged weary shoulders and blocked out the voice calling his name. This country of his birth was no longer home, yet his heart ached because he couldn’t obey the still, small voice that persisted in calling him back to the Mission School in that arid, infertile land that he had learned to call home.
A strong gentle hand pressed against his shoulder. Peter’s voice held all the compassion Matthew knew would be reflected in his face. He turned, the pain of loss and betrayal etched in the sun-dried ridges of his rugged outdoor features. Together they walked up the drive and entered the Mission headquarters.
“You have three children who need you Matthew. They miss their mother every bit as much as you miss your wife.”
In Peter’s room the heat from the coffee seeped through the thick pottery mug and warmed Matthew’s cold hands. He wished it would warm his cold thoughts against the God he had faithfully trusted and obeyed since the day he had become a Christian. But it didn’t, yet the still small voice persisted, calling him back to the place of his wife’s birth. Vaguely aware that Peter was speaking about Shivali, Matthew got up, placed the empty coffee mug on the table and left the room. He couldn’t bear the mention of her name or the children’s questions when they asked when they were going home.
The sights and sounds of Christmas had highlighted the pain and the children’s need for home, grandparents, friends and a semblance of normality. And the still small voice, though buried deep in Matthew’s subconscious mind, could not be completely blocked out. Yet he didn’t know if he could trust God with the safety of his children, or if he was even willing to trust and take the risk of obedience ever again.
The Mission’s Headquarters staff had taken the grieving family into their hearts and cared for them willingly and lovingly. During the cold winter months Matthew had become comfortable in his hearts hibernation from feeling. Yet the knowledge that God was asking more of him than he was willing to give began to eat away at his sense of peace.
Springtime had erupted almost unexpectedly into Matthew’s life as the warmth and beauty of a spring day had crept into his dormant mind. The fragrances emanating from shrubs and flowers awakening his sleeping soul. Peter’s arm rested gently on Matthew’s shoulders as they sat together on a rustic wooden garden seat He was very aware that it had been here that Matthew and Shivali had met, both attending the same Orientation Course in the Mission. When Matthew spoke it was quietly, his voice reflecting a resignation of a future without his wife, an uncertainty of his trust in God and an inner knowledge of his deliberate disobedience.
“It was a much needed family day out. We had parked the jeep and walked a little way up the mountain path. Shivali stooped to pick a wild orchid for Nadia, our daughter. There was a rumbling sound high above and before we were even aware of what it was, the rock struck the side of her head. It was instant. There was nothing I could do. We fell to our knees in shock - and prayed for her. I don’t think the children realised she was gone. Not even when I laid her on the backseat and drove the two hours to the hospital. How can I take them back there? How will they ever learn to trust and obey God after this?”
Peter’s strong arms laid across Matthew’s heaving shoulders showed his love and concern.
“They will learn to trust and obey the Lord when you return to India and resume the work He is still calling you to do. Take them home Matthew; surround them in the love of your family. Put your hand in His and trust our faithful, loving Heavenly Father to take care of the rest”
Peter turned and walked away, leaving Matthew with the space and time needed to come to terms with the decisions he had to make.
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