Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: THE WHOLE WORLD IN GOD’S HANDS (not the song) (05/28/15)
TITLE: The Random Professor
By Jody Day
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"Or it might cause a hurricane in the Bahamas," called one smart aleck student as he left the lecture hall. Laughter tittered throughout the room.
He'd snapped his briefcase shut before he realized that Bible thumper still sat in his seat. Great. If his hand was raised, you could count on a question backed up by scripture.
"It's not random." Clark Bingham said as he stood and took a step toward his teacher.
"I'm not in the mood for this. I'm not required to listen to your drivel after hours. Good night, Clark." He looked away from his student's piercing, sincere expression. Passion for a mythical god poured from his eyes.
"I know. I just want to say that it's not random. I can accept the 'butterfly effect', how one thing leads to another. I just don't believe that the initial condition is random. That's all." He slid his backpack over his shoulder.
"Right, God is in control, working everything for good, on and on, ad nauseum." He had to get out of there. He didn't like dealing with this garbage alone. At least most of the students laughed at Clark along with him. A strange, uncomfortable feeling rose in his chest.
Clark smiled. "You have been listening."
Enough is enough! "Look, you think you're making inroads with me?" The flutter changed to a sudden rush of anger. "Get out!"
Clark took a step back, eyes wide. "I'm, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."
Too late. The flood came.
"You want me to accept that everything is in your God's control? Then he killed my wife and newborn son. Is that what you want me to believe? No. A random drunk smashed his truck into my whole world, and yanked my life out from under me. Random is bad enough, but if God did this, then I can’t take it.” He’d have already ended it all if his parents weren’t still living. The tightness in his chest nearly doubled him over.
Clark’s hand flew up and steadied him, gripping his shoulder. The young man gently leaned his teacher against the desk.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Are you all right?”
“Of course not, but I don’t need what you’re peddling.” Breathe in, breathe out. Anger kept him alive, but it tried to leave him now. He just needed to get home.
“That’s how I lost both my parents. It’s tough. I’m so sorry.”
Fantastic. “So now you’re gonna tell me you don’t have all the answers, but Jesus loves me, holds my little family in the palm of his hand, can help me get over it, blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before.”
Clark just squeezed his shoulder. “No, I’m not going to say that, but it is interesting that we are having this moment, and find we have a similar hurt. Not random.”
“Just a coincidence.”
Clark grinned, and then shook his head. ‘Okay.” He moved toward the door.
“You’re not angry?” Why the heck am I asking him that?
The student turned, slid his backpack to the floor, and then crossed his arms. He looked down, took a deep breath and then looked at the professor.
A long moment passed as Latva remembered the moment he got the tragic call. Did Clark think of the same thing?
“You know what I believe, Sir, I’ve said it many times in our discussions in this class. At that time, I was just a kid, and I grew up with my grandparents. All I can tell you is that my grandpa told me every day to imagine myself leaning against the palm of God’s hand, to imagine my parents resting in those same hands. That still helps.”
Wouldn’t that be nice? Rest. Peace. Wish it were true. Or even possible. The tears he’d never cried tried to escape his eyes. That strange feeling in his chest expanded.
“Good night, Clark.” He looked down. He might lose control if he kept looking in those young, peaceful eyes.
Clark nodded, gathered his things, and headed for the door. He turned to his professor as he reached the door. “I’m really sorry for your loss, Professor Latva.”
He nodded, not looking up.
He is not going to break me.
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