Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
- TITLE: Hope Investments
By Donna Powers
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This was her life, now.
Faith’s memories of her other life were full of regrets and pain, so she tried not to dwell on them. Just a year ago, she’d co-owned an investment business, been part of a choir at a wonderful church and that nice apartment. But her sister had stolen from their clients and from Faith. Faith had lost the business and come close to going to jail for Hope’s crimes. Her own finances had taken a major hit, and her shame had prompted her to move to another state. After a year, this rundown apartment and a fast food job were the best she’d been able to do.
To say she was bitter was putting it mildly.
At the top of the stairs, Faith unlocked the door. As she pushed the door open, she thought about dinner, and absently noted the spray of letters on the carpet.
Bills. Just what she needed. She picked them up. Electricity, car insurance, cable, rent… wait…what was this?
It wasn’t a bill. She glanced at the return address. Why, it was from Pastor Hughes! Faith missed her former church family, and especially missed the counsel and teaching of Pastor Hughes. She forgot about dinner, for a moment, and sank down on the recliner with the letter.
I pray God is blessing you.
I’ve been praying for you. Your last letter said you’ve joined the choir. I’m so glad you are continuing to use your gifts for the Lord.
I know how you must feel about Hope, but I beg you to go and visit her, for my sake. I’m asking you to please forgive her. I’ve been meeting with her in prison, and she’s become like a daughter to me.
She is honest about her crimes. I’m convinced she has rededicated her life to the Lord, and wants a chance to make things right. She’s been studying the Word and wants to rejoin our church when she is released from prison. She promises to get a job and repay the money she stole from you and your customers.
I’m asking that you treat her as if she were me. I pray your friendship can rekindle. If she does not repay you, I will personally repay her debt.
I trust you will do as the Lord leads,
Pastor Joseph Hughes.”
Faith couldn’t believe it. Pastor Hughes? How had Hope been able to get to Pastor Hughes? Faith had always thought of him as a good judge of character, so Hope must have conned him – just as she had fooled countless others, and Faith.
So, Pastor Hughes wanted her to trust Hope. “Trusting Hope” last year had resulted in the loss of her business, her money, her reputation, her – well, her everything. And Pastor Hughes wanted her to believe Hope had changed enough to be forgiven?
How fair was that?
Faith angrily began to crumple the letter. Pastor Hughes or no Pastor Hughes, what Hope had done was unforgiveable. Faith shouldn’t be asked to forgive her.
Unbidden, a Voice came into Faith’s mind: “Jesus didn’t have to forgive you, either. But He did.”
“Well, sure,” Faith answered the Voice. “But the things I did weren’t as terrible as what Hope did.”
“Sin is sin,” the Voice persisted. “And doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer remind us when we ask God to forgive us; our forgiveness is granted in the same measure as we have forgiven others.”
Slowly, she uncrumpled the letter. She reached into her purse and peeled open her wallet. Slowly, as tears fell, she looked at a picture taken just over a year ago: the day she and Hope had opened Faith & Hope Investments. They’d been so happy, on that day. The future had been so full of promise.
Faith sighed. She listened to the still, small Voice. Now, for Jesus’ sake, Faith knew the time had come to pray for willingness to make another investment, in Hope.
This is intended to be a modern-day adaption of the Book of Philemon
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