Enoch and Noah – Part 4

I ran to Grampa and asked what was happening. He told me the Lord had told him about the water from the sky. Grampa called it rain. He said it would continue for forty days and forty nights. All the water would destroy the whole world that we had known. He called it a flood.

Then something really weird happened. I looked out the door. I could see that the water was everywhere. It was beginning to cover our farm. People from the city and surrounding farms started arriving, and I could see that they wanted to come with us. Grampa, Pop, and my uncles came to the area near the door, and Grampa began to pray. He said, “Oh Lord of heaven and earth. You have blessed us all beyond measure, but we have rebelled against you. And because of this rebellion, you have chosen to destroy the earth by a flood. But you have also chosen your servant Noah and his family to care for the animals that you have sent to us. You have instructed me to build this ark. My family and I have done so. The animals that you have chosen have arrived. They are safe inside this ark, which we built according to your command. The rains have begun. The flooding has begun and we, your servant Noah and his family, are safe inside. The rest is up to you Lord. We place ourselves in your hands Almighty God. Do with us as you will.”

Just as Grampa finished that prayer, there was a loud creaking sound and movement by the door. It was the DOOR! It was closing all by itself! The people that had gathered on the outside began yelling and rushing toward the door, but…they were too late.

The door closed with a groan, a scraping, and finally a loud thud that echoed throughout the ark.

They were on the outside and we were on the inside and suddenly it got real quiet.

No one spoke.

The animals were silent.

Then the whole ark moved!

We suddenly pitched to the left. Things were sliding across the floor and falling. Then we pitched back the other way. Something hit me and knocked me down. Pop was right there with his strong arm and he picked me up. And then…the ark steadied upright again and we could tell that we were still moving. It was really weird!

After we put a few of the things that had slid around back where they belonged, we raced up the big stairway to the windows on the top deck of the ark. All we could see was water for miles and miles. There were just a few mountaintops off in the distance.

We were alone in the middle of all of this water that wasn’t even there just a few days ago. I couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream. I didn’t even want to believe it. I thought that I would wake up in just a minute. But…. I didn’t.

The sky was blacker than anything I had ever seen; the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to stand still. It made me feel so cold with the rain coming down harder and harder. I kept thinking about all the people and things that were under that water. I just stood there hanging on the edge of the window looking out.

I couldn’t understand why they all had to…be destroyed. That made me angry, so I went to a small place on the ark that I had discovered to hide when I didn’t want to be found. I wanted to think about things for a while.

I thought about the people and the places that I knew. Grampa was right. There were people that did really mean things. I didn’t understand a lot of what went on, but I thought that those people wanted to live that way. Maybe it was ok if they weren’t hurting anyone but themselves.

But then I got to thinking about something Pop had told me. If I make something and it doesn’t turn out right or work the way I wanted it to, I could tear it apart and start over if I wanted. He told me that was what God was doing. He was going to start over. He was going to keep parts of what He made that He liked and was going to do the rest over again. It was His choice. I repeated that to myself, “It was His choice and He always chooses to do the right thing.”

I didn’t even hear Grampa come up behind me. The first thing I knew was that his hand was on my shoulder. I turned and looked up at him. He told me to follow him. He led me to where the birds were kept. The light was dim and it was pretty warm in there. They seemed to be comfortable with that. They were strangely peaceful and quiet. We found a little bench to sit on, and Grampa and I sat there watching the birds for quite a while. We used to do that sometimes at home on his favorite bench, under his favorite tree, watching the sun go down. It was almost like old times. I began to feel a lot better and was able to relax a little. Then he scooted away from me just a bit, bent down, and looked me in the eyes and said, “Enoch, I am sure that all of this is frightening. It would frighten me too, and it might even make me angry…if I did not know the Lord the way that I do. That helps me to trust Him. Enoch, I want you to know the Lord the same way that I do. I want you to trust Him the same way that I do.”

I looked into Grampa’s eyes. They were deep and soft and loving. I knew I could believe him and trust him. Trusting God was a little bit harder for me. Then I remembered what Pop had said. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord.

“God is faithful,” he always said, “you just obey and wait and see.”

Grampa had said the same thing many times. Suddenly, I felt like I wanted to trust him, God I mean.

“Grampa,” I said.

“Don’t say anything now,” Grampa said. “Would you pray with me?”

I looked down for a moment, and then back into his big eyes.

“Yes”, I said, “I would like that.”

“Hold my hands,” he said. I put my hands into his. My hands were so small compared to his. They were big and worn from many years of hard work, but at the same time, they were soft and tender.

He began to speak quietly, with confidence and familiarity.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, God of our fathers Adam and Enoch, Lord God, hear us now as we speak. I am here with my grandson Enoch. He is having a hard time trusting you; he might even be a little bit angry with you. He doesn’t know it is ok to be honest about all of our feelings. Mostly because he does not know you as I do. I know you are faithful and true. I also know that you love us each more than we could ever realize. Please help my grandson Enoch to know you as I do. Help him seek you and to know you as his great, great, great….great grandfather Enoch knew you. Help him to trust you and to know you are faithful. Thank you Lord, for I know you will hear and answer this prayer.”

With that, he squeezed my hands, and I knew it was my turn to talk to the Lord.

I was scared.

It’s not every day you talk to the God that created the universe, but Grampa knew Him so well and trusted Him so much I wanted to try.

I started the same way Grampa did.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, this is Enoch, and I’ve never spoken to you before because I…I…well, I just didn’t know I could. Now I know I can. I have learned that from my Grampa and I just want you to know I want to trust you in the same way my Grampa does. Please help me because I’m pretty young…and, well, I’m really new at this. Please help me to trust that you’ll take care of all of us in this ark and one day soon we can live on land again.”

Grampa laughed a little, but I kept going.

“Thank you, Lord, for loving us. Thank you for loving me and my family. Help us to take good care of all the animals. Especially help me to take care of all of the birds. There are more birds here than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

“Anyway, thank you Lord. Please forgive me for being angry with you. Please help me to do my part of trusting you to take care of everything else on the outside of the ark. I know it’s my job to just trust and obey you.”

Then Grampa put his big arms around me and gave me a real good hug. He looked me right in the eyes and said, “God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

I gave him a big smile and said, “Ok, Grampa, I’ll do my best. The Lord has to help me, but I will try very hard and trust Him.”

“God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Then he walked away. I sat there with the birds for a long time thinking about all that had happened. I felt more peaceful than before. I, somehow, just knew that things would be all right. But, our voyage had just begun.

Abram Goes to War – Part 3

I apologize for the delay between posts. I have been busy starting up my own proofreading service. If you are interested in that, here is the link. http://wp.me/5LmIc

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In the morning, Kenan went down to the river where he had hauled the boar, cut some meat out of the carcass to roast for breakfast. The smell of the meat, while it was cooking over the fire reminded him of how hungry he was. He hadn’t really eaten a meal since before the battle two days before. After devouring the succulent meat, Kenan washed up at the river, packed up his things and headed for Hebron once again,

Two days later Kenan arrived in Hebron and was greeted at the edge of Abram’s camp by an armed man. He told the man who he was, why he was there and was quickly taken to see Abram. As he was ushered into a tent and Kenan soon realized that although he literally dominated the interior of this tent, Abram wasn’t a really large man. But somehow his presence was larger than life. He was instructing some of his men on the things that he expected to be done that day. When that task was finished, the armed man spoke softly to Abram, who then turned his full attention to Kenan.

“Hello son, I hear that you have some important news for me about my nephew Lot. What sort of trouble has he gotten himself into this time?” He asked.

Kenan bowed low and began, “My lord, your nephew Lot, his family and all of his goods have been taken by King Kedorlaomer, one of the four kings that made war on the King of Sodom and the other four kings that were his allies.”

Abram leaned over, took Kenan by the arm and pulled him up, “There’s no need for that son, let’s sit down here. You just tell me what happened. Then we’ll see what can be done.”

Kenan started at the beginning and told Abram the whole story of the yearlong standoff, the story of the battle, seeing Lot and his family carried off by the enemy and finished with what he found on the battlefield when he woke up among the dead.

He watched Abram’s face with great interest as he told the story. He could tell that the great man was moved by the hardship that they endured and the horror of the battle. But, he was never once frightened or angry. His focused all of his attention on Kenan as though they were the only two that mattered in the world. When Kenan got to the part about Lot and his family being captured and hauled away as slaves, Abram’s face began to show a determination.

When Kenan ended the story, Abram smiled and said, “Thank you for coming to tell me. You did a very brave thing coming all this way to tell me the news. How old are you Kenan?”

“I am fifteen my lord,” replied Kenan sat up straight to show off his full height.

“A very grown up fifteen you are. Thank you, I must pray and seek the Lord’s will on what to do.” He called in one of his servants and gave orders to take Kenan to some place where he could be fed, get cleaned up and rest after his long journey. After washing and eating Kenan was taken to a tent where he could put his things and rest.

After several hours, there began a flurry of activity in the camp. Kenan was trying to rest but couldn’t at first with all the voices speaking of preparations to be made and supplies to be gathered for a journey. With those sounds in his ears, Kenan finally drifted off into a restless sleep. He was wondering what role Abram’s God played in all of this when sleep overtook him. In Kenan’s dream, he was faced with a situation where he had to choose between Lot’s many gods or Abram’s one God. He couldn’t decide.

In the morning when Kenan awoke, he was surprised to hear many animals milling around and men talking excitedly just outside his tent. He hurriedly got himself dressed and went outside to see what the commotion was all about. The first thing he saw was Abram giving orders to a group of men. Kenan stepped closer to try to hear what was going on.

Abram Goes to War – Part 2

Abram seemed to have a sense of purpose while Lot just seemed to go along with whatever happened to him.

Abram exuded a kind of peace that surrounded all who were with him. That stopped when he and Lot went their own ways.

Sodom was a wild and wooly place to live. The life they shared with Abram was safer and more secure. Kenan wondered if all of that had anything to do with Abram’s God. Lot had no god at all. Actually he had lots of them, but they didn’t seem to help him any.

He made a small fire to heat some water to make some broth from the dried meat and also to use to wash his wounds. He could hear some animals in the forest as the sun went down so he stoked up the fire to last as long as possible to keep them away.

“I ought to keep my belongings close to me in case of wandering thieves,” Kenan thought to himself, “especially my sword and my knife.”

So while he covered himself up with a blanket as he lay down, he put his knife below his pack with the handle sticking out. He also laid his sword alongside his body just in case he needed it.

Kenan fell asleep wondering about what Abram’s God was like.

He slept fitfully that night as his leg kept throbbing with pain. Sometime during the night as the fire began to die down, he was awoken by a rustling sound in the bushes behind him. Reaching slowly for his knife, Kenan got the handle firmly in his right hand and grabbed his sword by the scabbard with his left and jumped up to face whatever was behind him.

His quick action startled a wild boar that was rooting around for some food and caused the animal to rush at him just narrowly missing his injured leg with its tusks. Once across the clearing the beast turned around and charged him again. Kenan swiftly tucked his knife into belt and drew his sword. As the animal came toward him, Kenan offered a quick prayer. “God of Abram, protect me.” Then he stepped out of the path of the charging boar and drove his sword into the beasts head. The animal ran headlong into a tree with the sword sticking out of his head and then fell over dead. He piled some more wood on the fire and sat down to figure out what to do next when his leg began throbbing again to remind him of his injuries. He had forgotten about them during the excitement. He also remembered the quickly uttered prayer to the God of Abram. He looked up into the night sky at the stars, smiled and said to himself, “Thank you. Maybe there is something to Abram’s God. I think He just answered my prayer.”

Kenan got up, hauled the dead animal down toward the river to get it away from his camp, returned to his makeshift bed, put his weapons back in their places and, worn out from the excitement, fell soundly asleep for the rest of the night.

Abram Goes to War – Part 1

I have been absent for the last few weeks as I considered and reconsidered where to go with my current writing projects. That dilemma is nearly resolved so I want to continue sharing my older stories. It is an adaptation of a Bible story from early 2010 that I wrote to tell the boys in AWANA. I hope you enjoy it.

Abram Goes to War

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

Kenan opened his eyes and was immediately blinded by the sun. Struggling to prop himself up on his elbows he began to look around him. As his blurred vision cleared, all he could see around him were bodies of soldiers and blood, lots of blood. When the smell finally registered in his brain, he began to feel sick to his stomach. It took several minutes to remember who he was, where he was and how he came to find himself the apparent lone survivor of a massacre.

Kenan struggled to his feet only to remember that he himself had lost some of the blood on this battlefield. There was a long cut on his left leg, another gash on his right arm and a bump the size of a pomegranate on the back of his head.

He tried to remember what had happened to Lot and his family and then the sight of them being tied up together and being pulled behind King Kedorlaomer’s conquering army like cattle. That was the last thing Kenan saw before he blacked out from that knock on the head.

Standing alone in the battlefield he thought to himself, “I’ve got to get to Lot’s uncle Abram! He’s rich and powerful and wise. He might be able to help my master.”

Kenan began looking around for anything that might make the trip easier. He figured that it would take at two or three days to get there, longer if he had trouble with his leg (which was still bleeding slightly).  Looking around at the bodies strewn across the field of battle, he found on one body a sword (complete with scabbard), on another a dagger to stick in his belt. He also added a bow, a quiver full of arrows and a couple of half-filled canteens, an equipment pack and bedroll that the soldiers used on their forced marches including  several pouches of rations dried meat, some sort of dried meal cakes and a quantity of dried dates before he was done. He could re-fill the canteens in the river that he must cross on the way toward the hills of Hebron. He felt well equipped for the journey.

Kenan loaded all of his equipment and supplies and began his long journey. Taking a look at the sun and the shadows of the early afternoon, Kenan headed northwest toward the home of Abram. His injured left leg was somewhat swollen from the cut and ached slightly with each step. He planned to wash it thoroughly in the river when he got to it.

At the edge of the field where the battle had taken place he stopped to turn and take one last look at the carnage. His unsettled stomach took another turn for the worse so he turned his back on it and headed into the coolness of the forest determined to find the river, refresh himself in it’s cool waters and find a place that he could cross it.

It was a long, steady climb to get to the river and Kenan reached it as the sun was setting beyond the tops of the hills he was climbing. As he settled down for the night, he began to think about what he had just been through and his life as one of Lot’s men. Things had been very different when they were with Abram.

 

 

 

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 1

“The After School Bible Adventure Club”

By: S.C. Mathisen

(Note: Part of this story is an homage to the original Susie and Johnny stories written by Dr. J C Brumfield for the Radio Kids Bible Club. Those stories inspired these and, this one scene was so powerful, I included a version of it in this story.)

One day at school Susie and Andrea came out of the girl’s room and found Johnny sitting on a bench in the school courtyard with his Bible open on his lap, staring off into the sky. As they got closer, they could see that his lips were moving. They looked at each other and then walked over to where he was sitting. As they got closer to him they could hear “John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15, John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15….” “Johnny” said Susie “are you reviewing your memory verses from AWANA?”

“Yup, I don’t want to forget them. These were some of the first verses that I ever learned” he said. “I especially want to remember this one because it reminds me that Jesus wants everyone to have eternal life like we have and I want all of my new friends here at school to know it too!”

Johnny’s enthusiasm was infectious and soon our little trio was talking about starting their very own bible club at school.

“What should we call it?” asked Andrea, turning to look at Susie.

“I don’t know…yet,” said Susie with a thoughtful look on her face. “I think that we should pray about it and see what the Lord suggests to us.”

“That’s a great idea,” said Johnny. “Besides, lunch is over and we need to get back to our classroom in a hurry!”

After school was out for the day, the three friends were walking home still talking excitedly about their idea for a Bible club at their school. Johnny turned to his friends and said, “You know, we’ll need a teacher to be our advisor and I was thinking that Mr. Christopherson would be a really great; especially since he is our Sunday school teacher too.” Both Susie and Andrea thought that was a great idea too, and it was decided that they would talk to Mr. Christopherson the next day before their science class.

As the three friends said their prayers that night, they each prayed for their club and asked the Lord to give them a name that would tell the other kids at school what being a Christian was all about.

The next morning on their walk to school each excitedly shared what they had thought of and prayed about the night before. When Johnny mentioned memorizing verses, Susie responded,

“That’s a great idea Johnny. Memorizing will help us more when things get hard and when we are tempted to sin.”

“And when we witness to other kids” he replied. Andrea then told about her idea to do chores and errands for the elderly people in the neighborhood.

“Hey, Andrea that’s great too” said Johnny. “Did you think of a name for our group Susie” Johnny asked.

Susie looked at her two friends, “No, I didn’t. I was hoping that one of you would. Did you think of anything Andrea?”

“Nope, sorry” Andrea responded while shaking her head.

“We’ll just have to keep praying about it…God will give us something really great, I’m sure” said Susie.

 

Zacchaeus and Me – Part 3

This time was very different. Uncle Zach was so excited about having Jesus come to dinner at our house that he invited almost the whole town. He even invited the people that were calling him a sinner and scum. Some of them turned out to be the men that were in charge of the synagogue. I think that they were called Rabbis or Pharisees or Scribes or something. Well, he invited just about everybody in town.

When Jesus arrived with his friends, I went up to a place on the roof so that I could sit and watch everything going on in the courtyard and stay out of the way. I could see Uncle Zach talking to Jesus when I heard him say the strangest thing. Jesus was sitting down and Uncle Zach looked Him in the eye and said, “I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much.”

It got real quiet in the courtyard that day. People could not believe what they had heard my uncle say. Then Jesus spoke loudly so that everyone could hear, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.”

Now, I didn’t understand all of that but later I went downstairs. I wanted a closer look at this Jesus for myself. Uncle Zach found me and excitedly took me to Jesus and introduced me directly to Him. I couldn’t believe that I was standing there with Him. I just stood there, staring. I didn’t know what to say. But, Jesus bent down and took my hand and looked me right in the eye. He told me that He was very, very glad to meet me. I still couldn’t speak. It was like He was reaching right inside of me and touching my heart. I stood there and stared at Him for another long minute and then I rushed over to Him and just hugged Him for all I was worth. He hugged me back real strong and I felt warm and tingly all over my outsides and my insides. Somehow, I just knew that He loved me more than anyone else ever had or could. He loved me more than my Uncle Zach and even more than my mom and dad. I just knew that knowing Jesus and loving Him was the most important thing in my whole life.

I realized later that Jesus came to Jericho just to meet my Uncle Zach and me. Our lives would never, ever be the same. For instance, Uncle Zach went all over town to find people that he collected too much tax money from and gave the extra money back…just like he told Jesus that he would. And then he would give them four times as much as he took wrongly…. just like he told Jesus he would. Uncle Zach really changed after he met Jesus. He became the nicest man I ever knew. People in town didn’t run and hide from him anymore. He made lots of friends and our house became a place that people liked to come and visit.

My life changed too. I worked a lot harder at making new friends and being a good friend. I also told all of my new friends about the time that Jesus came to town to meet my Uncle Zach…and me.

Do you know Jesus? Do you know that He loves you more than anyone else in the whole world ever could? Would you like to meet Him too? If you don’t know Jesus and want to meet Him, talk to your Sunday school teacher or one of your church leaders or your parents and ask them to help you to know Him. Do it today!

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If you like these stories, consider buying my book on Amazon. It has this and many other stories.

http://tinyurl.com/nxwps7f

Zacchaeus and Me – Part 2

I ran inside to tell my Uncle Zach that Jesus was coming and he got a real curious look on his face. A look like he could see something far, far away that I couldn’t see. Then, he jumped up and ran out of the house. I followed him as long as I could, but I couldn’t keep up with him for very long. Even though he was pretty short, he could really run fast.

When I finally caught up with him, he was trying to see Jesus in the crowd, but he had a problem. You see Uncle Zach is really short. I mean that he is really, really short. When I was about 10, he was just a little taller than me. You should have seen him trying to see Jesus. He tried to push through the people to get to the front of the crowd, but no one would let him through. He tried running around to the edge of the crowd, but people kept blocking his way. Finally, he shinnied up a Sycamore tree and was watching the crowd of people with Jesus walk by. There were a lot of people there that day. I had never seem so many people before and I could hear them talking about Jesus, so I figured that Jesus had to be in the middle of that crowd.

I went over to the tree that Uncle Zach had climbed and tried to climb up after him, but I couldn’t do it. That’s when I heard him speak for the first time. Jesus, I mean. He was telling my Uncle Zach to come down from the tree because he was going to have dinner with us. He said, “Zacchaeus! Quick, come down for I must be a guest in your home today.”

The crowd got really quiet for a minute and then people started complaining that Jesus was going to have dinner in the house of a sinner. They were calling my Uncle Zach a sinner! They called him scum! That made me real mad! Those people were saying that Uncle Zach was a sinner just because he collected taxes for the Romans!

Anyway, Uncle Zach jumped down from that tree and ran home faster than I’d ever seen! You should have seen him leaving a cloud of dust, holding his robe up so that it didn’t get in the way of his legs as they ran. It was a little funny to watch.

By the time I got home, all the servants were running around like crazy getting the house ready for a big dinner. I had never seen such a commotion. Except for the Roman soldiers that stopped by once a month to pick up the tax money, we didn’t get many visitors.

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If you like these stories, consider buying my book on Amazon. It has this and many other stories.

http://tinyurl.com/nxwps7f

 

A final story from the book…

Zacchaeus and Me

Luke 19: 1-10

My name is Jonah. You don’t know me but maybe you know about my uncle Zaccheaus? I’ve always just called him my Uncle Zach. That’s a lot easier to say than Zacchaeus. He’s been taking care of me ever since I was very little. My parents both died when they were attacked by robbers on the highway to Jerusalem from our home in Jericho. He was the only family left to me and he took me into his home and raised me ever since, just like I was his own son.

Most people in our town thought that Uncle Zach was just a rich thief before he met Jesus, but they don’t know him the way that I knew him back then. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t what you would call a really nice man. But, he worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed.

It was shortly after he took me in that I realized how rich he was. The Romans had conquered our country and appointed all of our government rulers. Uncle Zach was a tax collector for the Romans in our town. He was not only a tax collector for our town, he was also the head tax collector, so all of the surrounding town tax collectors brought the taxes that they collected to him. He kept part of what he collected and he took part of the money that the other tax collectors brought to him and then he paid the Romans what they were supposed to get. That made him very, very rich.

There were a few problems with that though. People in our town didn’t talk to us much. Most of the other kids wouldn’t play with me at school, especially once their parents learned who my uncle was. It was really lonely. Nobody liked Uncle Zach very much and because I was his nephew, they didn’t like me either. They didn’t like anyone that worked for the Romans. They especially didn’t like anyone that collected taxes for the Romans. People hated the Romans. They hated paying taxes to Rome and to the temple in Jerusalem. They especially didn’t like the fact that Uncle Zach could collect as much tax as he wanted. He just had to pay the Romans their share. He always collected extra. He told me that he just collected enough for an honest wage, but we sure lived well.

We lived in a really nice house. It was a really big house. It was the only one in town with a really big open courtyard in the middle of the house. It had lots of trees and a garden and a fountain and stuff. We also had places on the roof that we could go up and sit or sleep on hot nights. We had servants and horses and a chariot and sheep and goats and big fields to grow our food and plenty of everything that we could possibly want or need. Uncle Zach said that if we couldn’t have friends, we should at least be comfortable. But, all of that was before he met Jesus. That’s what I really want to tell you about. That was a really great day!

It began pretty much like any other day. It was warm and dry and a little windy. I was outside playing in the courtyard with my toy soldiers when I heard the people running by shouting that Jesus was coming to our town. There were rumors that there was a prophet who healed people and talked the way that no one else ever had about God. His name was Jesus and he was different from anybody else that I had ever heard of. People said that he could do anything.

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If you like these stories, consider buying my book on Amazon. It has this and many other stories.

http://tinyurl.com/nxwps7f

Jairus Daughter – Part 3 – Final Part

Papa walked directly over to the crowd of people and pushed his way toward the man at the center of all the attention. I was right behind him when he suddenly stopped in his tracks, coming face to face with the most unusual man I had ever seen. I then saw something that I had never seen before in my life. Papa got fully down on the ground. He was laying face down right in the dirt and was almost shouting so that the man could hear him really well. Papa was pleading with the man to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” I had never heard Papa talk that way before. I was amazed.

Well, by now I had figured out that this man was Jesus. He bent down and took Papa by his hand, pulling him up to his feet. Jesus looked him right in the eye and said to him, “Take me to her.” Papa stared into Jesus’ eyes for what seemed like a really long time and then he did something else that surprised me. He said in a very reverent tone, “Yes, rabbi.” and then began to quickly lead Jesus back up the street toward our house. I took off running as fast as I could back to the house so that I could tell Mama that Papa was coming home and bringing Jesus with him. Just before I reached the door of our house I heard people wailing and moaning. I had heard those sounds before, when someone had died. I got a real sick feeling in my stomach that something really bad had happened. I ran inside to find Mama and the other women wailing over Naomi. They were lamenting that she was dead. “Oh, NO!” I thought to myself, not after what Papa had just done, risking everything by defying his friends from the synagogue. Jesus is getting here too late.

I just stood there for a minute looking at my sister. She didn’t look dead to me. She couldn’t be dead. She was too young. This couldn’t happen to my sister. I was suddenly overcome with a deep sadness. And then I felt angry that God would allow this to happen. I was very angry. Then I heard a lot of voices outside. Papa must be arriving with Jesus. Mama was going out the door to stop them from coming in. I ran out right behind her to see what was going on. One of the women had sent a message to Papa telling him not to bother bringing Jesus, that it was too late. When I got outside, I could see them talking. Mama and Papa were both standing there with Jesus in the street outside of our home. One of the women kept repeating that Naomi was dead and that they should not come into the house. She said that they needed to begin the preparation of the body for burial and that Jesus would be in the way.

Mama and Papa looked at each other and then they both looked at Jesus as if he was going to tell them what to do. He did. He looked at each of them and then said, “Don’t listen to them and don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” He then moved past them toward the house. People were laughing at him, but he just ignored them. On the way in he told everyone to move away from the house. He called to Mama and Papa and to three of his disciples to follow him. They all went in the house with him. I ran over to the window so that I could see in. When I got there, Jesus was telling the other people that were in the house to leave. No one argued. They just left. Somehow people just obeyed him. Once everyone was outside except Mama, Papa, Jesus and his three disciples, he went to where Naomi laid, leaned over, took her by the hand and said to her, “Get up little girl.” I tell you it was like she had just been lying there waiting for him to show up and say that. She just popped right up as though nothing had ever been wrong with her. She looked at Jesus for a minute, put her hand on top of his hand and smiled at him.

Then she got up and walked right over to Mama and Papa and hugged them. It was amazing! I ran inside and got a hug of my own. I then looked at Jesus. He also looked at me. I felt something warm inside of me when he did that. I knew at that moment, deep in my heart that he had been sent from God. I understood later that He was the Son of God. But, anyway, life was never the same after that for my family.

Before Jesus left, he made sure that Mama got something for Naomi to eat. He wouldn’t stay to eat himself, but we made it a point to take food to him and his disciples every time they passed through our town. We all became followers of Jesus. I still didn’t understand a lot of things but I did understand that God loves us and cares for us more than we can ever imagine. And I will never forget the day that God sent Jesus to our house to prove how much He loves us.

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Jairus Daughter – Part 2

Two hours later the sun was coming up, we were all still very tired and Naomi was still moaning and groaning. Only now she was going at it with all she had. I am sure that they could hear her halfway across the village. Papa then decided that it was time to go and get the doctor. When Doctor Gomer got there, he mumbled a lot and gave her some of his medicine to take, but she just threw that up too. Some of the other ladies in the village came to see what they could do and each one of them seemed to have a favorite remedy to give someone with stomach pain. I think that Mama tried them all and Naomi threw them all up. Finally, about four hours after the sun came up it was high in the sky and warming the air pretty good, Naomi fell asleep.

Normally that would have been a good thing, but Mama said that something was wrong with the way Naomi was sleeping and that she was really worried. She turned to Papa and looked scared. I had never seen her look that way before in all my life. That scared me and it even scared Papa. I think it was then that he and Mama both began to believe that Naomi was going to die from this. The doctor had not been able to help, none of the ladies in the village had been able to help and now Naomi was sleeping in a very weird way that worried Mama. I started to understand that I might lose my sister. I went over to a corner of the room and sat down. I had never felt so sad before. It was then that one of the other leaders from the synagogue came by to tell Papa that the rabbi called Jesus was going to be arriving down at the lakefront in a boat with all of his disciples real soon and that they should go down to make sure that he did not lead any of the members of their synagogue astray with His crazy teachings.

Mama looked at Papa again. This time she was not scared. She simply said to him, “Jairus, you need to go and talk to Jesus and ask him to come and see Naomi. Maybe He can heal her. I am afraid that she is going to die.”

Papa was stunned. He could not believe what he was hearing. After all, he had just told Mama last night that they should all steer clear of this man named Jesus. Papa especially could not believe that he was hearing it from his own wife with the men from the synagogue standing right there. He was stunned speechless. I have never seen Papa unable to talk before. But, he stood there for a full minute moving his mouth but nothing was coming out.

He walked over to the bench by the window and sat down for the longest time, staring out. There was a crowd of people beginning to gather as word had quickly spread about Naomi’s sickness. There were also a few other men from the synagogue outside talking about going down to confront Jesus. And of course there was Mama inside staring at Papa, waiting for him to make a decision. She finally uttered just two desperate words, “Jairus, please!”

Papa turned from the window, stood up and looked tenderly at Mama. He then said to his friends, “You will have to excuse me. I have a very important errand to do for my daughter.” He then hurried out the door and headed down the street toward the lake. Mama turned her attention toward Naomi again. She kept wiping her forehead with a wet cloth, occasionally squeezing a few drops of water onto her lips.

Papa’s friends from the synagogue made their excuses and headed out the door. Outside, they met up with some of the other men from the synagogue that were in the crowd that was forming. They talked excitedly for just a moment or so and then they all headed down the street toward the lake, picking up their robes so that they could walk faster.

Since no one was paying any attention to me, I took off after Papa to see where he was headed and what he was going to do. I could run a lot faster than any of them could walk, so I caught up with Papa just about the time he got to the lake front. He looked around for a minute and then noticed the crowd that was gathering down on the shore where a boat had just come in.

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