A Story

I wrote the following story more than a decade ago. I posted it to the Gazette at that time, but for reasons now lost to me, I didn't include it a few years later when I rebooted the blog following an extended hiatus.

My inspiration came from the life of a real person, someone who -- as it is often said -- was famous for being famous. You would recognize the name, but it's not really important, because it could be about any one of us...at least where the important facts are concerned. Anyway, while contemplating the hot mess she had made of her life, I began to think about how God might use one very flawed individual to affect the entire human race.

My purpose in republishing this is because today, in 2020 -- a year of grief and strife and uncertainty -- it's exceedingly important to understand that there's more to this world and this life than our physical eyes can perceive. Spiritual forces and battles swirl all around us, and they often envelop us. But there is a God Whose love, grace, and mercy provides us assurance that in the end, He is our Rock...our Advocate...our Salvation.


Once upon a time, there was a little golden-haired girl who slumbered in silken sheets, and God whispered his love to her, and she smiled in her sleep.

As she grew older, God continued to whisper to her, but she forgot how to listen to him. She smiled less and less, even though she lived in the midst of riches that the rest of the world could only guess at.

At some point, she began again to hear a voice in her sleep, but it wasn't God speaking, and it didn't make her smile. This voice didn't tell her she was loved, but that she could be loved, if only she would do...things. Things she knew were unspeakable, but the voice convinced her otherwise.

So she did them, and sure enough, the world said that it loved her. The more outrageously she behaved, the more it applauded her, and the stronger the voice spoke to her in those times no one else would.

Then one day, she did things that even the world would not accept, and her freedom was taken away from her. Everything she held important was taken away.

As she lay on her prison bunk, far from the silken sheets of her youth and drifting in and out of a fitful sleep, the golden-haired girl thought she heard a familiar voice, so soft, so tender. She didn't know how to answer the voice; she didn't know if she even deserved to hear it. But she lay still and silent, and then a wonderful, unimaginable thing happened. She was changed -- not physically, not so you tell just from looking at her, although the smile she'd lost as a little girl returned -- but in her heart and soul and spirit.

Later, when she was released, the world pretended again to care, and the acclamation seemed overwhelming but the young woman was untouched by it all. The world didn't notice.

A television network came to her and offered a vast sum of money if she would tell her story in front of their cameras, much to the outrage of the competing networks who deemed it unethical (besides, they would have paid more). She agreed to do so, and was soon seated in a studio across from a professional-looking woman -- a TV star -- who had a long list of questions designed to satisfy the needs of the millions of people who would be watching when the taped segment was finally aired.

So, tell us what prison was like, began the professional interviewer, who had heard it all before, many times over.

I will tell you, but first, I want to thank your network for paying me so much money to be here. And I want to let you know that I will be donating that money -- plus another five hundred million dollars -- to an organization called Voice of the Martyrs.

The interviewer frowned, and heard frantic conversation from the director and crew over her earpiece. What is Voice of the Martyrs?! Who knows anything about it? Oh, you've got to be kidding me: it's something religious!

The golden-haired woman continued, with an assurance hitherto unseen. Prison was both the worst and the best experience of my life. But what I want you to know is that I learned once more how to listen to God, and I re-learned his love and grace. I let him change me, and as wonderful as that is, what I want more than anything in the world is for you to experience that same change.

The interviewer's eyes had narrowed to slits, her worldly cynicism turning her lips to flint. She'd heard it all, and she wasn't buying it.

The golden-haired woman continued speaking, her voice low and calm and sweet, her face beatific. And another marvelous thing happened. As she listened to the woman's story, the interviewer's features began to soften, following her heart. Her lips loosened and her eyes widened and glistened. And wondrously, inconceivably, she found herself down on her knees, sobbing and crying out to the same God she'd denied her entire life, since the time she, too, decided to stop listening to his voice in her youthful sleep. 

The golden-haired girl knelt in front of the TV star, wrapping her lovely arms around the star's shaking shoulders, and calming her with whispers of God's love and redemption.

The producers and director were aghast, and the network executives wasted no time in calling to express their extreme displeasure. We can't use this; it's completely worthless. We'll be laughingstocks around the world. They instructed the producers to destroy the tape, and they mentally wrote off their investment.

Leaving the studio an hour later, the golden-haired woman emerged from the studio hand-in-hand with the interviewer, both faces tear-streaked but smiling, and were engulfed by waiting paparazzi and hangers-on who were oblivious to what had just occurred on the closed set inside the building.

The pair pressed through the mob, the people reluctantly parting, puzzled at the expressions on the faces of the two women. At the street corner, they hugged, and the TV star continued to the right to her parking space. The golden-haired girl waited for the light to change so that she could cross the street to a waiting limo. She found herself standing next to a bag lady, pushing a shopping cart and heading in the same direction.

The bag lady, seemingly confused by the scene at the nearby studio and mumbling incoherently to herself, stepped off the curb before the light changed, unmindful of the onrushing bus. No one noticed, because they were all focused -- eyes and cameras -- on the golden-haired woman.

And thus they were witnesses to the shattering impact of the bus slamming against her slender body, but not before her sacrificial leap had pushed the bag lady out of harm's way. The mob grew temporarily silent at the sight of golden-haired woman's lifeless body, limp and broken, but some would later speak of an inexplicable smile on the lips.

None of them noticed the bag lady's exit, nor the faint glow emanating from beneath the tattered red watch cap she wore.

As expected, hundreds of photos and videos of the golden-haired woman's unselfish act appeared within hours on the internet and via national and international news broadcasts. However, the release of the taped network interview on YouTube was completely unexpected -- and unexplained. The producers would later swear that it had been destroyed immediately following the phone call from their bosses.

Within a few days, every corner of the earth had seen or heard the golden-haired girl's clear and beautiful testimony of God's salvation, and her cogent explanation of how to follow in her footsteps.

Then, a few days later, seven trumpet calls, blown by unseen lips, were heard 'round the world.

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 (NASB)

For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." 1 Corinthians 1:19 (NIV)


4 Comments

Nice, Eric. I love it! Beautifully written, and remember the word “nations” is ‘ethnos’ in Greek, meaning ethnic people groups. Bob

Great story! Thanks for republishing this. One day you will know the effects this story has had on certain peoples’ lives.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on October 12, 2020 2:46 PM.

Neighborhood Nature (Pt. 6) was the previous entry in this blog.

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