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Friday, July 13, 2012

Fiction Friday - ONE MORE TIME - Chapter 49B

At dawn, Sarah ran to the cooking area to put together food for Paul and juice for Tamara. Nothing for herself—she had lost her appetite. Paul seemed so encouraged by his short visit with Jesus yesterday that he acted rested and relaxed. Sarah resented his attitude—she wanted him to be at one with her feelings. Is he giving up on Tamara and accepting that she could die again? I cannot, will not, accept it! Can You hear me, Jesus? Do You care so little for this child who has such unshakable faith in You?

Sarah brought the tray of food to Paul and Tamara. Sarah lifted a goblet of fresh juice to Tamara’s dry, cracked lips. She swallowed a few sips but refused even a small piece of bread. Paul, however, to Sarah’s disgust, ate the entire tray full of food she brought him. How can he eat? The very thought of food turns my stomach.

“Paul,” she said, “I’m not going to wait for the meeting. I’m going this morning. Now.” She wrapped a scarf over her head and hurried out the door. Would he try to stop her?

He called something after her about the synagogue, but his voice was far away and vague. She kept walking toward the street, not even going into the main dwelling to say where she was going.

Sarah hurried toward Jonas’ house. If only Tamara could last until she talked to Jesus. Surely Jesus would come if she told Him how sick Tamara was, even if it was the Sabbath. She remembered from somewhere that healing the sick was considered work which couldn’t be done on the Sabbath. So unchristian! Oh—Christianity doesn’t exactly exist yet. Still… Tears streamed down her face again —what if He wouldn’t come? Tamara was too weak to last another night.

Why did Paul not feel what she felt? How did he come by this calm? How dare he have such peace in the horror of Tamara’s illness? Sarah wanted to scream in his face that he should be just as indignant as she. He should rant at the injustice of it, shake his fist at God, feel the same anger.

She arrived at Jonas house and pounded on the door. A servant, Arbah, answered Sarah’s knock.

“Where is everyone?” Sarah demanded. “I need to talk to Jesus right now.”

“It is the Sabbath, and they are all gone to the synagogue, madam,” Arbah answered.

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot.” Sarah turned and ran toward the synagogue, not even flinging an absent thanks to Arbah.

When she arrived she saw Jesus sitting on some steps, and a large crowd had gathered to listen to Him. It looked like every soul between here and Jerusalem was there. There must be a thousand or more people! His disciples gathered close around him, holding the rest of the crowd back. Sarah’s stomach tightened even further. How could she possibly get to him through this crowd? Jesus began to speak.

“People of Tyre, have you any faith? Great healings come not by many words but by faith. What is this belief? I tell you, it only takes faith as small as a mustard seed to begin the growth of greater belief in your hearts.

“I’ve seen many people of great trust, and not all of them were Jews. Some of them were Gentiles, even as some of you are. A Roman centurion came to me wanting his servant to be healed, and I agreed I’d go to his home. But the Roman said no, that wouldn’t be necessary, that he believed that all I had to do was say the word, and his servant would be healed.

“Of course many were Jews—one woman knew if she just touched the hem of my cloak, that would be enough to heal her. Truly, truly, I tell you it was their faith that brought about the healings.”

It seemed to Sarah that He spoke to her. As she listened, she worked her way forward as best she could, slipping in front of one after another. Even so, it would be impossible to break through the entire crowd between her and Jesus. The crowd in front sat on the ground, shoulder to shoulder, backs to knees.

“What shall I liken faith to?” He said. “Faith is like a baby who grows as he is fed. You must feed your faith. Faith is like a mustard seed, so small you can scarcely see it, and it grows into a bush able to support a bird’s nest, but it needs water and earth to grow.

“Faith is like a home built one brick upon another until it can shelter a large family, one brick upon another, one splash of mortar upon each brick. What do you need to build your belief? You build it by gathering with others who also feed their friends’ and their own faith. You water it by listening to wise teachers. You nurture it by reading or listening to the words of the prophets. You feed it by using it. As long as you nurture it, your faith will continue to grow."

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