A Short Story by John Meyer... Late rent, bills collectors, overdrafts, self-effort, and a rock quarry...
"OMG! Not again! I can’t believe this is happening to me! I just can’t take it anymore,” shouts Jason, with a blistering torrent! The walls in his living room turn from a soft shade of beige to a cool grey in a matter of seconds, as the place turns into an echoing chamber of desperation and fear.
“I just don’t understand how this keeps happening to us? I am doing all I know how to do, and we just keep getting further and further behind! Why are these jobs not working out?” Jason continues as he slams himself into the wooden chair. Not realizing ...
...his nine-year-old daughter had been listening to the entire affair from down the hall, he suddenly hears a fear-filled shout, “Daddy! I’m scared! What is happening to us? I don’t feel good; I’m so worried, daddy!” Jason looks over towards his daughter and then quickly looks away in torment. He felt his heart sink to another level straight down into the depths of despair.
Jason could feel his vital organs aching to the point of panic when he hears the all too familiar voice in his mind say, “Look at you, Jason! You’re such a loser! How can you live with yourself! Just look at the mess you’ve gotten into again! Do you think you’re good enough for God to bless you? Yeah right! You know you’re such a screw-up! You can’t even pay your bills on time! Do you really think that all your “righteous” living and sacrificial giving are really going to get God to notice you?? Whatever Jason! You know that God doesn’t just bless people simply because He loves them! You know you have to earn it somehow!” His self-talk just took on a whole other dimension, as he could literally feel deep darkness enter his mind and soul.
He just couldn’t stand the thought of seeing his daughter racked with fear and uncertainty again.
Could it be that I’ve done something so wrong that God is allowing this punishment to be upon me? Maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere? Maybe this is my lot in life? Perhaps I’m one of those people who are just made to suffer to bring some glory to God? OMG! What is happening to me? God? Where are you??? I don’t understand all of this!!! Why aren’t you answering me??? He loudly thought to himself.
Jason was brought up thinking that for God to bless him, he had to follow a certain set of rules. He truly believed that if he crossed every “T” and dotted every “I,” surely God would come through for him on every level. But it seemed the more he tried, the more he gave his time, his money, and the sweat he spilled into his well-worn T-shirt, trying to follow a formula, the more the blessing seemed to elude him.
What was happening? He thought... Jason just couldn’t figure it out. For years he tried to follow what he read and heard. He tried fasting, praying for hours on end, talking with friends, giving to what he thought were credible ministries, and confessing all the right Scriptures, yet nothing. He truly began to believe something was really wrong with him. For the life of him, he just couldn’t understand why God wasn’t coming through or at the very least give him some encouraging word or sign as to what might be happening.
A faint knock on the front door became louder and louder as Jason began to sink further into his depression. “Daddy! The door!” Exclaimed little Lacie as she ran over to the chair where he was sitting. “Daddy! Someone is knocking on the door! …Daddy!” she kept trying to get through to him as he sat in a slump of mind-bending torment. Finally, he began to come to himself for a moment as the knock on the door escalated into a rapid pounding. “Oh! I’m sorry, Hunny, go ahead and see who it is”. Lacie ran to the door, looked through the opening in the blinds, and said, “Daddy, it’s your friend, Larry!”
“Oh, no! Larry? What does he want?” He mumbles to himself in disgust. “I bet he wants the money I owe him too! God! Why now? Haven’t I had enough punishment for one day? Haven’t I been punished enough for a lifetime? Why is it that every time I start to do what I think is your will, something happens to my finances? I just don’t get it! Why finances? You know I want to provide for my daughter? Why would you let her suffer because of me??”
Jason! Jason! What’s going on, man? Are you ok? Larry asks in a worrisome tone. (Lacie let him through the door, hoping her dads’ best friend could help in some way. She had been losing sleep and couldn’t concentrate in school due to the high levels of worry and fear consuming her beloved papa. She desperately wanted someone to help).
“Huh? Oh! Hey Larry, what are you doing here?” Jason barked. “I came because I felt like I should. I was driving down the street to go to the gym and just felt this strong urge to come over and see you. Man Jason, it seems like you are always going through something! How did your job interview go?
“Well, that’s nice, Larry, but I’m not really feeling up to talking much right now, ok?” Jason said with grief.
Larry wasn’t buying it; he knew something was terribly wrong with his friend. Not only by the look on Lacie’s face but by the tone in Jason’s voice and by the heaviness he felt in the room. Larry began to ask the Lord quietly as he stood near, “Father, what is it? Why did you prompt me to come over here? What would you have me say to Jason? Do you want me to give him some more money? What?”
As quickly as he began to ask, Larry suddenly saw a picture in his mind, like a vision of some sort. He began to see a picture of Jason working in what looked like a gravel or rock pit. As he looked a little closer, he could see a thick, steel chain wrapped around Jason’s ankle. He was standing there with his shirt off, swinging a steel pick into a large boulder. He was swinging with a vengeance and kept striking the rock over and over again, but it wasn’t budging or breaking. It was as if he was swinging into a piece of steel or a slab of iron. The rock would not move or break at all!
Just then, I could hear I, myself, Lary, shouting at Jason in the vision, “Stop Jason! It’s not working! You’re gonna kill yourself! Stop it, Jason! For the love of God and the love of your daughter, stop!!!” But it seemed the more I shouted, the more He kept swinging the pic… until his hands started to tear and bleed, pouring out of his skin. It was as if he was trying to punish himself to the point where God would see his pain and then come running to bless him for all of his sweat, toil, and pain.
Suddenly, I saw Jesus standing in the rock quarry not far from where we were. He was just standing there watching Jason go at the rock with a passion. At first, Jesus had a troubling look on His face, but then it turned into one of sadness, then compassion. It was as if he could see Jason’s past in full HD color and scan his actions like he knew the exact moment the trauma happened within his soul.
As I was staring at what was unfolding in front of my eyes, I noticed Jesus begin to raise his hand towards Jason while opening the palm of His hand towards me slowly and lovingly.
There it was! The wound! The open wound of love in His wrist! It was so large I could literally see through the opening. It was so real as if I could reach right through the picture and touch it. It was as if everything became holographic or 3D in my mind for the moment. I had always wanted to see those wounds in person because many of the paintings I’ve ever seen of Jesus never really satisfied my curiosity. Man, I wasn’t prepared for the reality check on this one! It was so surreal I could hardly stand the sight of it all. I mean the sight of those wounds and the sight of Jason swinging that pick with such fury and not even noticing the noticeable!
How do you not notice Jesus, the Master of the Universe, standing that close to you! I just couldn’t stand it, I began to shout at Jason again with everything I had in me this time, but he still couldn’t hear my desperation. I wanted to help him so badly, but I couldn’t get through. It’s like my words were filled with an ear-shattering silence, or there was some kind of a glass bubble around him or something.
Then it hit me. Jason wasn’t hearing or seeing anyone, including Jesus. He couldn’t because he was deafened by his own self-effort, pain, and human logic. Jesus was trying to show Jason that He paid the ultimate price for his complete freedom from having to sweat it out in his own strength. He showed him that His blood and His wounds were more than enough payment for Jason’s debt. If only Jason could see that the pick was going to kill him if he kept it up. If only he could see that all of his toil and frustration were bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. If only Jason could see that it simply takes one act of surrender into the care and freedom of God’s love for him. If only he could see the amazing call, God had for him.
Why would he continue to torment his daughter and himself by trying to figure it all out on his own? I thought to myself. I know he’s got a lot on his plate, but it just seems like every time I turn around, I have to rescue him somehow. I mean, I don’t mind loaning him money when he needs it, but he’s starting to owe me quite a bit now. Oh well, as long as the Lord keeps on providing me with extra money, I guess it’s my duty to keep bailing him out of his messes. Gosh! I wonder why he just can’t get it together! I pondered with frustration.
Just then, in the midst of my mental anguish of trying to figure out ways of further helping my friend, Jesus turned his gaze upon me while gently swinging his hand in my direction. His eyes piercing right through the thin layers of my emotions, I could hear Him whisper, “What about you, Larry? When will you give me the reigns of rescue?”
Rescue? I thought to myself. What does He mean by “rescue?” I was puzzled, to say the least. I was only trying to help a friend in a time of crisis. Isn’t that what a friend, a Christian friend, is supposed to do? I thought anxiously. But before I could even finish my reasoning, Jesus answered, “Yes son, I do understand your heart in wanting to rescue your friend, but in trying to rescue Jason out of his troubles when he really doesn’t want to be rescued, truly rescued that is, only leads to more rescuing in the future. I have often sent my messengers, relatives, and strangers to remind Jason that it’s not about what he has done or can do to try and save himself. I have made many attempts to reveal My kindness, love, mercy, grace, and provisional ways to him free of charge, but he just continues to swing his pick of religious performance in front of Me. Yes, I have called him to do great things, but there is a process I have been drawing him into for the calling to be released. I want him to be fully prepared for what lays ahead, so I have been trying to purge the “noise” out of his soul so he can clearly hear My instructions and love for him. It’s up to Jason, though, to either turn it off or continue letting the noise get louder by feeding his mind with man’s ideas instead of Mine. Sadly, the noise level has become so loud in this rock quarry that he cannot hear anything anymore, including his own pain threshold. It won’t be until he comes to the end of all illusionary and pre-programmed mindsets within himself that he will be able to hear the simplicity of Who I am and what I am for him.”
“Ok? I think I somewhat get it now,” I responded with doubt. “That’s ok, Larry, My special Larry, I am patient. You, too, will soon understand what it means to leave the self-effort of your “rescue” gift to Me as well. I know you mean well, Larry, and I know you love your friend, but if you can find it in your heart to remove your covering of enablement, then you will find that your prayers will be answered sooner rather than later in My strength and not your own.
It’s time to step out of the vision now, Larry, but no worries, I am always close by anytime you may need a hand to hold or a wrist to behold. I will find a nice rock to sit on now while I wait for your friend to come to the end of his self. When he does, I will be sure and move quickly to heal the tears on his hands and the wounds of his heart.
Oh! But before I let you go, one last thing…it would be a great blessing to Me if you would forgive Jason’s debt that he owes you. As you can see, I’ve been getting a little dusty waiting in here, and I don’t want him to stay here any longer than necessary.
Sincerely Letting go,
Jason, Larry, and Jesus’ friend… John
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