Tag Archives: hope

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 005

Lisa Bynes put the last of the care packages into her car outside the warehouse.

It had been a very quiet past few weeks, and things didn’t look like they would let up. She was glad that her church had gotten a food bank ready as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions came up, but sometimes she wondered if this was all worth it. No one on the Welfare Committee had shown up all day and now she was the only one here to make the deliveries to the homeless. And then there was still going to be a Last Supper re-enactment on the church Zoom and she had to be online for it.

It felt wrong. It felt unfair. Times like these made her wonder what she was even doing here or why she even bothered. She just wanted to get back home to her daughter, Kelly.

She turned back into the compound to lock up the storehouse for the day. What an Easter this would turn out to be. No church services except those online, no songs in the streets, no creative drama presentations for the season, no Easter egg hunts (or maybe that one wasn’t so bad). The whole world had paused and, as much as she tried to encourage herself that there was purpose to all of this, it was difficult to remember all the time.

The door of the warehouse burst open and a woman staggered out and fell to the floor.

Lisa started at that. She instinctively reached into her bag for the mace spray, but she couldn’t find it in the midst of the hand sanitizers her bag was stocked up on.

Lord, please don’t let these be one of those looters…

The woman looked dishevelled, but she was laughing maniacally. Probably on drugs. But when she stared up at her, recognition dawned.

What in the world? “Eva?” What was her sister doing there?

“Lisa?” Eva’s eyes widened. “LISA!” She hurried towards her.

Now Lisa had been maintaining social distancing measures all this time so her first instinct was to take a step back. But her little sister looked like she had been through a lot, and she didn’t seem to care. She embraced her and Lisa put her arms around her slowly.

“What’re you doing here?”

Eva seemed more excited than she had ever seemed. “What am I doing here? What’re you doing here?”

Lisa gave her a good look up and down. “Are you OK? How did you get here?”

Eva pointed inside. “I’ve been in there for hours. It feels like a day already.” She grabbed her hands. “Oh, Lisa, you wouldn’t believe all that happened to me in there. Oh my, you’ve got to meet him!”

“I’ll bet.” She sauntered into the warehouse. Oh Lord, I pray my sister’s not on drugs. “How did you get in here? Who else is here?”

But when Eva followed her in she looked surprised. She looked over the stacks of bags with questions on her face. “We were … just here.”

Lisa squinted at her sister’s eyes. “Who else was here?”

Eva looked genuinely worried. “Andy. I mean … he wasn’t really Andy. Andy wasn’t Andy at all. You see—“

“Eva, I’m going to ask this once and you have to be honest with me. What are you on?”

But Eva’s eyes did not look high. If anything she looked concerned. “I was just here. There was a table over there, a-and a window there…” She walked into the room. As long as Lisa could remember this had always been an enclosure. No windows whatsoever. “And there was a hall beyond that wall. Lisa, you’ve gotta believe me.” She rushed to the back wall and knocked on it. “I’m not lying. It doesn’t look like it, but I just came out of this place.”

Lisa measured her words carefully as she approached her. On one hand she was tired and wanted to get home, but this was her little sister. And no matter how stuck-up Eva had been all this time she was really worried for her. “Eva, I’ve been waiting for my church members in this room for hours. There’s been nobody here but me.”

“Oh my…” Eva sank to her knees in genuine wonder and Lisa didn’t know if she should be worried. “I mean I can understand He could do this but…“

“Who could do this?” She stooped beside her.

Eva turned to her, excitement in her eyes. “God,” she said.

Now Lisa had been used to the cynical comments Eva had been making about God all these years so the sincerity of her words now felt weird.

“God?” Lisa didn’t know what to make of this. It was one thing if a stranger gave a testimony about a supernatural miracle, but this was Eva. The Eva she had known all her life.

Eva looked over her shoulder. “See, I don’t know how this works, but you know what happened, right? It was in the news. The thing with the werewolves on campus? It was all my fault.”

Now Lisa was convinced she was on drugs. “Werewolves?”

Eva nodded frantically. “I was doing this experiment a-and it blew in my face. I didn’t know it would do that—”

“And you saw werewolves?”

Eva nodded. “Why, yes! I even became one.”

Lisa put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s take you home, OK? You must be coming down with something terrible.”

And so as she helped her sister towards the car, wondering what to do with her, Eva launched into the most bizarre story she had ever heard. It was full of monsters and lab mistakes, a pandemic, and the weirdest interrogation she could have ever imagined. She was praying under her breath wondering what to say when it was over.

But as Eva continued, the core of the story began to look familiar. The part about Andy and the things he did, and the things he said. From disbelief Lisa was slowly coming to understand that her sister had truly experienced something. Was it real? Was it all in her head? This couldn’t be the Eva she had known. This could not be really happening.

But then there was so much more in what she was saying. Lisa parked the car along the sidewalk and placed her head on the steering wheel.

“Eva, there were no werewolves,” Lisa finally said. “The things you said never happened.”

Eva seemed genuinely confused. “What do you mean—“

“There’s a pandemic out there, alright, but it’s not the one you experienced.”

“Yes, he did say there was something worse.”

Lisa shook her head. Could it really be? “The coronavirus is out there, but it’s not what he was talking about either.”

Eva seemed to be the only person on Earth that did not know what she was talking about. The confusion never left her face. “I remember that. I remember everything. But, it feels like a distant memory. Like … it wasn’t even an issue where I’m coming from.” She placed a hand on her head. “What is going on? Where was I? Is this real?”

Lisa didn’t know what to do with her. How long had her sister been cut off from the world? “Eva, are you messing with me? Because if this is a joke you have to stop. Now.”

“I wouldn’t mess with you. I would never do that!” Her eyes lit up with an idea and she reached into her pocket for her phone. She searched through her news feeds frantically and couldn’t find what she was looking for. “I don’t believe it.”

Lisa ran a hand through her hair. “You and me both.”

“Andy’s number’s not on my phone. I can’t find our emails either.”

Lisa couldn’t believe she was going with this. “Maybe there never was an Andy,” she muttered.

“Lisa I’m serious!”

“What do you want me to say? That you’ve had a vision or something? So that you can make fun of me again?”

Eva shook her head. “Is that what you think? That I had a vision?”

Lisa clenched her fists. “I don’t believe this. How did you get into the warehouse of all places? It doesn’t make sense!”

“I don’t know! Maybe that was a miracle too?”

Lisa shook her head. Her heart was burning with an idea, but she wouldn’t embrace it. She just couldn’t.

“If God could do anything,” Eva said. “Would it be impossible for Him to do that? I mean, between us both, you’re the God-expert. Does He do stuff like this?”

“But why? Why you? No offense.”

Eva pursed her lips. “Maybe He did that for you?”

Lisa thought about that for a moment. Before she knew it a chuckle escaped her lips. For me? The chuckles kept coming until she found herself laughing. For me?! And then the laugh just wouldn’t stop. She pounded on the steering wheel despite herself. She shut her eyes and kept on slapping her knee at the incredulity of it all. A tear ran down her cheek. And the weird thing about it was that it felt refreshing.

She exhaled and set her hands on the dashboard. She could feel Eva’s confused gaze all over her.

Lisa shook her head. “I needed that.” She couldn’t believe it, but it was true. “All this time I thought I was alone. But God was there. I felt I was wasting my time, but He was there. Working on you, but He chose where I was?” She kept shaking her head. “It’s incredible.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “You have no idea what that means to me. It’s just like Him to do something like this.”

Eva had been smiling shyly. She probably didn’t get the depth of what Lisa was feeling. It was like a love letter to her, a personal one signed by her Heavenly Father. Thank you.

“So this virus is worse than we thought, but you say it’s not what he was talking about?” Eva was now staring out at the empty street.

Lisa was still taken by it all, but she shook her head. “It’s not. If we’re right, he’s probably talking about sin.”

Eva arched a brow. “Sin? Like lying and cheating and stuff? You’re not serious, are you?”

“He is. All sin is worse than any virus. And we all got it. Everyone.”

Eva seemed to be getting it now. “And He is the cure?”

Lisa nodded. “He is.”

“But did I really have to … you know?”

“Eat his body?” Lisa had to admit, that sounded very weird. But then the concept of Communion had always been a symbol to her. To imagine it now brought to mind just how Jesus’ disciples must have felt when He talked about it. But if this what got through to her sister, then it was worth it.

And then she realised what day it was and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face. “You just wait ‘til we do Communion at home. You’ll get it. It’s just like Him to do that. He loved parables when He walked the Earth.”

“Jesus?”

Lisa nodded. “Jesus.” There was so much she would still tell her.

But all the way she was basking in the fact that God had not left her. This was all worth it. And that’s what made all of this, with all its pain and uncertainty, beautiful.

She had her own questions too, but she had hope, and that’s what made it all beautiful.

Because He is here.

He makes it beautiful.

 

THE END

 

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever.

The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.

Jesus in John 6:51,56

For more details, check out some of my thoughts in MY CURIOUS CASE

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 004

Eva wanted to scream. She wanted to shout. But all she could do now was stutter because words were just not coming. Andy?

This man, who really could not be here, walked around the table towards her. “It’s always been me.”

How had she not recognised his voice all along? It really looked like him. Same hair, same height, same cologne. She wanted to run. She wanted to cry. Reality and all that was sensible had shattered before her very eyes and this dead man was here.

Is here. Had been here all along.

In the light she could even make out the faint profiles of Mitch and Briella beyond the window. She turned back to Andy. His green eyes were full of life. She could remember his body on the floor, and here he was. “H-how? What’s going on?”

“The room works like your heart. You are free to see, but you could only see what you were able to see.”

“My eyes were open.”

He pointed at her chest. “I meant those eyes. You could have the sharpest eyes, but if the eyes of your heart are clouded in darkness, you couldn’t see me even if you tried. Only the Truth could really make you see.”

“Wh-what are you saying?”

“I came to help you see.”

“I mean, this—all of this! What is this?”

God, it really is him!

“I killed you!” she cried. It was probably not the best thing to say at this point, but it was the only thing she could blurt out at the moment. “I was the one that … I killed you… Are you a ghost?”

He turned his head and pointed to his neck. There was a bite mark. Deep bite marks. “See? It really happened. But I’m not dead anymore. I’m really here. And you know the best part? Because I live, you will too.”

Limp from the rush of adrenaline she sank to the floor but he pulled her up and embraced her instead. She didn’t realise when she started crying, but when she did she couldn’t stop. All the rage, fear, anxiety and uncertainty of the past day and a half poured out and wouldn’t stop.

This guy who had been her assistant for the past few years looked the same as ever, but he now felt more mature and more lived in than he ever had. Every status structure she had kept in place between them before now was broken because right now all she was, all she is, is embraced by Andy.

“I’m really sorry,” she said between sobs. “I’m really very sorry. I was wrong.”

“It’s OK.”

She pulled away. “But who are you? What are you?”

He smiled, and his smile had never felt so rich. “Who do you think I am?”

She rubbed an eye. “But it can’t be. All this time?”

He nodded solemnly. “You said I never have problems, that I’m perfect in all of my ways. I came to show you that your problem has always been mine. You wondered where I was all this time. Eva, I’ve been here all along. I never left you even when you thought I did. In your darkest moments I’ve always been here, and I never wanted you to feel alone. You couldn’t see me, you couldn’t know me, but I would do everything to help you see. To break through the dark and give you a slice of heaven and bring you home to me, always.” He lifted her glasses and wiped a tear from her eye. “Can you see?”

This was all too much for her. She stepped away, steadying herself by her chair. She was still reeling from the shock of seeing the person whose death she had agonized over for hours on end, and now he was implying to be something impossible. Something she would rather not engage.

But engage she did. “But-but why didn’t you stop me? You knew this could happen. Why didn’t you stop all of this?”

“I tried. But you wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t protect you from this and it hurt more than you could imagine.”

She could remember it now. “I said you could never understand it. That I knew what I was doing.”

He shook his head. “Watching it all go wrong, watching you helpless, it pierced me too. I don’t want that for you; I don’t want that for anyone. It’s why I came back.”

“You knew your blood would be the cure?”

“Eva, I’ve always been the cure.”

Everything in her wanted to fight the weirdness that was unfolding. She could not deny that her chains were broken, but this just couldn’t be Andy. None of this could be real. But then it was happening all around her. “But you could’ve told me.”

“I did, but you couldn’t hear me. Not really.”

“But look at you! If you could do … whatever it is you did to not stay dead, why let this happen at all? People are dying! There’s disease, and war, and evil out there! Why don’t you do something about all of that? Where were you?”

She could feel her pulse trembling all through her body. She was in the presence of the impossible, but that went against everything she understood about reality.

He placed his hands on her shoulders. “I could try to explain it to you, but you might not get it yet—“

“It figures.”

“But I’m doing something about it. The world is broken. Everything is dying. Yes there’s disease and yes there’s war and yes there’s evil. Like the virus that’s out there. But I came to bring life, to make all things new. Someday–“

“Why someday? Why not now when it really counts, before we’re all dead?”

He sighed and dropped his hands. She folded hers. Her heartbeat had still not slowed down in all this time. He turned and tapped on the table.

“Maybe you should see this,” he said.

And before her eyes, all the walls turned to glass. Each wall was adjoining another room, but all the walls were all opened up to her and she could see into what looked like probably hundreds of rooms in every direction except the hallway. And in each room, a man or a woman or a boy or a girl was seated under a spotlight. People of different shades and colours sat at their respective tables in their respective rooms, just as she once had.

Just like me.

She could see a man in prison jumpers. There was a woman applying make-up. There was a girl, probably a college student, hunched over her laptop streaming a TV series while eating out of a bag of crackers. Each of them were in different states, but they all had their own rooms.

“What is this place?”

“This is what I see,” he said. “They may not look like it, but every single one of them is shut up in their own rooms. Their fears, their insecurities, their joys and hopes and dreams … all shut up in there. They only let you see what they’re comfortable with you seeing, you know. But I see it all. Suffering hits everyone in its own way. And so do the mistakes they make. Everyone has need. This is what I see every moment, Eva. I look and I see great need out there.” He placed a fist on his chest. “And how I want to bring them home to me. How much I want to hold them close and never let them go, to let them know that they I’m the one they’re looking for.”

“Then why don’t you just do that?”

He shook his head. “They can’t hear me or see me.” He pointed to his chest. “Their hearts, it’s still dark. To some I’m still nothing but a judge. Or an interrogator.” He winked at her. “They can’t see me yet. But I’m there still in the questioning and uncertainties. They don’t know it, but I’m there in the smiles, in the relief after a long cry, in the moments of joy and peace in the middle of storms. Little pieces of heaven in the middle of the darkness. I’m always there.”

“But…” she walked over and placed her hands on the closest glass wall. The man in the next room was playing chess. He was concentrating on the board so hard, she wondered what was going on. He seemed to be waiting for whoever was on the other end of the table to make his own move. “Why don’t you just go in there, like you did to me? Show yourself. Help them.”

He pursed his lips. “I did.”

“But I mean … you know what I mean.”

“That’s why I need you, and more people like you. You’ve got my life in you. My very blood flows in your veins.”

She shuddered. “That whole vampire bit was your plan all along?”

He winced. “I had to make do with the circumstances presented. But see, now that you’ve got my life in yours, you were made free. But they don’t know that they can be. Take this vaccine to the lost, the hurting, to those who walk in darkness. Carry my light to these ones and shine, my dear. Shine and heal their hearts like I healed yours. Light up their rooms. Let them know that there is more. Bring them to me. Let them know it’s going to be alright.”

“But is it?” she turned back to him. “Is it really going to be alright?”

He spread his arms wide. “Can you trust me? Trust in me, that’s all I ask.”

She traced a hand across the glass. “Is this real?”

He joined her at the wall. “Do you perceive it? Can you see it?”

She squinted. “You’re showing me. You could have made this all up. They could be holograms for all I know.”

He nodded. “Maybe. Right now, and for the rest of your life, you will see as through a glass too. But as my light shines in your room, you will see me better. One day the glass, with all its distractions and limits, will be gone.”

She took a step away. “It’s really you? Like … you you?”

He took a deep breath and nodded.

“I’ll admit, this is a lot to take in. I don’t even know if I understand all that you’re saying.”

“But you will. The rest of your life is an adventure. There is so much more you will discover. You won’t see me for now, but I’ll never leave you.”

The glass walls slid back into the opaque frames they once were and now it was just the two of them. She had a feeling her time here was almost over. He had said she was free, and she knew that it was time to go.

“So the thing with the virus, and the walking dead outside … all made up?”

He shook his head. “Oh no, it’s all real. Even worse than this. But not in the way you think.” He tapped his temple. “These eyes don’t tell half the story. Never forget that.”

She placed a hand on her chest. “But this does?”

“If it’s flooded with light, yes.”

She stared at the door. “I still have lots of questions. Like a ton of questions.”

“I know you do. And as you go through this world you’ll have even more questions. But I’m there with you, Eva. And I look forward to the conversations we’ll have.”

She smiled, placing her hand on the doorknob. A moment ago she had been here for manslaughter. The world was in disarray, and he said it was somehow worse than she’d imagined. Her job and career were probably over, but was it really? “What’s waiting for me out there?”

“You are free, and that’s done. But it doesn’t mean it’s a smooth ride outside.”

She ran a finger over the knob. “Will I ever see you again? Does this have to end?”

He walked over to her, opening his arms for an embrace and she walked into it. “I will never leave you, or abandon you. Don’t forget that.”

And then they came.

She was back at her Mum’s burial. A 7-year old girl holding a clump of earth over the coffin that bore her mother’s body. The preacher and all those friends and neighbours all stood waiting. But for her it was the final goodbye to the only good thing in her life. The tears came. She couldn’t say goodbye. She just couldn’t. A part of her still prayed for her Mum to come back to life, but the coffin remained shut.

And then she was a teenager living with her aunt when her big sister, Lisa, was going off to some African country on a missions trip. It was a gap year before college, but Lisa felt ‘called’ to do that. All well and good, but for Eva it was the last smidgeon of the life she missed leaving her forever. She never felt so abandoned before, no matter how much her sister said it wasn’t.

Almost immediately she was back in her college apartment, working through the night on a term paper. Her roommate was out late with her friends for a party. Eva had never felt the need for large social gatherings like those, but it didn’t make her feel any less lonely.

She was at the lawyer’s office with Norman Harrison years later. He had not told her he was married before overseas. Like, who does that?! That had just been four months ago. Right there before Norman and their lawyers she would never give them the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Holding it in was way worse than death. The weight of the love built up over years and the rejection she felt was rolled up in that moment, and it tore her insides.

One by one the darkest moments of her life rushed through her mind, and everything she had ever done to hide them gave way. She balled. She wailed. She cried. And Andy’s hands were around her. He was saying something but she couldn’t quite hear it all. Wait, was he crying too? Goodness, he was crying with her!

She really didn’t know what to make of it. She was just in the moment and there seemed no need to say anything.

He put her face in his hands and shook his head. “Eva, listen to me. When I said that it is finished, I meant it. I suffered so you could have peace. Everything is done. I give you peace. In the midst of the storm, I will be your peace.” He smiled past teary eyes.

She sniffed and tried to smile.

“Do you hear me?”

She nodded. “I do. I do.”

“I’ll never leave you. Even though you don’t see me, I’m always with you.”

“How will I know—?“

“I have sealed you for myself, child. My earnest promise.”

She was used to being sceptical. She was a cynic with good cause. But for some reason she believed him.

It’s going to be OK.

When he let go she didn’t know what to say. “Wow,” she exhaled. It didn’t quite encapsulate it, but that’s how she felt. “Wow…”

Andy was grinning too. “Wow?”

Now she was grinning as well. “Wow.” She didn’t know why she was grinning now but instead of chuckling, she made the mistake of releasing a snort, and that’s what broke the gates. They were thrown into full-blown guffaws now. She didn’t know why, there was no reason to it, but it felt cathartic.

She held on to the wall to stabilise herself, but now she was in hysterics.

It’s going to be OK.

He reached for her hand and opened the door with the other.

“Now?” she asked as she took a breath.

“I make all things new, my child. I make all things beautiful.”

Her world was flooded with light.

The story ends in the next file, CASE FILE-005

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy 003

A day ago.

Stanley Kirby usually took his lunch breaks at the Circle Q at the other end of the campus. It was his one chance to hang out with his buddies and catch up on the goings-on around. His own corner was probably the most boring because it was the same faces that turned up every day, and they barely ever struck up conversation beyond official greetings.

Not to say he hated his job. Being security guard at the Greenhouse had its perks. For one, it was one of the most beautiful fixtures in Providence with its colourful interiors. Rumour had it that the kids called it Eden because of the exotic plants, like in that story in the Bible. He’d even brought his girlfriend here on a date once and she’d loved the fragrance so, perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

But, today of all days, his car would not move. He was certain he’d gotten that oil change two weeks prior, but even the ignition would not start. He grumbled as he popped the bonnet and checked the oil. Or maybe it was a battery problem…

But then a scream from within the greenhouse caught his attention. He realised he had been hearing that sound intermittently for the past thirty minutes or so, but he’d just assumed it was some over-excited kids in the distance. Now he was concerned.

He wandered in, the plethora of fragrances overwhelming him. Usually the enclosure greeted him with a barely imperceptible hum of silence. But now he was hearing more. A crash. Another crash. Screams coming from Doc’s office. Had someone come in without him noticing?

“Hello? Hey!” He walked cautiously towards the office. “Who’s there?”

Good thing he still had his radio. If he needed backup he would call for it.

Doc’s office was usually quiet, as Doc would usually keep her door closed. There was little if ever any noise or chatter from her until that kid came along. It was uncharacteristically boisterous this time and now Stanley was actually worried. He stopped by the window.

A hoarse growl. And a voice.

“…It’s OK, Eva.” It was the kid. He sounded in pain. He was talking between gasps. “You gotta do this. You don’t understand it now … but I’m doing this for you … AAAAAAARGH! Oh God, Father, this hurts!!!

Good heavens! What crap are these guys into? He wondered if he should bust in or not.

It took another scream before he rushed into the room. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight he met.

“…ohmiGAAAAD, I’m gonna diiiiieeee…” The young man was screaming, flailing as much as he could on the floor.

The office was upside down. Table broken, cabinets wrecked, papers floating, blood splattered on the everywhere. Doc was on all fours facing away from the door, her hair undone. The kid was on the floor before her, fighting for his very life. A choke escaped his lips and he went quiet.

Stanley was frozen. “D-Doc?”

With a swiftness that sent a chill down his spine, Doctor Maundy turned to face him. Her pupils were shrunken to slits and she was breathing hoarsely. Like an animal. Her mouth was dripping with blood, and so were her hands. Before his eyes, Maundy’s pupils dilated and her breathing slowed. She blinked and stared around. The ferocious glint in her face was gone.

“Where am I?” she said, her voice choking. She stared at her hands and then at the bleeding kid in front of her. He wasn’t moving anymore.

Andy was spread eagle, blood sputtering from his neck.

Oh my God!

Stanley couldn’t hold it in anymore. He rushed out of the door and threw up. It was a full minute before his nerves had calmed down enough for him to call for help.

——

Eva, now in sound mind, was cuffed to the desk with her interrogator taking notes. The pictures depicting Eva’s recent beastly episode were strewn on the table. He had shown her the security footage on his tablet, and she never wanted to look at that again. It only brought home further what she had done.

If they didn’t finish piecing this puzzle, many more could turn out like Andy. And worse, who knew how many more would die?

But some things had been made abundantly clear.

Fact One: the rodents introduced into this environment probably carried a pathogen hitherto unidentified that was capable of affecting the nervous system and, as such, made their hosts feral.

Fact Two: they had bitten Dr Maundy, transmitting these hypothetical pathogens to her. She had turned feral and lashed out at her assistant, killing him.

Fact Three: these rats had possibly escaped from the enclosure, infecting other individuals in the vicinity and turning them into feral mindless zombies like Eva once was. And while officials out there were now on the lookout to identify possible bite marks on the infected, there was still one more factor to consider.

Final Fact (for now): Eva was cured within an hour of infection, while other victims seemed to be getting worse. What had made the difference?

“I’m going to jail for this, aren’t I?” she said staring at the glass of water in her hand. Overwhelmed by the revelations, she finally agreed she needed the drink. “Who am I kidding? Jail would be heaven compared to what I’ve done.”

“Day is not over yet, Eva,” he said. “We can work through this. Now did you take any vaccinations within the last three months?”

She was still staring into space, shaking her head. “I’m nothing but a monster.”

“Eva?”

She pursed her lips and looked up at him. “Vaccinations? No. If I did I would remember.”

“Ever been bitten by a rodent?”

“Not that I can remember.”

The man’s tablet was propped with its keyboard, and now he was typing on it. “So there’s no chances you’ve built up immunity over time.”

“Not to this, no. As far as I know.”

“Closest thing we’ve seen that can be caused by rat-bite is streptobacillosis, but that’s majorly a fever and infection, not a catalyst for delirium or psychotic episodes of this scale.”

She wasn’t listening anymore. I did this.

“So what made you different?”

That’s what she was still wondering. A thought made its way through her mind but it was too crazy to even consider. All that was true now was that she had unleased this biological menace. For all intents and purposes, she was an unintentional bioterrorist. “There’s no way I’m moving on from this. My life is over.”

“Eva, please…”

She closed her eyes, trying to focus. But what was the point anyway? “None of the cases have recovered yet?”

“Except you, none has.”

She had a theory, a very weak one at that, but at this point there was no reason to hold on to anything. She had lost everything in her stubbornness. “Nothing makes sense anymore.”

“Come on, Eva. You were on to something. Don’t stop now.”

She bit her lip and exhaled. “The victims, the infected, they’re getting violent. Just like I was.”

“We’ve got fatal injuries inflicted, yes, but no deaths yet. But the cerebral degeneration we’ve detected will ultimately lead to death if we don’t narrow it down to a solution soon.”

“And these injuries were from biting and scratching?”

“Yes. Until now.”

“Any … cannibalistic tendencies?”

The man paused before responding. “Cannibalistic—“

“You know that’s how I must’ve done it, right?” She knew this was going to sound crazy, but it was the only thing she had at the moment. “How I killed Andy? If there’s a reason I’m not infected it has to be tied to that.” She shrugged. “It has to be him.”

He closed his notepad and set in on the table. “Eva…”

“I …” Her stomach churned at the very thought “I … ate him. I bit his neck and ate his flesh. I tasted his blood…” She felt sick recounting it, but it was true. She pointed to one of the pictures on the desk. “This – the cavity in his neck – that had to have been me. I know I sound crazy right now, but that’s the only difference I can think of.”

Whoever thought vampires were an appealing concept? The very thought of what she knew she had done this time was sickening. This is so messed up.

“I don’t know if he knew all of this was going to happen,” she said. “He’d been in my office earlier, and I practically shut him out. But he came back. Did he know what was going to happen?”

“Andy came back.” Hearing him repeating her words to her made her realise just how it must sound. He probably thought she was crazy. She thought she was crazy.

She nodded toward the tablet. “The footage. We saw him show up. Maybe that’s the solution. If any of the victims bite a human, maybe they’ll get cured. Human blood must be free of those impurities. Like a vampire thing.”

He shook his head. “We’ve had three maulings now. None of them have turned back.”

She shrugged. “Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Or maybe it’s just Andy. Something in his body chemistry could have altered something in mine. Ugh, I can feel centuries of scientific pedigree rolling in their graves right now. I’m a total screw-up. I don’t know what to do.”

He cleared his throat. “Let me go over what you just said. So if we identify and isolate the pathogens that caused this incident, and extract a blood sample from your deceased assistant, we can find a cure?”

You do realise you’ve gone insane, don’t you Eva? She shut her eyes, but the thoughts would not stop.

She stared at her cuffs. This was her reality now. “What have I become? Is this what I wanted? To change the world, make us something more. Well, I made us something more alright. Now my life is over…”

“Eva, don’t—“

“I mean, look at all this. I’ve cursed them all. I’m a mental case. A total screw-up! The very thing I’ve always wanted to get away from caught up with me. No matter what, I still fail. And maybe Andy’s right. Maybe I do these things to escape the fact that I really am messed up. Couldn’t save my Mum. Couldn’t keep my marriage. Couldn’t get the job I wanted and I had to settle for this. And the grant I got this time was way out of my league.” She shook her head. “I’m cursed.”

“Don’t do that—“

“It’s just like you said; immortality doesn’t cure evil. It sure wouldn’t cure stupid. If we were screw ups when we could die, we’d be even worse screw-ups when we can’t. Better that there’s an end because I really want this to end. I just want to go home and forget all of this ever happened. But then again, hope … what’s the use?”

She was trembling now. She really had no idea what to do or what would happen here. “And now I’m talking garbage. I’m losing my sanity in front of a total stranger, and I don’t know what to do.”

Her statements hung in the air for a moment when no one spoke. But could it be true?

“Andy knew the danger I was in. And if I’m right, and he knew that he would be the cure, then he did that for me. He came back for me.” She shrugged. “I can’t explain it better. I don’t understand it. But that’s all I’ve got.”

The man turned in his seat and stood as he exhaled loudly, shoving his hands in his pocket. She wondered how much of a nutcase he must’ve thought she was. “If you’re right,” he said. “Then we need to start working on it. How to effectively get it across to everyone.”

The lights in the room flickered on one by one. She had to shut her eyes from the swift transition to brightness.

“But you’d be surprised how much we agree,” he said.

Just take me to prison already! She really didn’t want another long discussion.

“I’m sorry you had to go through all of this, Eva. Really I am. But if it helped you come to terms with the truth then it’s worth it.”

“What ‘truth’? That for all my strengths I was helpless where it mattered? That this was all my fault and now my life is over? That Andy died because of me?” She still couldn’t see well, so she lowered her gaze and blinked away the pain in her eyes.

“It’ll take a moment for your eyes to adjust, sorry about that. See, coming from the dark to light is like when we come to Truth. It hurts at first, but it’s what really sets you free. It makes you free, Eva. That’s when you can really see.”

She ran a hand through her hair, shielding her eyes from the light with the other. “Well if anything, it just makes me see myself for the idiot I really am. This feels nothing like freedom.”

“Your hands say otherwise.”

In that moment she realised something had changed. She actually had one hand in her hair and the other in the air.

Her heart skipped a beat. Her handcuffs were undone.

They lay broken on the table, and her chains dangled as they dropped to the ground. What the –? She jumped to her feet and staggered away.

“What just happened?”

“It will take a moment for you to understand, but you will. Eva, you are free.”

She turned to the man, questions on her face, but then everything changed. She could now see the person that had been speaking with her all this time. But it was impossible! It was crazy!

She placed a hand over her mouth to restrain the gasp building up. It can’t be!

“Andy?”

He smiled. “Took you long enough.”

The story continues in CASE FILE-004

The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy

Eva Maundy finds her assistant dead, and she’s the sole suspect. Questions uncover mysteries and dark things come to light. Perhaps she’s not as innocent as she thinks. There’s more at work here than meets the eye.

This story is sure to leave you with lots to think about. And, despite its somber tone and tense scenes, I actually had a lot of fun writing this one.

It’s a reminder that in the midst of the dark and uncertain times we find ourselves in, God has not left us and is very much with us. His Light shines, still. He makes it beautiful.

Read online here:

CASE FILE-001

CASE FILE-002

CASE FILE-003

CASE FILE-004

CASE FILE-005

My Curious Case: A (lotta) word(s) from me

Or if you’d rather read it offline and in your own time, you can DOWNLOAD the full story in PDF, EPUB , MOBI or LIT formats

Here’s what some readers said…

“I love the book! I love the scriptural undertones. I love the scenes. I love everything.”– Oyinkansolami


“It’s a very beautiful one. I really did enjoy and appreciate how it reminded me of Christ’s love in a fascinating manner. Excellent!”
– Esther

“It got me curious. At first I thought I was reading the movie Interrogation, then Resident Evil, then I thought to myself this is the movie Evan Almighty or could it be Passion of Christ? It is suspense-filled with an explicit message. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
– Anu

“…this is different. Wow!!! The twists and turns in the story were intriguing. It shows grace, forgiveness and a whole lot of things. Also, so timely.”
– Joana

“You really can’t separate me from a good book. It’s the best Easter story I read in years.”
– Dr Adeyemo

“This story is full of thought, well done. It’s funny how we chase for the cure of human virus but postpone getting rid of sin because there is no physical devastating effect. At this time when we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, may we continually cling to the redemptive power in this body and blood shed for salvation. Well done.”
– Osetemega

Don’t forget to leave a comment, and tell someone about it if you like it too.

Thanks for coming by!

(Photo of woman in glasses by Elina Krima from Pexels)

PORTAL (5 of 6): The Wager

PREVIOUSLY:

Tolu and Riley took the chance of plunging off the cliff, trusting that it would get them into the portal and out of the mad world they had been trapped in.

Frank, the old man, still remains contemplating what has occurred.

Those two kids had been the first people Frank Aldrin had seen here in years. He had initially feared for them, hoping they would not risk the pain of having their hopes dashed, but the boy had sold them his pitch. Watching them take the plunge off the cliff was a twist he had not foreseen.

Frank Aldrin blinked as Justin approached with that annoying smile of his. “Will they make it over there?”

Justin settled beside him. “From this point, there’s really no way for you to tell. Why don’t you take the plunge as well?”

“I already know what’s waiting on the other side. But it’s not for me.”

“How can you even say that? You don’t know that for a fact.”

“What? Platitudes and promises of a better tomorrow are for mindless weaklings, victims of a ruthless world. It’s all meaningless. There is no hope. And you should be ashamed of yourself for even insinuating otherwise.”

Justin fiddled with his fingers on the bench. “Do you ever wonder why I rhyme all the time?”

“I don’t care.”

“You’re not bothered? You’ve never wondered?”

Frank stared him down. “My guess is you’re going to tell me, anyway.”

“It’s because there is an order to my existence. I’m not left up to chance. God made me for His purposes. Time goes according to His plans.”

Frank wagged his head. “Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. So if there is purpose, why is there pain and suffering in the world? Why are men prone to so much evil? Why do good people, great people, die in the worst ways while criminals get rich? Why do millions die in tsunamis, when ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands?’ To think that there should be some purpose to all of this is to shut my eyes to the reality.”

“No, Frank. It’s a broken world, we know this. But God doesn’t leave you in the abyss. He adds His light into your stories. Your existence is anything but ordinary. Even when it doesn’t make sense, He asks that you trust Him. He’s promised to work something glorious out, and He’ll start in you, from within.”

Frank shrugged. “I don’t need this.”

“You know, I had hoped that seeing those two find their exit would help you see, even just a little bit.”

“And what exactly would it help me see?”

“That there is help! That there is grace. That there is a way to move on from this place.”

Frank chuckled. “I’m not like them. They’re not like me.”

“Why do you think so? It’s been 37 years, Frank. I really want to know.”

Frank looked on at the cottage across from him. “I deserve to be here. I choose to be here.” He folded his arms to end the conversation. “I want to be here.”

“For your pain—“

“Stop it, kid! I’m not a gullible victim looking for healing.” Something in his peripheral vision caught his attention. It was from the cottage.

Justin followed his gaze.

“I’m not the victim here,” Frank said. “I’m the monster in this story.”

For the first time in a long time, a window of the cottage lit up. As they watched they saw a man through the window. It was Frank, a much younger version of himself. He still had a head full of hair, and his clothes fit him too.

“What … is … happening?”

Justin looked up at him. “It means that you must be remembering.”

“Whatever it is you’re trying to do, stop. This is in vain.”

“I’m sorry, but somehow you’re the one thinking about it again.”

“I think about it all the time,” Frank snarled. “It’s why I stay here watching this cottage. What, you think being face-to-face with this moment will change my opinion? Like those kids did before?”

Justin squinted. “I think you’re seeing something more.”

As they watched, the Frank in the house was in an argument with someone. It was his daughter, Darlene. Watching it now he could not remember what she had done, but whatever it was, he had been angry.

He covered his mouth. Was it worth his anger?

“Take this away,” he whispered.

He watched as the man grabbed the bottle from the table. It had been in a fit of rage, a momentary burst of anger. It was not supposed to have happened.

He shut his eyes, but the scenes played on in his mind as clear as day. He stumbled off the bench, scampering away, but he could not escape it. He could not escape the memory.

He watched as he smashed the bottle in his daughter’s face. The glass shattered in slow motion, every detail imprinted on his mind in high definition.

It was not supposed to happen. Maybe if the bottle had not been there…

But he knew it was not the bottle’s fault. It was his. It was him that had damaged Darlene’s face for life. It was him that had doomed her to months of suturing and plastic surgery.

It was the last straw that had broken his marriage.

It was the brick that brought his family toppling down.

And it had been his doing.

Frank fought to keep all of this from getting to him, but he felt the emotions washing over him as raw as they’d ever been. He tightened his grip on the back of the bench.

“Don’t you see, Frank?” Justin said.

“Stop it…”

“This was 37 years ago. You haven’t moved on from this moment. You’re hurting more than you know—“

“I’m not the one that’s hurting. She’s the one that’s hurting. Darlene? My marriage? My life? They’re the ones that are hurting because of what I did.”

“So it’s Guilt,” Justin summed it up. “It’s driven a sword into your soul, to the very hilt.”

“And it’s well deserved.” He was heaving now. “I did this to my daughter. Whatever I am going through, I earned it.”

“Guilt has held you down. It just masks the pain inside. It doesn’t matter how you try to cover, there’s no way you can hide it.”

Frank shook his head, still staring at the cottage and the crying girl within. “I’m the scum of the earth, Justin. How could I do that to someone? And how can you even imply that this can be wiped away?”

Justin didn’t respond as Frank let of steam. He held his head in his hands and cried. It was too much. He didn’t know this reservoir had been stuck in there, but it was too much.

Perhaps Justin was right. Watching those kids believe they could trust something, or Someone, and how it took them away from this place got to him. It brought back that hope, but also a feeling of unworthiness. His guilt stared him in the face.

He dropped to his knees. “GOOOOOOD!!!!”

He wasn’t calling on God. He didn’t mean to. He didn’t want to. He was just letting out the exhaustion built up in his chest. But that was what his heart cried. God.

“I don’t know why I’m doing this,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. But, God … I can’t do this anymore. Just … help me.”

Perhaps it was too much to hope for. He didn’t even really believe those words, did he? He didn’t know why he said it. It came up from within him. Why did he expect something more to—

But suddenly, the ground underneath him cracked. He was startled. When he turned to Justin, the boy was smiling.

“It’s like I said, the hardest knocks are with your knees. The portal has been everywhere all this time. Just beneath what your eye sees.”

“What’s going on?”

“You called,” Justin said. “He answered. Your sojourn may be at its end.”

Light shot out of the ground underneath him. Enveloping him. Frank was scared.

“Justin!”

“Goodbye, old friend.”

And he was gone.

>> THE JOURNEY COMES TO AN END HERE.

Don’t Give Up on Me: Nigeria at 59

Though I be frail in my old age
My past beset with much disgrace
My bones be weak, my spirit bleak
My children cringe to see my face

My best days may yet lie ahead
For my offspring are my greatest blessing
I shall still rise. I can still see
And I still breathe. I can still sing.

Dear children, speak kindly to me.
Your hurtful words cut like a knife.
Comfort me. Help me stand.
Call my dry bones back to life.

You are my face, my hands, my feet.
You are the breath I need to live.
Your strength and faith is what I plead.
You are the best I have to give.

The future has great opportunity
Don’t give up, you still have strength to run
Don’t leave me to wallow in misery.
My children, don’t give up on me.

Personal Note: My initial idea was to represent Nigeria as an old man. But the more it developed, a woman felt more appropriate, to go with the comforting vibe I was going for. Every aspect of the Nigerian economy and polity needs healing. We all do. Say a prayer for Nigeria, please. Put on your strength, and rise.

Nigeria still lives.

Faces of the Christmas Story: THE PROPHETS

‘Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries.’ Hebrews 1:1

When we think of the prophets, much of the time we imagine old men with flowing beards bellowing words of doom with glazed eyes, ready to rip their clothes at the slightest hint of blasphemy from their audience. Well, some of them were like that. But some of them were kings like David and government officials like Daniel.
Whenever God wanted to let His people in on what He was doing, He spoke to His prophets who would then speak to the people. So, no, these prophets were not ‘fortune-tellers’.
The people of Israel lived through some of the worst times. From slavery to finding a homeland, to raising a kingdom, to occupation by invading armies, to a scattering and an exile and the plundering of their land, to their return to that land, to another invading army coming in … phew! Talk about a rags-to-riches-to-even-more-rags story! But in all this time, God did not leave them alone to face it. He had His prophets among them, men who would speak to them exactly what God needed them to hear. Sometimes theirs were words of judgment, sometimes they were words of comfort. But one thing the people of Israel knew was that God had not abandoned them. These prophets were given to God, faithful to Him so that they could be effective mouthpieces for Him to inspire His people.
In the midst of their prophecies and teachings, the prophets were inspired of God to utter and write about His Big Plan: God was going to save them! God was going to raise someone who would bring them to a prosperous place, a King that would bring them home and restore their glory. While these prophets had glimpses into these plans, they did not fully understand it, but they wrote the prophecies as they were inspired by God. Some had their contextual interpretations, but they did not fully know.
They told of how he would be born from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8), from the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) and a descendant of King David. They told of a ‘son’ that would be born to rule them in a peaceful and never-ending kingdom, who would also be the ‘Mighty God’ (Isaiah 9:6-7). They told of how He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
What they didn’t realise was that they also spoke of the same Person when they prophesied about an anointed one that would be killed for the sake of others (Daniel 9:26), a suffering servant that would be scourged to bring healing to others, be rejected and despised, stricken for the sins of the people (Isaiah 53). They probably thought they were describing their own pain and agony when they wrote about someone that would be forsaken by God, be pierced (long before crucifixion was even invented), and whose clothes would be gambled over (Psalm 22). They probably didn’t even link it all together when they wrote about someone who God would not leave in the land of the dead, but would raise to life (Psalm 16:10). They didn’t know this was all God was talking about when He talked of giving them new hearts so they can always do what is pleasing in His sight (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Only later, by the inspiration of God’s Spirit, would the apostles look back and see the road map God had prepared long before, telling of what He was doing. They could look on this, gain more understanding, and edify one another, confident in God’s faithfulness to His Word. (1 Peter 1:10-11)
The Prophets lives were not wasted, however, because in the time before God would become a Man and set things right, these were the people He used to bring comfort to those around them. Telling them that God was still with them. They too were human with their failings and doubts, fears and questions. But God used them. And they knew there was something more coming, and they looked forward to it.
And God fulfilled His promises, by Himself. He became a Man and fulfilled all He had promised He would. Just as He had said.
Like these Prophets, the circumstances around us may seem to cloud our understanding of God’s Word. They may even make us doubt if He is even there. It may look bleak, like we are all on our own. But we are not. The grace they prophets looked forward to has arrived in the Person of Jesus. He has promised to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), and He is true to His Word. He is alive in you, making you who He wants you to be. His promises for you are true, and He makes sure they come to pass.
Even when it doesn’t look like it. He is faithful and reliable, and you can trust Him, and in Him. Trust in His Word, in what He has said.
You don’t have to be in the dark about His faithfulness to you anymore. He won’t leave you in the dark. The Light has come. This was what the Prophets looked forward to. Now God can be known by all. Everyone.
Even you.
Trust Him.
The more you experience His love, the more it becomes a part of you beyond facts, and the more you can be a blessing to others. And they will see Him in you. That’s a life fulfilled.
It’s what God intended.

‘Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries.
Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son…’
Hebrews 1:1 and 2

#FacesoftheChristmasStory

GRAVE ROBBER

Grave Robber header

Working on The John 11 Story has been an interesting experience for me. Sure, I’ve known the whole story about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead for years, but taking it from this new angle was a pretty amazing opportunity. And sure enough, it looked as if God had pre-prepared the story to fit the format in which it is crafted here, with specific lessons to pick from on Love, Faith and Hope. And I love the way it all rounds up on my favorite story: Life over Death.

The first installment, Love, tells of the part when Jesus first heard that Lazarus was sick. He loved his friend so much … that he waited and let him die. I gotta tell you, this blew me away. But that’s what Jesus did, because He knew it was best for His friend. It didn’t matter that others would see it as downright inhuman, He saw the Big Picture and He lived according to that.

The second installment, Faith, shows us a little bit about ‘walking in faith’. It’s an assurance we have based on God’s reality that affects all that we do and how we live. Others may not see into this other reality, so walking in faith may look crazy to them. That’s probably how Jesus must have looked to his disciples and friends back then. With discouragement on the outside it can be quite hurtful. But He held on, not changing His conviction and confession.

And then, it all boils down to the final installment. Hope.

To many, hope means nothing more than a baseless expectation. Some even preach and teach –with the best intentions, I’m sure— that hope is inferior to faith. But they are so wrong.

But Hope is a word very dear to me. It’s entwined in my heart and in all my stories. I see Hope as … uh, like a rope –a sure and steady rope— that keeps us connected to our expectation. It’s like you’ve been on a ship sailing, with nothing but water for miles. Then suddenly, your shipmate yells from the crow’s nest, “Land ho!” Suddenly everyone rushes to the starboard side to catch a glimpse of the land to which we’ve been headed and they turn the ship toward that direction. We can finally see where we’re going. In a sense, we feel connected to that place already because, on the inside, we are finally home.

That’s Hope.

For children of God, we have a sure and steady hope waiting beyond this sea we’ve been sailing all our lives. It’s an anchor in another world, waiting just beyond this one. We know that we are going to still live even after we leave this world. And why will we live? Because we believe in Jesus, the One that is Life Himself. So no matter what we go through in this world down here, everything seems worthwhile. It is worthwhile because the satisfaction waiting for us is much greater, much better, more grand, extravagantly more amazing than anything down here. Such joy, such peace, such fulfillment and satisfaction in that Other World called Eternity.

And because of this Hope we have on the inside, we are connected to our Home. We already experience the joy and peace and life and love waiting beyond. It’s a life rooted in Eternity, and we call it Eternal Life. It flows on our insides like a river, and overflows to bless this world. It’s literally Heaven on Earth … through us. That’s what Jesus was probably talking about when He said that “The Kingdom of God is within you” in Luke 17:21.

We know it’s not a baseless hope because of the One Who has been there already, and made a way for us to get there. His name is Jesus. He died and rose to life so that He could open the portal for all that believe in Him to join Him, so that they can also have Eternal Life. Nothing can beat that. Not even Death.

Ha! Even death is no match for Eternity’s Conqueror.

He defeated Death so that we would not have to fear it anymore (Hebrews 2:15). The fear of death keeps us from living life to the full. It holds men in bondage all their lives until it finally snatches them away. But Death does not ‘snatch’ those who have Eternal Life. It serves them to bring them Home, at the right time. If you believe in Jesus, you need not fear Death any longer.

But Jesus ended all that. He literally dealt with Death, and rose up to life. It’s actually more awesome than the way I described it, but you get the gist, right? Because He is alive, our faith is effective! Because He is alive, we have Hope, a real Hope. Because He is alive, we can go the extra mile for others out of Love. Because He lives.

But then, it did not end there. He did not just defeat Death that day. Something bigger is coming.

 

The Grave Robber is Coming.

Here’s how the Bible describes it.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:51,52

One day, everyone who believed in Jesus before they died will rise to life and their bodies will become immortal. Death’s very throne room –the graveyard— will be raided instantly, and everyone that belongs to Christ will rise to meet Him and be with Him forever. And everyone who is alive and believes in Jesus will also join them. It would all happen in an instant, ‘in the twinkling of an eye’.

There will be no more death for us ever again. Ever. Forever.

We’ll have finally reached the shore.

———-

That’s part of why I love this Hope, especially since my father went Home a couple of years ago. I don’t talk about it much, I know, but one good thing God brought out of all that is that my attention has shifted from this world to the next. Sure sometimes I get distracted by the holograms of this world and forget my true identity, but my Home –my true reality— is in the next. Nothing fulfils me completely except it’s also rooted in that World. I tell myself, “Oi, if you ever want to see your Dad again, you better be good!” I believe in Jesus. My father also did. Our Hope is in Jesus. And I believe that one day we will both meet together at that Grand Reunion. But I get the feeling that our attention would be taken, not by ourselves, but by the One that got us in this great story in the first place.

Jesus. Eternity’s Conqueror.

So I’m no longer afraid of death because I have Jesus.

But I’m not suicidal, no. I don’t go around looking for death. I just have the confidence to live to the full without being afraid of death. I’ve got the Eternal Life of Jesus Christ in me. He influences how I live, so that I can bring His Light into the darkness around. This is what my life is about. The Hope and freedom that I have in Christ is what I share in my writing and artwork, so that you can see Him in me and come to the Hope we have in Him. You don’t have to fear death any longer.

Jesus is here. He loves you sooooooo much! Yes, He really does. Really.

Come to Him and find Life. Outside Him there is nothing but darkness and gloom and fear and Death.

Have you received Jesus? You can receive Him today.

 

Below are the words to one of my most treasured songs. It’s called Grave Robber, by a group called PETRA, and it explains everything I’ve been talking …uh, ‘writing’ about so far.

 

GRAVE ROBBER

(Based on Hebrews 9:27, John 4:14, 1 Peter 1:24, Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 15:26, 51-55, Revelation 7:17)

There’s a step that we all take alone
An appointment we have with the great unknown
Like a vapor this life is just waiting to pass
Like the flowers that fade, like the withering grass
But life seems so long and death so complete
And the grave an impossible potion to cheat
But there’s One who has been there and still lives to tell
There is One who has been through both heaven and hell
And the grave will come up empty-handed the day
Jesus will come and steal us away

(Chorus)
Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night
Where is the victory, where is the prize
When the grave robber comes
And death finally dies

Many still mourn and many still weep
For those that the love who have fallen asleep
But we have this hope though our hearts may still ache
Just one shout from above and they all will awake
And in the reunion of joy we will see
Death will be swallowed in sweet victory

When the last enemy is done from the dust will come a song
Those asleep will be awakened – not a one will be forsakened
He shall wipe away our tears – He will steal away our fears
There will be no sad tomorrow – there will be no pain and sorrow

 

The day is coming. And everyone will see. Believe in Jesus and receive the life He came to give.

The Grave Robber is coming for His own.

 

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.

It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God…

HEBREWS 6:18-19

THE JOHN 11 STORY: Hope

<< INTRO

<< Episode One: Love

<< Episode Two: Faith

John 11_hope

And so we got to the tomb. A rock was fixed in place over the entrance of the cave to seal it. And there I saw him. No one else could see him except me. I saw the enemy himself.

Leaning on the gravestone, his hands folded, my foe stared at me through hideous eyes cold from millennia of nothing but darkness. He just stared at me, an ugly sneer playing at his lips.

“It appears we meet again, Son of God,” he said, sarcastically dragging that last part.

So this was the monster that had held man bound for years. The one whose lethal sting festered in the blood of men, bringing them slowly to the grave through sin. This was the one that had kept humanity in chains, in oppression because of sin.

“What do you think you can do here?” he hissed. “Too late to heal this one, so you want to take him out of my hands? Like you did in Galilee? What’s your deal? I have a right to keep them, and you know it. However, you’re too late. It’s been four days. This one’s spirit is long gone.”

Yes, this is the monster that I will defeat on a cross. The last enemy. A painful reminder of what is in store for me.

But I was not there for him. Not yet. I was there for Lazarus. My gaze was set on what lay beyond Death. I would not let him have the final say here. I would not engage him before his time.

I turned to my disciples. “Brothers, take that stone out of the way.”

Martha started at that. “Master, are you—? I mean … he’s … he’s been dead for days! Four days—“

“Martha…”

“His spirit’s gone and I get it that you want some closure – I probably even get that more than you do – but … the stink! He’d be rotten by now.You don’t—“

“Martha, dear Martha … didn’t you hear me say you would see God’s glory if you believe?”

She stared at me, wondering if she should dare believe in what I was implying.

Yes, I dared her to believe, to expect the ‘impossible’. Let hope be rekindled in your dear heart. She stared at the tomb, her mouth agape.

“Go on,” I told my disciples. “Get the stone out of the way.”

They were already pushing the large rock. Behind me the crowd gasped in shock, some in horror. It was downright disrespectful disturbing the dead, they must have thought. To some I must have appeared like a hopeless rebel adamant to see my dead friend’s body one last time. The cold interior was opened. And, sure enough, the putrid odour drifted toward us. The others withdrew behind me. But I kept on staring into the darkness beyond, where my friend’s dead body lay.

“So that’s it?” Death scoffed. “You’re just going to ignore me now?”

Never again will death oppress those that believe in me, and those that will believe. The day will come when I will take all that Death has got for their sake, and dump it all on myself. I will die too, yes. But I will rise again. Death will lose its sting. The grave will lose its victory. That’s my Father’s plan.

“You do know that you are just a man,” Death growled. “All men eventually come to me. Men die. You may have taken three or so from my claws … but who will raise you when you fall into my hands, hmm?”

One man would die for all men to be saved. That would be me. It is all playing out as my Father had said. Death’s biggest mistake would be to take me, the one who is Life.

“I will maim you, and crush you, and destroy you before their very eyes, Son of God.”

See? The winner has already been decided. It is already written.

I lifted my eyes. “Thank You, Father! Thank You because You have heard me! Of course, I know You hear me always. I just said that for the people standing here, so they can believe that You have sent me.”

Some thought I had finally snapped. Death was furious, seething because I gave him no heed.

“I will deal you the worst death ever,” he said.

“LAZARUS!” I called out. “COME OUT!”

You dare take him from my hands—?!“ But then, he vanished. No doubt, with vengeance in his heart.

Death was gone.

The crowd peered into the darkness from a safe distance. In the silence that followed, the passing breeze and the chirping of birds filled our ears. Heavy breathing echoed behind me.

And then there was a scream. Someone had observed movement in the tomb. But then she was not the only one.

“Look! There! Do you see it?”

“See what? Oh, wait … oh my! Oh my—“

“Where? What’s going on?”

“It’s a GHOST!”

“Good God!”

But he was not a ghost. My friend bounded out of the tomb to their screams and cries for mercy. I’ll admit, it’s not every day you see a dead man come to life. He was still bound and wrapped up in strips of cloth so he could barely move. “Quick,” I said. “Someone, unwrap him. Get him out of those … clothes.” They hesitated at first, but then some of my disciples went ahead, the others too scared to come. The sisters held back, crying.

When the sheet from his face was removed we all saw him. Lazarus. Thank You, Father.

The sisters ran to embrace him, crying out loud. The screams of terror turned to cries of joy. The man held his sisters, joy streaming from them. The news was spreading, the grapevine already reaching the village: Lazarus is alive! So many people that doubted before believed now. They had now seen what my Father is capable of.

It was totally amazing as faith rose that day. I saw people trust in God again. Many who had given up on God’s saving power were now filled with faith. They could now see that God could do anything, that He was here for them, and that He had sent me here. They had faith in me. These people were getting set up for the days of the kingdom, after the final battle comes to pass, and is won. They will believe. They do believe.

It does not matter that they may not continue believing. My story is not done.

I will die. I will rise. All who believe in me will be filled with eternal life, and they will never fall into Death’s hands. Death will become my vehicle to victory, and theirs too.

It will be painful for me. Torturous and unearthly for me. So that you can be free.

And the result will be awesome. Everyone who believes in me will be filled with the Life that conquers Death. Yes, everyone— even you!

Ha!

It surely is worth it.

 

‘Whoever has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure’

1 John 3:3 (NIV)

 

———-

[POST-CREDITS SCENE]

In the recesses of the study in this palatial mansion, a group of men meet to discuss. They are leaders and priests, the top in the land. And the high priest sits with his fist on his mouth, deep in thought. A messenger has just arrived with the news.

“Are you certain?” one of them asks.

“Yes, sir,” the messenger says. “I saw him with my very eyes. The man lives.”

“BAH! There must be an explanation,” another says dismissively. “No man can bring the dead back to life.”

“He’d been in that tomb for four days, sir!”

“Do you expect us to believe that this demon-possessed Galilean – a chronic blasphemer– can raise the dead?”

“Well … I, uh—“

“It’s a trick, nothing more. A very costly one. There must be a logical explanation.”

“But his sisters mourned four days. We all saw them—“

SILENCE!”

“Even worse,” another puts in. “With such miracles – or rumors of miracles – this Jesus will have many more people believing in him. They’ll make him some sort of Deliverer. A … a messiah.”

“Some think he’s the Messiah.”

“That could be dangerous.”

“There would be an uprising. They will try to defeat the Occupation.”

“The Romans … they won’t take this lightly. There will be bloodshed. They’ll tighten their control—“

“And we’d be removed from our positions!”

“That … that would not do. For the sake of the people, of course.”

“We must stop this Jesus!”

A very deliberately audible groan from Caiaphas makes them all fall silent. His hand is on his forehead. “You’re all so stupid! Isn’t it obvious what we must do?” He stands, staring them down. “One man dies, and this uprising is no more. One man’s death, and our nation is spared destruction.” The priests warm up to what he’s implying. “He dies … and everyone is saved.”

Truer words have never been spoken, unbeknownst to him.

In the shadows, Death smiles.

It is all playing out as my Father said it would.

Now, more than ever…

…it has begun.

 

THE END?

 

This story is inspired by the eleventh chapter of the account of John Bar Zebedee on the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.

The John 11 Story: Love

<<INTROJohn 11_love 2

We were all refreshing ourselves – that’s me and the Twelve, and many of my other followers— by the banks of the Jordan. I love these guys. Many of them have left their families to follow me. Some have brought their whole families along to join us. These people received the words of life into their hearts like bread, and I hoped that they would digest it. Just like we were digesting the meal we were eating at that moment. And it was a very refreshing one, I remember, especially after hours of teaching.

Andrew brought a young man to me. “Master, this is Ethan,” he said. “He brings news from Mary and Martha in Bethany.”

I recognized Ethan from the brief times we spent in Bethany. “Peace be to you, Ethan.”

“And to you, Master.”

“All the way from Bethany? You must be exhausted from the journey—”

He shook his head, barely blinking. “Your people have been very kind to me, sir. But I could not eat now, even if I wanted to.”

I nodded. “And why would you not want to?” I noticed the shadow over his features. Andrew knew it too. He had mentioned only Mary and Martha. “And how is my good friend, Lazarus?”

Ethan looked up at me. “That’s why I’m here, Master. Lazarus, your friend, is terminally ill. He needs you. Master.”

And that was the moment. The moment that altered the rest of the week.

Lazarus…

With a word I could have healed him in that moment. Human logic and emotion required me to. I would have loved to. Lazarus. He has been a faithful man, taking care of his parents’ estate since their deaths. No ordinary suitor could take his sisters, not while he was around. And his generosity is overwhelming. His doors are always open to my disciples and I every time we pass through Bethany. Always willing to understand my teachings, Lazarus is a man I am glad to call my friend.

Healing him would bring joy to his sisters. They’ve been troubled long enough because of this sickness.

But…

But I am never alone in these matters. My Father and I go through them together. He knew what was going on. He knew when the foul spirit of sickness took my friend’s body, and His ears were not silent to his cries and those of his sisters. But He had a much better, much Bigger plan.

That was how I knew that Lazarus, my friend, would die.

But the story would not end there. Like I said, We had a Bigger plan:

We would raise Lazarus to life from the dead! 😀

It would be amazing. This would build faith on a grand scale. Especially for Lazarus. He would have a front row seat on Resurrection before most people would. How great his faith would be at the end of all this, for all to see!

This will turn the eyes of many up to my Father, a big boost to their faith. They will see how awesome He is, and what He can do; that He can do anything! They will believe in me, the one He has sent. And my disciples, people like Andrew and even Ethan too, will be stronger witnesses of me and the Life I have come to give.

In the end, this would be best for Lazarus.

But to Ethan, Lazarus was still sick. He still stood there, staring at me, waiting for a response.

“This sickness would not end in death,” I said to him. “But it will be an opportunity for everyone to see how awesome God is, and what He can do. And His Son will be glorified as well.”

“So … you’ll come and heal him then?”

I smiled. ‘Healing’ would not cut it. Just not in the way they were expecting. Ethan bowed and left with a finality, sure that Lazarus would be fine, wondering why I did not follow him.

Mary and Martha would not be pleased at first. Death has always brought pain and despair, especially to the families of those it takes. It would no doubt bring more here. We take no pleasure in that. I am here to bring an end to Death’s tyrannical rule over mankind. But until then, the pain would still linger.

I know there is a glorious end to these things, but the journey to that end would be painful for me and for my friends. For Mary and Martha.

But my Father loves them much more than any human could. The pain and disappointment this death could cause were temporary and inconsequential compared to the Greater Glory waiting beyond this. When God is glorified, what they’ll have is much better than if it were another healing. I loved him too much to settle for that. Something much greater awaited him. There’s a Bigger Picture here.

I love my friend, Lazarus.

And that’s why I waited and let him die…

…For a time.

 

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.]

Therefore [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.

JOHN 11:5, 6 (The Amplified Bible)

To be continued…in FAITH

 >> and HOPE