Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Short Story from Photo Prompt

Credit: This photo was from a writer friend's (Victoria Lynn's) pinterest board. If anyone knows the original photographer, please let me know--I will remove it if so desired.

Psalm 22 was written about by a friend, and it fit just right into this story. To God be all glory. Hope this is a blessing to you, readers!

P.S. I'm sorry about the font changing back and forth from type to type. It won't let me change it all, for some reason.


Mornings had always been special to Delia.  She used to tiptoe down the stairs and out onto their dock, feet bare, nightgown trailing on the wood.  There were the mists that rose off the lake like friendly apparitions--not that she believed in ghosts.  The crickets chorused and the bluebirds sang, and the sun rose--bit by glorious bit--beyond the pine trees. She used to sway and smile with a song in her heart, if not warbling on her lips.

But today . . . today she only felt numb. Today she stood frozen, with hands weighed down in her pockets like rocks. Today she looked away from the sun, into the murky depths.

A ripple coursed below her--then two.  It wasn't raining--only her eyes were.  Let tears fall as they may, she remembered her mother's sweet voice saying. Only the voice sounded like a distant echo.  And the words she used to end with seemed hollower still: They can be cleansing, and God sees them all and puts them in His bottle.

Those words used to sound lovely. But where was God now? Watching and collecting specimen tears, like an indifferent bystander? Why didn't the warmth of the words come down into her heart?

The sun was higher now, warming her back. If only it could do the same for her heart. If only . . . 

If only Mom and Dad hadn't gone to the prayer meeting that night.  Or if only she had gone with them.

Delia squeezed her eyes shut till they hurt.


"Come with us to church."  The words were said so piteously, Delia almost felt sorry for her next-door neighbor, Mrs. Rowley.

Delia shook her head.  "I can't. Not this week."

Mrs. Rowley squeezed Delia's shoulder. "Perhaps next week. I'm praying for you," she added in a whisper.

Delia felt a buzz in her throat and eyes and blinked.  She nodded, waving to Mrs. Rowley and willing her into the blue sedan.

Mr. Rowley tottered along behind her, waving to Delia as he got into the car.

Delia lifted a few fingers in a wave and looked down, back to the newspaper on her lap.

Her parents names were in the obituaries. That had been paid for by her married brother, and he had swung by to give her the paper.  As if a newspaper obituary would sooth her. She hadn't even gotten past the front page, with its jarring headlines about politics and a bombing.

This world was beginning to feel to her like an old, giant pressure cooker with the settings messed up, popping and ready to explode, flinging everything across the room.

That's basically what it was, wasn't it? God was going to destroy it and roll it up and start again. And she would see her parents again. Wouldn't she?

That old question of her salvation, again. But it seemed more pertinent now than ever. Things weren't adding up to her. She wasn't reacting the way she should. She was doubting the goodness of God, the reason for living, for going to church, for trusting a God who one minute seemed kind and loving, and the next . . . an abusive Father.

She blinked back tears. That wasn't right, it couldn't be. That's how it felt, but she knew there was more to it.  There in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had sweat drops of blood, had cried in anguish. He had gone to the cross even still, knowing what He would suffer, knowing He would be a sacrificial Lamb that took the place of the people like her who deserved that death. 

Why, now, did her parents have to go through suffering after that car accident, lingering in bed for days with their injuries, then dying?

that fair, God?

Shame burned her stomach. She shouldn't ask that question. Her mind grappled for words--Scripture words, God's holy Word.  There were many, but they were jumbled up in her mind.

She tossed the newspaper down and went inside to retrieve her Bible.

This Book, taught and believed by her parents, had sat under her bedside table for the last few weeks--or was it months? Not that she had stopped thinking about God or His Word, but there was no closeness anymore. She winced as she traced her finger through a layer of dust on the Bible cover.

Now where to start?  She opened it toward the middle, to her favorite book of Psalms.

After a bit of aimless flipping, her eyes fell on Psalm 22. 

'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'

Her heart clenched. God the Son had truly been forsaken at that moment on the cross by God the Father! She read on.

'Why are You so far from helping Me,

And from the words of My groaning?
O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.'

Tears blurred her vision. This was her feeling, but One had gone beyond her own hurt before . . . and He did it for her?  So that she could be called a daughter?

Oh, God, forgive me! I am hurt, but am not forsaken. I have all but forsaken You in my thoughts and actions!

A few pages later, these words shot out at her:

'Do not hide Your face from me;

Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.'

David had felt the emptiness, too, and yet penned these words, and:

'Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!'

A verse memorized long ago came to mind: 'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.'

She would wait. She would seek. And the Lord, in His uniquely loving way, would take care of her.

1 comment:

Diwakar said...

Hello Malissa. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you as a child of God. I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I enjoyed your post on Short story from Photo Prompt. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 38 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have you come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have you come with your friends to Mumbai to work with us during your vacation time. I am sure you will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede.