Wounded locked the door. He stood back and looked at his home. Sovereign Movers had just pulled away with all their belongings.
I’m glad they’re gone, he thought. I saw the looks on their faces when I got frustrated and yelled at Cherished this morning.
He couldn’t stop the scene from replaying in his mind: Grace went outside to swing.
He yelled, “Grace, get in here.”
Cherished walked up behind him. “Dad, stop yelling at her. She’s doing what I told her.”
Cherished was mature beyond her years. She understood Grace and knew how to help her. Wounded did not. He just seemed angry.
“Well, I don’t want her outside right now,” Wounded yelled.
“Dad, why do you do this to me when you know mom told me to watch Grace while you help the movers?”
“Because I’m her dad,” he yelled just as movers came back in the house to get more boxes. “I want her in the house.” He was certain he saw looks of disapproval on the movers’ faces.
“No, dad. She’s too upset with all the changes. Seeing strangers come and take our stuff out makes it worse. I need to work with her out here!”
Cherished prayed quietly, “Yeshua, HELP!”
Wounded was getting angrier by the minute.
He bellowed, “Well, I…”
“Hello?” A woman’s voice came from the kitchen door. Wounded spun around. He saw a tall woman in a Kingdom Security Guard uniform.
The woman said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. The door was open and I knocked, but you didn’t hear me.”
She approached Wounded with her hand outstretched. “My name is Seraphina. Yeshua sent me to take the kids to see Mercy. She misses them.”
Cherished jumped at her chance. “Yes, thank you. We’re almost ready. Come on, Grace. Let’s go see mom!” She took Grace by the hand and went to gather a few things.
Wounded thought, Did she know about this?
“Alright then,” Seraphina said. “I saw Warrior outside, so I’ll go let him know what we’re doing.” She grasped Wounded’s hand again and gave it a firm shake. “It was nice to meet you,” and out the door she went.
Cherished sprinted through the room with a couple of bags on one arm and Grace by the hand.
“Bye, dad. See you at the hospital,” and they were gone.
Wounded dropped his keys, which brought him back to the moment at hand. He picked them up and walked to the car.
He drove away in Mercy’s little green Geo. Under his breath he grumbled, “Mercy said she loved this house, but she sure gave it up fast.”
He heard a strange noise but paid no attention, because a piercing sadness slashed at his soul. Is there any room for me in this family anymore? What about what I want?
He started driving through town.
My plan was to move from One Difficulty to More. Not to Privileged. But, when Yeshua invited us, for some reason I just couldn’t say, “No.” Mercy and the kids are on the way there, so I guess that’s what we’re doing…but I’m not sure I like it.
He drove past Melancholy Park. I like fishing there. Then a horrible thought hit him, I don’t know if there’s a good place to fish in Privileged. I like this idea less and less all the time.
He drove past Supply It Yourself Grocers on the outskirts of town. Well, that’s one place I won’t miss. Their service stinks.
The scene of his argument with Cherished began to replay again. He thought about Grace. Autism, he thought. What kind of God would allow this to happen to my little girl? He shut the thought out like he had done so many times. I need music. He turned his head to see if the CD he bought that morning was on the passenger seat.
He heard squealing tires, looked up and caught a glimpse of the driver in a car that sped out from the road on his right and broadsided him. He slammed on the brake, spun out of control across the road, off the shoulder and landed in some brush.
Wounded was stunned. He shook his head and assessed the situation. He wasn’t hurt, but his foot was stuck under the brake pedal. He looked for his cell phone and couldn’t find it. Suddenly, it dawned on him. The noise he heard…his cell phone…he must have left it on the roof of the car.
Great. I can’t get out. I can’t call out…and no one is gonna see me in this stupid little green car hidden in this stupid brush now that it’s getting dark!
He slammed his fists on the steering wheel. God, huh? Yeah, He’s a great help! Yeshua’s got my family and I’m stuck here alone! Why does He do things like this to me? Does He want to punish me? Am I cursed? Why does He hate me?
He beat on the steering wheel until he was exhausted. Then the thoughts came…all the thoughts he refused to face began racing through his mind over and over again.
What kind of God would let people suffer? Let children suffer? A loving God? Ha!
What kind of God would let my family suffer? There are lots of other families that don’t suffer the way we do. It’s not fair!
What kind of God would let me suffer? What did I do? I’m not perfect, but I want a place in my family. I’m the dad. I’m supposed to provide. I’m supposed to protect. How do you protect your two-year-old daughter from losing her language or from seizures? Why couldn’t I spare my family from the hard times we’ve had?
Finally, he cried out in agony, “Alright, God, what do You want from me?”
A light shone in his eyes and a voice called his name, “Mr. Heart?”
Every nerve in his body stood on edge. “Ummm…Yes?”
“Mr. Heart, are you there?”
He recognized the voice. No. It couldn’t be…could it? Do I want His help? He tried again to free himself, but couldn’t. Like it or not, I need His help.
He yelled, “Yes, I’m here!” He heard footsteps. The door opened.
“You’ve got yourself in quite a mess here; but don’t worry. I’ll help you.”
Wounded exclaimed, “Oh, thank God!”
“You’re welcome,” Yeshua replied and began working to set Wounded free.
Wounded blushed and felt horrible for the thoughts he’d had about Yeshua. If He knew, He probably wouldn’t help me.
“Oh, I know,” said Yeshua, “and yet, here I am. I’d like to take this opportunity to answer your question. ‘What do I want from you?’ Well, I’ll tell you. I want you to stop applying the brakes.”
Wounded was baffled. “Huh?”
“Applying the brakes at the wrong time can cause your foot to slip and get stuck. Hmmm…let’s put this in your language: football. I am the Quarterback of your family. I decide what play we use. You are the receiver. I throw you the ball, you catch it, and help your family score a touchdown.”
Yeshua continued, “We’ve got two problems: sometimes, especially lately, you don’t even go out for the pass; and when you do, instead of helping your family get the touchdown, you step out of bounds and stop the clock. You are applying the brakes. You see?”
Wounded was angry. “You give me plays I can’t execute and I fail in front of everyone!”
“Good! That’s part of the strategy.”
Wounded snapped, “What? You make me look like an idiot in front of the whole world – my whole world?”
“No,” Yeshua said softly, “You do that yourself when you don’t execute the play I give you. I have never given you a play to execute in your own strength, because the glory of success does not belong to you. It belongs to the team’s owner: Abba.”
Wounded tried to think of something to say to defend himself, but he was speechless.
“There,” said Yeshua as he removed the brake pedal.
Wounded pulled his foot back. “Thank You,” he said with a sigh. He got out of the car and stretched. I wonder how long I would have been stuck here if He hadn’t helped me?
“You’re welcome. Are you hurt?”
Wounded blushed. “Just my pride.”
Yeshua said, “You must be hungry and I’d like to continue our discussion about football. Since the sun is now rising, I’d love to take you to breakfast.”
“I’d like that,” Wounded replied. “I guess I need Your help more than I ever realized and I…I…want…Your help.”
Yeshua beamed. “Wonderful! Let’s go.”