Engraved: Doubts

Usually the police didn’t declare a person missing until 48 hours but a friend from work, Phillip, noticed that he didn’t return after lunch. He called his cell but there was no response. He had tried his wife’s too but to no avail. Grace had abandoned her phone just like Sarah, meeting the same intrusion like her husband. He comforted himself by saying probably Malcom got the rest of the day off. When he left for the day, it was his shattered car glass in the parking lot that alarmed him. Phillip then called the police.

After analyzing the scene they deduced that he was kidnapped. The blood on the ground near driver’s door, the jagged piece of his jacket left behind and the stolen car keys. The cameras showing him being put in another car that sped off.

It was 7 pm when they arrived to question Grace. Just like the day when she didn’t look up at Malcolm under the tree, she didn’t look at the police men. Answering each emotionless. One of the men shot her look and then turned to his partner who understood. “What if she was involved?” he had said with his eyes.

They decided to keep a close watch on her. Sarah didn’t get a word out of her mother who walked zombie like to the ‘room’. Sarah’s heart flung violently against her chest, she wanted to say, “He doesn’t care,” but the ball in her throat wouldn’t allow it. Instead she tucked Ruth in even though it was early, all the crying made her tired anyway. She waited until she fell asleep. Sarah was headed to her room when Benjamin stopped her.

“It isn’t fair to keep me in the dark any longer.” He said.

He was right. Benjamin had always been more mature for his age. Sarah knew spending a lot of time with her father can do that to a person. He used the simplest things to teach them lessons. They had gone to the river to fish on a Saturday. It was right in the middle of summer. After the children splashing and the parents sitting on a rock nearby watching, they gathered for lunch.

“How did you know the river would be here today?” Malcolm asked. The children giggled at the question. They told him because they had come before. He continued to prod and asked why they thought the river couldn’t move. They were laughing now. “That’s not what rivers do.” Sarah had blurted out. “How do you know that? He challenged. Benjamin said according to the geography book he was reading, Sarah was right. Malcolm seemed pleased. “That is exactly How we learn to trust God, through his word.” He said finally, “Faith is the bridge to God. Without it we cannot reach him.”

Just as serious as her father looked then, Benjamin stared at her.

“Come in” she said.

She started slowly, pacing herself but somewhere between Rachel finding her and the knock on the door tonight, she lost herself, screaming her thoughts and her fears. Wishing for everything to go away, wishing for dad to come home, wishing uncle Ray had dropped dead, wishing she was never born. She only stopped when the words, “Not even God can help me,” flew out.

She placed her hands over her mouth when she realized, in her mind begging, not sure who, that Benjamin didn’t hear.

But he did, his bent head rose up and he looked in her eyes. Anger, disappointment and pity all mingled on his face.

Sarah cried even the more. “Now he knows I’m a hyprocrite,” she thought.

He held on to hands and said, “That’s a whole lot to carry in there,” pointing at her heart.

She barely heard him over her sobbs. Brushing back her tangled curls he pulled her in. As if getting some unspoken permission Sarah allowed her self to truly feel all the things that were bothering her. She found herself thumping the bed with the side of her fist and all her brother said was, “Yes, you can express that too, it’s ok.”

She said things but Benjamin couldn’t make it out, choking mid-sentences and sobbing even more at the mention of names. If the clock on her desk was right, she was weeping and shouting and thumping for an half an hour.

Bewildered, she slowly raised herself, greeted by Benjamin’s cologne now mingled with sweat. He got up and gave her small towel. She felt a little embarrassed but relieved. The ball that was on her throat was no longer there. Only a pounding of her left temple that happened whenever she cried.

When she calmed down enough, he said to her. “Your doubts don’t scare God Sarah. I don’t pretend to understand how any of this make sense. I sometimes get angry and confused too. But one thing I cannot deny, is the presence of a God. Nothing else makes sense without him.” He paused before continuing, “I am not worried Sarah that you doubt, I am only worried if you hide it from him.”

She felt like a five year old when she asked, “You mean, I can tell him about them, even if they persist longer than I want them to?”

Benjamin smiled and kissed her clamy forehead, “Yes, where else can you go?”

He left and Sarah never felt more hopeful. No where else promised any better. No where else had eternal hope. It was better to be broken in the hand of God than be broken by it.

The conversation sparked a new desire in her. She had remembered the phrase and looked up the story. Things might get rough, she may not understand why it all happened but one thing was true, the response of the disciples, “To whom shall we go, when thou hast the word of life?”

From there she went to read parts Job, Psalms, Lamentations, Hosea, Joseph’s life and finally Jesus in the Graden of Gethsemane. For once, she thought maybe there was something greater at work than her pain.

Road to Faith

None of us trusted God from birth. It was something we learned to do. For many of us it started from a place of doubt. Whilst others boast in having the gift of faith, people like me have to battle with doubt daily. They say faith comes by reading the word, I agree with that. I was just misguided that simply knowing it was enough. I know he is a provider but I still doubt he can. I know he is a healer but sicknesses usually make me anxious and feel hopeless. Maybe I was doing something wrong, maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Faith for me has become not a moment but a journey. It started with me accepting that I really don’t believe a promise but I tell God I desire to. I tell him, it has to be a work of his spirit because it is. There is only one requirement from me – surrender. Then in surrender, obedience is born. In my moments of doubts, my prerogative is not my feelings but my ability to endure. Who is in control? You or your feelings? You will only know the end of faith if you hold on to it.

A famous poet called Joe said in the perspective of God, “Before you doubt Me, doubt your doubts!” Why is it easier to believe what we see? Because we are human? Possibly, but also because we choose to believe it.

Our actions follow our real beliefs not the things we want to believe. Want to change your actions? Change what you believe. As a man thinketh, so is he. Or as a man believes, so he will do.

Perhaps you have been praying for a while about a particular circumstance. Perhaps, you fear God is not hearing or even cares. Niether of this is true. He cares more than you. What he wishes to do, is his choice, simply because he knows best. Until we can accept his sovereignty, we will never fully believe in him. Remember, you are precious.

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