From Ohio, God brought me out of my old life (a wilderness without Jesus) and round about my transient life He brought me to Bible college.
Continued from The Coming Out
A Curious Moment
On their way to the hospital to visit that stalker, Jessi, turning to the policeman, asked, "Sergeant, we're just curious, but could you tell us how you found that man, and where?"
"Well," taking a deep breath the sergeant commenced his story. "I suppose I could without naming the one who led us to him. Remember, he wishes to remain anonymous."
"Yes, we know, and we won't pry it out of you," Jessi assured. Thomas-John nodded in agreement.
"It was really quite interesting and amazing," the sergeant said, "how he was brought to us. I'm sure you remember that first incident that started the whole thing."
"Yeah," both Jessi and Thomas-John acknowledged, recalling that horrific night they'd wished to forget.
"That one who brought your stalker to us apparently knew the story of that night," the sergeant began.
It was a chilly evening, clouds stretched out over the starlit sky. A police car pulled to a stop along a curb just before those familiar rainbow arches of that Donohue's restaurant, the car's flashing blue lights now turned off. It was a less populated area in the city, yet well illuminated with those pinkish streetlights. An ambulance pulled up behind the police car. Exiting their car, the police officers walked back to the ambulance to discuss further with the paramedics their plan of action.
"As we were told," one officer said, "A '56 red and white T'bird is parked behind Donoue's there," he pointed to the restaurant.
"It was an accident, was it?" asked a paramedic.
"No. We were informed that a suspected fugitive had been caught and is being turned over to us. This is where we're to meet him."
"What are we here for then?" asked the other paramedic.
"That fugitive is said to be very ill," the officer explained. "We want you to take him straight to the hospital, he being in custody."
The other officer spoke with a warning, "Now, we just don't know how bad off that guy actually is, or even if this just isn't a trap of some sort. We need to proceed with caution. Let's head in carefully therefore with that in mind."
The police officers then returned to their car. Starting the engine, they proceeded to turn into the restaurant's parking lot, driving around back to where that T'bird was said to be.
The ambulance followed not far behind. Nearing that red and white '56 T'bird, they noticed someone leaving the car. Stepping into the shadows, his face was unrecognizable. He motioned for the policemen to come on. They moved in with caution, their guns were drawn. "Keep your hands where we can see them," they demanded.
"You can put away your guns," the man said with raised arms. "My report I'd sent you is true. He's not about to resist you, neither am I. He's quite ill and weak. Just get those paramedics here and get him to the hospital. That's what I promised him, to get him to a doctor."
Opening the passenger side of the T'bird, a thin, disheveled, middle-aged man was slumped in the seat, breathing heavily. The paramedics rushed to him. With much care, yet hurriedly, they removed him from the car, laying him down on a stretcher. Getting him situated in the ambulance, they rushed him to the nearest hospital.
The policeman remained at that Donohue's momentarily, gathering for their report the necessary information from the driver of the T'bird. "You have a reward coming, you know, for turning him in," they reminded.
"Yes, but please, I'd would like that money go to that girl he was after," the man said. "And please, keep my name out of it."
"That was his wish," the sergeant said to Jessi and Thomas-John, concluding his story. "Quite ironic, isn't it? Behind that Donohue's, the place where it all started, ended there as well."
Jessi sighed at the hearing of that story, then after a silent moment, she expressed her heart's concern, "Oh, how it pains me to see how some people think they can live without seemingly any awareness of Elohim in their lives – trying to get along in their own way, even the best they can without Him, doing their thing their way. If they only knew that He has a better plan for them. Oh, how it must pain Elohim's heart to see how people live in this world, astray from Him. That ‘Cops' program on TV I've watched occasionally is very heartbreaking," Jessi then recalling. Turning to the sergeant, she asked, "You must have seen that show, I'm sure, haven't you?"
"Oh, sure," the sergeant answered. "I'm sure many on the force watch it as well. For policemen, it may indeed be a favorite program. I'm sure you can guess the reason why."
"But, Sir," Jessi continued after a moment's pause, "Whenever I watch that program my heart goes out so to those who do the wrong, I guess because they think they can get away with their own desire for something more, even though they know what they want or how they get it is illegal. I guess what I'm saying is that I love the ‘sinner,' but hate their sin, as Elohim does. Yet, too, I realize their punishment is what they deserve, they bring it on themselves."
"Yes," the sergeant said, "It is from their own lust and greed for more, and to have it their way, that gives them such cravings. It, too, as you know, I'm sure, is of the evil one who entices them to do such things; he has them so snuggly wrapped up in his web of deceit. I, too, being a believer, Miss Whitcombe and Mr. Melleson, join with you in your compassion."
Jessi then, resting her head on Thomas-John's shoulder, was encouraged, reflecting on another session of Grammy's Bible reading times. What a blessing those times were to her through her childhood!
Another Childhood Reminiscence
Young Timothy and Jessi were perched on their favorite position, readying themselves for another imagined adventure as Grammy O'Brien read to them again from that old, worn well-read Bible of hers.
Standing amidst a crowd just outside Jerusalem, Timothy and Jessi met again their friend Josiah, who was with them in previous adventures.
"Josiah," Jessi inquired, "What's going on?
"Jesus is coming," Josiah answered. "And here He comes, on that donkey which His disciples borrowed from one in the village of Bethphage, as He had asked them too." Josiah pointed. "All along the route people, lining the road, welcomed Him as their king. Listen, catch what they are saying."
Silence for a moment, as the children listened to the shouting crowd, some spreading their coats along the road, others waving palm branches then spreading them along the road as well. The crowd shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! "Hosanna in the highest!"
But then as Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city was in an uproar, asking, "Who is He?"
"This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee," the crowd answered.
"Come," Josiah said to Timothy and Jessi, "Let's follow Him."
The children followed, as did others in the crowd, following Him into the temple courtyard. Something then amazing appeared of Him they had not seen before. Angered at the sight of those selling and buying there, He went about overturning the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. "My house will be called a house of prayer," He spoke, "But you have made it into a den of robbers."
The blind and the lame came to Jesus and He healed them, yet when the chief priests and scribes saw the miracles He had done and heard the shouting of the children, " Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were irritated. "Do you hear what these children are saying?"
Jesus, knowing it indeed, replied, "It is written, ‘From the mouths of little children and infants, you have created praise'."
Jessi and Timothy with Josiah then followed Jesus out of Jerusalem to Bethany where He spent the night. The next morning, Jesus returning to the city, was hungry. Seeing a fig tree with nothing on it but leaves, He said, "May fruit never grow on you again!" To the astonishment of His disciples, the fig tree dried up at once.
"How did that happen so quickly?" the disciples asked.
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "If you have faith and do not doubt you, too, will be able to do what I did, even say to this mountain to be uprooted and thrown into the sea."
As Grammy continued her story, the children saw and heard Jesus too, through their imagination, tell His stories, teaching the people the truths of His Kingdom. (One in particular as Jessi recalled just now focused on the return of the Son of Man in His glory.)
Here He comes and all His angels are with Him. There they see Him in radiant apparel sitting on His glorious throne, people from every nation gathered before Him. He then separates them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats when it comes time for shearing, the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left.
"Come," the King will say to those on His right, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I needed clothing and you clothed me. I was sick and in prison and you visited me."
The people then will ask Him, "Lord, when did we see you needy in these ways and when did we help you"
The King will then answer, "In as much as you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me…"
At the Hospital
"Ah," the sergeant said, turning in at the Emergency entrance of the hospital. "Here we are. Now you'll get your chance to meet your stalker. Are you scared?"
"Perhaps a little," Jessi answered. "But more so a little uncertain as to what to say when we do meet him. But Elohim will give us the words when the moment arrives." As the three entered the hospital, the words to a praise song ran through Jessi's head, appropriate for this moment in time as she looked to her Jesus for the strength she would need to greet this enemy "head on."
Standing outside the hospital room of Jessi's now arrested stalker, a police officer greeted Jessi and Thomas-John arriving with the accompanying sergeant. "Everything okay, Joe?" asked the sergeant.
"Yes, Sir. He's resting quite calmly, yet he may be deteriorating, according to reports I hear from the doctors and nurses."
The sergeant with Jessi and Thomas-John then entered the room. That steady beep of the life support machines was familiar to Jessi, she recalled her visit with Mr. Nicholas. She and Thomas-John approached the bed where that stalker lay. A nurse was nearby. "He has lapsed into a coma," she said. "Are you relatives?"
"No," the sergeant answered, "But they have permission to visit him. They're his current victims."
"Oh," the nurse said curiously. "What do you have in mind?"
"We just want to talk to him, nothing else, really," Jessi answered. The police sergeant confirmed their intentions to the nurse with a nod.
"Well," returned the nurse. "I don't know how much he'll grasp in his present condition." She stepped away. Thomas-John and Jessi drew near the bed, he on one side, Jessi on the other.
"Except for the missing long, straggly hair, and he being rather thin," Thomas-John commented, "He looks much the same on that night we first met him in that Donohue's parking lot."
He then noticed a familiar book on the side table. Picking it up, he thumbed through the pages, becoming startled when he arrived at the last page. "Jessi, look here." Jessi saw the book Thomas-John held before her. "I Saw Two Worlds," she said, reading the title.
"This is the book I shared with Alex that day, the exact copy, the one he snatched from my hand before he ran off in anger. Look at the last page." Jessi noticed on that last page was a prayer of invitation to receive Christ into one's life. She had seen that it was indeed signed and dated by Alex, simply as A.G.J. – Alex.
"How did he get it?" Thomas-John asked, turning toward that man in the bed. Both Jessi and Thomas-John were amazingly curious.
Jessi then lowered herself toward the man. "Mister," she began. "Sir, I don't know you, except for what you've been trying to do to me. I don't even know your name, but Elohim does. He knows everything about you, inside and out. He knows all the wrong you've done. But you know something," She paused momentarily, looking up at Thomas-John.
She then continued, acknowledging Thomas-John's approval as to what she was about to say, "Elohim still loves you, Sir. He always has." I wonder if you can hear me? She thought, and then continued, "Elohim is willing to forgive you, and give you a fresh start in life. He has a better plan for your life if you would only confess your wrongs and turn to Jesus. He promises a new life now and for all eternity with Him." Jessi paused again, then finally spoke, "Mister, as Elohim will forgive you, I too…" she glanced at Thomas-John, then, "We forgive you for how you have wronged us."
Thomas-John then bending down toward that man also spoke, assuredly, "Yes, we forgive you."
Then straightening up Thomas-John reached out for Jessi's hand over that man lying in bed, thinking there was nothing more they could do or say. Jessi grasped Thomas-John's hand. Together they walked toward the door of that hospital room. Jessi's eyes were glassy, tear-swollen; Thomas-John, too, emotional, yet unsure if that man, that former stalker, had taken in the words they had spoken so lovingly and caring to him. As they left that room together, another one of Grammy's Bible reading times flashed across Jessi's memory.
A Surprise Flash Across Jessi’s Memory
Timothy and Jessi were perched on that ottoman in front of Grammy sitting in her wingback chair, their most favorite position for Grammy's Bible reading times. As Grammy read, the two stood fast. Through Jessi's imagination they were looking up at those three crosses on that hill called "Calvary," their eyes, swollen by tears, were fixed on the center cross where hung the person called "Jesus." The crosses on the left and right of that center cross hung two criminals. One, hurling abuse at Jesus, exclaimed, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."
The other criminal rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear Elohim since we are under the same sentence of blame? We indeed are getting what we deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then, turning to Jesus, he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "This day you will be with me in Paradise."
Timothy and Jessi gasped at hearing Jesus' last words. After he tasted the vinegar wine the Roman soldier offered him, Jesus said, "It is finished."
His head having then bowed, He gave up His spirit. As tears poured down their faces, the heavens, too, opened up and the rain poured out upon the earth, lightning flashed, thunder roared, the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Jesus' body, soon taken down from the cross, was prepared for burial and laid in a borrowed tomb; a stone was rolled in front of it; on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave.
Not too many days hence, a crowd of people gathered at a place called Bethany. Jesus stood, alive and well, on a hill before them. Standing there, young adult Jessi felt a hand slip into hers. Turning to her right she gasped, being startled, seeing another her age, with those shimmering blue eyes, next to her. Yet, it wasn't Timothy she noticed. She then exclaimed pleasantly, "Thomas-John, what are you doing here?"
"Shh," he whispered, "He's beginning to speak," Thomas-John glanced toward Jesus.
"I am now returning to my Father in Heaven," Jesus began, "But I will not leave you without comfort. After a few days, you will get a fresh sense of my presence when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. He will empower you to be my witnesses, my light bearers, to carry the light of my Truth to the ends of the earth. Remember, as Elohim has sent me into this physical world, even so, I am sending you."
After He had spoken, He was lifted up, the people looking on, upward toward the heavens, the sun spreading its golden rays across that partly cloudy blue sky. Thomas-John and Jessi, too, watched as a cloud received Jesus out of their sight. From their own Bible reading, Thomas-John and Jessi then recalled the angel's words to the people, "This same Jesus will so come again as you have watched Him go into heaven."
Their arms around one another in exiting the hospital, Thomas-John's heart swelled with joy that Elohim brought Jessi into his life, momentarily envisioning their lives together as a couple. Children, too, would come for sure, and raised in the context of the Kingdom of Elohim, as their parents have raised them. Not being raised by a village of humankind, where moth, rust, and pride – the "I-did-my-way" mentality – exist. Such only corrupts and destroys, and thieves can break in and steal, stealing not just the temporal, material desires, but condemning immortal souls into the fiery darkness.
Outside the hospital, a gentle breeze was blowing through the blue Mid-Central sky. Facing one another, they momentarily embraced; Thomas-John gently wiped the tears from his girl's eyes.
Foiled in his evil scheme to do in these faithful children of Elohim, that evil one aspiring that hateful glare slammed shut his book of destruction. He realized his head had been crushed, through the rising of Jesus from the dead, as was predicted would happen from the very beginning. With nothing more he could do, he vanished into oblivion.
Consider beginning again at Preface and Prologue
© 2018 Charles O Newcombe