Monday, March 19, 2018

The Heart of the Father -1st Place

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

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The Bible fell open at a verse in Malachi. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. The words were alive and full of hope … and then the teenager noticed the letter that bookmarked the page; noticed the familiar writing with loops and flourishes. Heart racing she began to read. My dearest Tiffany, words could never express how sorry I am, how much I love you …

The man opened the door to see a young woman, filthy and worn, heavily pregnant, clutching a Bible.
The teenager watched his face, saw the bloom of recognition … the blossoming of joy … the warmth of love and acceptance. A smile trembled on her lips as she took a step towards him. “I got your letter, Dad.”

He pulled her close, tears mingling, prayers scattering as God fulfilled His promise.

The man’s study was trashed; papers everywhere and gaps where his technology had been. The shock was a physical blow. “How could You let this happen, Lord! Haven’t I suffered enough? Laptop, cell phone, camera – they’ve taken it all. And just before Christmas.”

The teenager looked a decade older than she was. Strands of oily hair fell over thin shoulders and her belly was distended like a ripe watermelon. Her clothes were stained with life and her body reeked. “What if he throws me out?” she whispered. “What if he won’t take me back?”

The man slammed a fist onto his desk. “They’ve even taken my Bible, God!” He sank into a chair, his anger volcanic.
“It’s almost a year since Tiffany ran away and now this? Surely You could have stopped the thieves?”
Lamps spilled cones of yellow light across the park and trees flashed and sparkled. It was just as she remembered it last Christmas: children clustered around the nativity display and carols drifting on frozen air. She wandered over to the stable and peered at the baby in the manger. Had Mary had a difficult pregnancy? Had people questioned who the father of her child was? Had she hung onto the promise of a son who would save the world from their sins?

A groan struggled from the man’s soul. “My letter to Tiffany. It was in the Bible.” He closed his eyes thinking of the lines of regret and repentance, his pleas for forgiveness. “I don’t want anyone reading that, God. It’s too personal, too private.”

A quiet voice whispered inside. Will you trust me to turn all things to good?

Light snow laced the shadows as she moved towards a bench in the distance. Dark trees waved overhead and Christmas festivities continued in the distance. “I know You’ve forgiven me, Lord, but what if Dad can’t? I’m so ashamed of what I’ve done. Maybe I should just go back to the city.” She lay down on the bench and was trying to find a comfortable way to lie when she noticed a box under the trees. There were some papers inside and a Bible.
The man wiped tears from his eyes. “Help me to trust, Lord. Help me to believe your promise that Tiffany will come home. Wherever she is tonight, let her feel assured of my love.”

Scripture from Malachi 4:6 NAS

Debbie Roome

Debbie Roome was born and raised in Zimbabwe and later spent fifteen years in South Africa. In 2006 she moved to New Zealand with her husband and five children. Writing has been her passion since the age of six and she loves to write stories that touch people’s lives and turn them towards God. Her recent writing achievements include the publication of her first novel, Embracing Change, in September 2010 and placing second in the Faithwriter’s Page Turner Competition in December 2010.
Author of Embracing Change

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