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    Entries in redemption (2)


    Sanctity of Life--ANY Life?

     *However, while the war was no longer beating against the confines of their shelter, it raged stronger than ever inside the minds of those surrounding Rapha.  Adam’s struggle was understandable as he strove to support his wife, stroking the hair from her brow even as he struggled against feelings of revulsion toward the babe in his arms, the perfectly formed, eerily aware baby boy that gazed with innocence from thick-lashed eyes of prismatic beauty.  The iridescent glow was unmistakable.  He had his father’s eyes.

    But even greater than Adam’s struggle was the storm raging in Kal.  The little man was going through the motions of wiping the baby in his arms clean with water-soaked clumps of wool and preparing to wrap it in woolen strips set aside for that purpose, but his mind was tortured. 

    The sight of Eve’s distress during birth, the blood, gore and newborn wails, were bringing forth horrific memories for Kal.  The man’s protruding eyes stared down at the babe in his arms, but he was living another moment:  the beloved Eliana in travail, his own baby in his arms.

    Rapha was pulled into Kal’s emotional sphere even as he completed the stitches on Eve, cleansed the site one last time and added a light poultice of herbs to strengthen and protect the vulnerable wound. 

    Now he must tend the babys’ cords, cut them short and burn the end to staunch the flow of blood.  After heating the sacrificial knife Rapha stepped toward Kal.

    Horror and fear flooded Kal’s features as he leapt to turn his back to Rapha, his bent body forming a living shield for the newborn in his arms.  “No!  It is not his fault!  You will not harm him!”

    Rapha reassured Kal.  “No, my friend.  I will merely burn the severed cord.  No harm will come to him.”

    Kal’s hands remained ready to intervene as the blankets were parted and the glowing knife approached.  When the scent of burned flesh assaulted his nose, the stoic warrior succumbed to his darkest nightmare.  Rapha tossed the knife back into the fire in the center of their shelter just in time to catch Kal’s crumpling form. 

    Smoke everywhere.  Flickering shadows and a sickening scent of burning herbs…the smell made his head heavy while something in his heart fought the sensation.  His heart.  It was his heart he cradled against his breast.  He was handing her over.  No!  He must snatch her back from them, from the men with their flowing robes and noble faces that flickered in the wafting fumes to become hideous, grasping beasts, licking their lips, eager for a kill.

    When Kal came to, he was on his back outside the shelter with a cold rain lashing his face and Rapha’s concerned expression above him.

    Panic once more flooded in.  “Where is the baby?  What have you done?”

    “Both the babies are with Adam.  All is well.”  Rapha’s hand was on Kal’s shoulder. “No, do not rise.  You… fell over.”

    Kal leapt to his feet.  “Ugh!  A great lot of help I am!  Get in there and tend Eve.  I am fine!” 

    Rapha, noting the pounding vein in Kal’s temple and his trembling hands, knew this statement was far from true.  “Of course,” Rapha said as he stepped back inside the shelter’s heavy animal skin doorway. 

    But Kal’s memories continued to asail Rapha’s mind and he peeked out just in time to see Kal sink to his knees, knobby hands covering his face.

    With a quick invocation of Adonai’s peace, Rapha had to train his thoughts once more on the newborns... and their parents. 

    So much balanced on the knife’s edge of that moment.  Eve’s life hung by a fragile thread and, as Rapha continued his ministrations to her, he felt the turmoil in Adam’s heart. 

    There the young man stood, cradling the spawn of his enemy in his arms, his face a mask of fear, revulsion and, remarkably, pity. 

    “I cannot,” Adam gasped, “Please, Adonai, do not ask it of me.”

    Rapha did not need to ask what the Almighty required.  The words were pounding through his frame as well. 

    Adam, with dark circles under his eyes and Eve’s blood yet staining his garment, spoke Adonai’s directive, though each word ripped through his lips as if composed of flaming thorns.

    “Teach them My ways.  Love them with My love.  Nourish, cherish, and instruct them as your own flesh.”

    Soon, Eve revived enough to reach for the babies and Adam took them to her.  With coos of adoration she snuggled them close with an unquestioning maternal instinct.  Even the second-born babe responded well, grasping to a fold of her robe and drinking deep with an expression of bliss. 

    Physically, it appeared, all would thrive.  But Rapha needed no divination to know their struggle had just begun.


    *Excerpt of THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) from the chapter titled "Birth"


    Do two wrongs make a right?  How about when the offspring in question is, literally, the spawn of the devil?

    This is the quandary of Adam as he holds Eve’s newborn child in his arms.  How can Adonai ask this of him?  Wouldn’t it fix the problem to just undo it?

    But God sees beyond the immediate circumstance.  To perpetrate another evil in order to counteract evil is not the answer. 

    However, we can see the future in this case.  We know from the biblical record that one of these babies will grow up and kill the other—the famous Cain and Abel story of the Bible’s first recorded murder.  So why didn’t God have Adam do the deed with proactive justice?

    And why would God encourage mercy at this juncture then bring a flood later to wipe out everyone on the face of the earth besides one man and his family?  These are valid questions without simple answers.

    These issues and more will be addressed in future posts (can you say “Pandora’s box?).  Suffice it to say for today’s discussion, the urge to “be our own god” is at the root of our world’s ills.  When we put our will and limited understanding ahead of submitting to God’s higher knowledge and fathomless love, evil wins.

    I could easily venture into the controversial waters of abortion and sanctity of life but I think my views are evident on that matter.

    However, what of those who lived?  What of those walking around today who feel unloved, unwanted and perhaps are even convinced they are a mistake?  What does God say? 

    Just know this.  God’s heart of love overflows for you regardless of the labels or experiences you’ve endured.  No, it is not God’s will for a child to be conceived out of wedlock, for a child to have to endure debilitating deformities, for a baby to be conceived through rape or incest or any other of a number of painful ways to begin life.  But even if those are the circumstances in which you were brought into this world, God’s message to you is one of love, grace, healing and redemption.

    Redemption is a strange word to our ears today.  Simply put, redemption is to make exchange or to “deliver by the payment of a ransom.”  Before you were born, God loved you and saw you as worthy of ransom.  Don’t ever believe or let anyone convince you of worthlessness.  When God looks at you, he sees a child worth living and dying for; a precious life worth Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  Jesus’ blood on the cross—literally the most precious substance in all history—was paid to ransom you. 

    That’s your worth. 

    God is reaching for you.  Please reach back.

    Chana is wife, mom of four and author of several novels--most of which are not available... yet.  Her first to make it out of the chutes is THE FALL, a biblical retelling of ancient times through the eyes of an angel who was once best friends with Lucifer.  She brakes for homemade cookies, Jane Austen and old barns. Reading a Jane Austen novel while munching cookies in an old barn--paradise.  Please check out the special holiday offer of THE FALL for only $8!  Click the link at the top of the page.


    22-Rapha's Moment With HIM

    (THE FALL, Ch. 4, pp42-45)

    Lucifer’s voice was in his ear.  “Ooh, you’re in trouble now.  Wait ‘til Daddy hears about this.”  Reaching toward the mound of dead and dying, Lucifer plucked up a tiny, struggling rabbit.  Too late, Rapha realized his intent and fought against invisible bonds as, with one sharp twist, Lucifer detached one of the rabbit’s legs, relishing its pain-filled shriek and Rapha’s mute struggle. 

    “This is a momentous occasion.  A proud angel is taught humility.”  Lucifer squatted beside Rapha and shoved the writhing bunny into his face.  “Take note little beast.  This is the first to shed innocent blood in Adonai’s new world.”  With a gentle caress, he held the mangled creature close.  Then, gazing into Rapha’s eyes, he squeezed tighter and tighter, his gaze never wavering through the cracking of tiny bones and terrified shrieks until, finally, the mound of fur ceased twitching. 

    Lucifer tossed the limp form into Rapha’s face, then brought forth the severed leg and pressed it against the angel’s mouth.  “Here.  Kiss it.  Perhaps it will bring me luck.”

    As Lucifer stood to leave, Rapha felt his body and tongue released but had no will to fight.  With the blood still warm on his lips and proof of his foolishness displayed before him, he remained kneeling, his spirit as broken as the animals’ bodies.

    “Remember this position,” Lucifer stated from above.  “I know I will.”

    With that, Rapha was once more alone atop the mountain.  If not for the suffering before him, he might have crawled away in shame.  Even with countless years of experiencing Adonai’s fathomless love, his faith in the face of such guilt failed.  But he could not abandon the innocence he had helped to crush. 

    “Please, Adonai,” he whispered, “come and heal.”

    At first, the only difference was a new scent.  Instead of the metallic smell of blood, there was a fragrance of sweet, honey-filled blooms and a particular type of fruit that grew only before Adonai’s throne.  All was borne on a breeze of such unreasonable love that Rapha felt he could slip into glorious delirium if he took one deep breath.  As it was, he kept his breathing shallow.   He was unworthy of such a gift.

    Then someone touched his shoulder.  Warmth flooded his being and the sweet scent took physical form in his mouth, becoming the purest nectar that flowed over his tongue.  But the bitterness of guilt welled up to repel this glorious intruder.

    “Please,” a soft voice with the magnitude of a surging ocean spoke, “To heal them, you must first be healed.”

    The kindness of that voice was a wedge to the vault of his pain.  A trickle of purity slipped inside exposing the venom that sought to infiltrate every fiber of his being.  The deep shadows were no match for that piercing light.   Yet still Rapha resisted.  He did not deserve absolution, much less this absolute bliss offered freely to his tortured soul.  Besides, there was a question to be answered.

    With his head still bowed, Rapha asked, “I sense the presence of Adonai, but He cannot dwell with impurity.  Who are you?”

    Rather than words, Rapha heard the most unexpected sound.  Laughter.  With a warm updraft the soil sighed, a flock of graceful birds took flight, the branches of surrounding trees waved as if applauding and, deep underground, Rapha felt the murmur of earth’s bones straining closer.  Even the whimpers of the suffering animals hushed.  Surprised, Rapha looked up.

    It was the man who had offered restoration to Lucifer so long ago before Adonai’s throne.  In contrast to Lucifer’s glory, the man bore a rough garment and unremarkable features.  However, Rapha sensed distilled power as if the sun’s radiation were compressed into an earthen vessel.  Rapha’s sadness and guilt could not exist before those eyes that peered unhindered into the core of his being and pulsed with delight.  The power was soft and malleable, like water, trickling into every hidden place but capable of breaking the proudest rock with its patient assault.

    As a mother might tend a messy child, the stranger lifted the edge of his sleeve to Rapha’s mouth and wiped away the blood.  Rapha blinked in amazement as the garment absorbed the stain, leaving only snowy whiteness in its wake.

    His senses probed into fathomless confidence and unbreakable love.  Questions pulled at his mind but they too bowed, swallowed in this One who embodied the meaning of all things. 

    The familiar stranger breathed across the animals.  One by one every wound healed and the shy creatures crept forward to nuzzle, perch, scamper, and slither to their heart’s delight.  Once again, creation was gifted with His laughter.  This time Rapha, awed that his failure was transformed into this moment of joy, also laughed.

    He stared in wonder at the humble, human profile that contained the sum of Adonai’s character, discovering delight in the paradox.  Why couple earthly flesh with divinity?  Then again, at his lowest moment, this One provided what Rapha needed; not the Almighty surrounded in blinding holiness, but this Holy One choosing to wrap Himself in vulnerability. 

    Ultimate power choosing humility?  Yes, that would be inconceivable to Lucifer. 

    But, wasn’t this One destined to appear thousands of years in humanity’s future?

    The Son of Man addressed the unspoken query.  “What I will do is already recorded in eternity.  That moment is as the pinnacle of this mountain.  Those on either side can look up, ponder, and climb toward its height.” 

    Even as Rapha grappled with this concept, he noticed something odd.  The tiny, abused hare struggled on only three legs as it tried to climb into the lap of its healer. 

    Once again the man answered his thoughts.  “This small one is a sign to all creation.”  As He spoke, the three-legged creature stepped timidly onto His palm, drawing Rapha’s attention to a scarred gash in the Holy One’s hand.  As He drew the animal to His breast, Rapha noted a matching wound on the back of the other hand as well.

    The soothing voice continued, “This age will be well-acquainted with corruption and cruelty, yet the greatest beauty and strength will thrive in that environment.  Adonai will never leave them comfortless.”  He placed a kiss on the animal’s head, then set it upon the ground.  As if understanding its purpose, the creature hopped toward the forest without looking back.

    Rapha pondered the Holy One’s words as he watched the small outline merge with shadows.  When he turned toward his mysterious companion, he discovered the man was gone.  There were two spots of bruised grass where His knees had rested and, as Rapha watched, they filled with water as if an underground spring had been tapped.  When the puddles overflowed, they began to trickle in opposite directions down each side of the mountain’s face.  Rapha raised himself to hover above the ground and watch each shallow stream become a widening river.  Within moments they were digging deep grooves in solid rock and splashing to the valley below, their force carving twin canyons that rejoined for the journey to the sea. 

    In the pounding waters, Rapha heard echoes of the Holy One’s laughter.

    (end excerpt)


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    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page for more information about The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL.