Click here to read Watching From Afar – Part I
The coward’s best friend and his love interest began dating, and had been together on and off through junior high until now.
He had watched the battles between them with interest, hoping one day they would end the relationship permanently; but it seemed to drag on forever. Watching her, listening to her side, he knew what she wanted to hear from her boyfriend but didn’t. They were such different people it was impossible to be in agreement for long.
The couple had finally ended their relationship a month ago and it seemed over for good this time. She was looking at him again, he noticed as he turned to walk away when the race ended. It must have been a coincidence. He couldn’t meet her eyes. He might start to sweat or give away the thoughts he just had about her. Trying to relax, he stopped and leaned against the wall, hoping to appear casual and disinterested. His heart raced as he tried to focus on anything but the fact that she was nearby and unattached. He had waited so long for this, but now that it was here…he couldn’t find the courage to say anything.
He had heard a rumor that she lashed out at her friends and was suffering under a severe silent treatment because of it. Maybe this too could work in his favor, he wasn’t the closest friend she had, but he had always been on her side. Her house was so close to his, yet he had not visited there in so long. Maybe he would drop by there tonight and just say hello. His stomach churned at the idea of it, and he began to think of excuses why he wouldn’t dare do something so forward. He feared that she might reject him too.
“Hello” she said, as she joined him. “Are you avoiding me just because of the break up?” Startled, he met her eyes and wished he could stay focused on those eyes forever. His throat dry, he responded with a tight smile and “No, why?” The girl he knew so well was unhappy, he could see that. Concern for her brought him to ask about how she was doing and to show a little more concern than he might otherwise. He hated to think of her miserable. What could he do? His concern seemed genuine, and her face softened. She showed him a pair of tickets, the source of her misery at the moment. She shyly admitted that she didn’t want to go alone. Her friends had refused, and she wondered if he might be free?
The coward stared at the tickets in her hands and he wondered what he could say. If he said yes too quickly it would seem suspicious and give away his feelings. He wanted to be calm and cool, but he couldn’t. He panicked, this wasn’t something he had planned for and he was afraid to do the wrong thing. His mind raced to all the ways he could mess this up. Breathing too quickly, he hyperventilated. His mind went blank and he was suddenly lightheaded.
Catching himself, he dropped to lean against his thighs and felt her light touch on his back. She was worried about him. Glancing at her over his shoulder he saw the girl of his dreams. His mind wasn’t fully his, and words left before he could stop them. He admitted what wasn’t eloquent or planned at all. “You are so beautiful sideways”. She didn’t seem to know how to respond, but couldn’t hold back the smile that crept over her face.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Matthew 3:3 references Isaiah chapter 40. (Esaias is an interesting translation from Hebrew isn’t it?) Isaiah 40 is a great read, it promises pardon from sins and a caring, gentle shepherd. It also promises a voice (vs3) to cry out the news that a highway for God is needed. The promise had been so long ago, many must have wondered when would it finally come true. Hearing those words while in the wilderness of Judea, I can imagine it was pretty amazing to hear the words spoken – not as a quote, but with authority. Those long awaited words might be as welcome as hearing a proposal or declaration of love after a long time dating or secretly admiring someone and finally admitting it as in the story above. We become our own hindrance when our focus is on protecting ourselves.
John spoke of a promise of great things to come, and a demand to get ready. The straight highway for God is such a cool word picture for me…it must be smooth (not just some rocky, curving road) and free from physical impairments, but it must also be safe with no distractions like a Roman highway was during that time. Taxes were collected to keep those highways smooth, and the reputation of Rome demanded safety.
A straight highway to my own heart would require rejecting all the worldly lusts and admitting the sin hidden deep within; to repentance. When I start to question “Where is God?” or “Why don’t I sense the Spirit any longer?” I have to pause on a subject like this. When did I last take inventory on my hang-ups, distractions, and sinful ways? Once again I realize it is my selfish focuses that turned away from God and blocked the highway. He never left me, and astonishingly, God runs quickly to those who need Him and make way for Him.
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