Have there been times in your life when you did not get the punishment you deserved but received mercy instead?
Have you been delivered from tense and difficult situations when you least expect it?
A Danish Christmas Tale
Chapter 4: Colder than the Outside Air
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (17 October 2016)
Dedicated to a dear friend who inspired the poem.
It was another torrential night for Ashley
She sat curled up on her bed and wept desperately
‘Why won’t the past leave me alone?’ she thought sadly
‘My dear Lord, please hear my prayer and deliver me’
The hours crawled by before dawn finally ensued
Although sleep did not come, she felt her strength renewed
The sleepless nights of tearful prayers she valued
For there will be a day when all hurts will be healed
It was Monday morning and Ashley got ready
She took her school bag and left her room quietly
Her school was held at home as well (expectedly)
She went to her classroom that was warm and cozy
Being the first to arrive, she laid her bag down
She surveyed the cozy classroom and looked around
She looked around and a box of matches she found
She lit the hearth, headed to her chair and sat down
She was dozing off when she heard the door opened
She arose from her slumber and around she turned
A girl entered; her face was gloomy and sullen
She must be a new student for she looked different
The girl sat in the furthest and hidden corner
Ashley mustered up some courage and approached her
‘Hello, may I sit beside you?’ Ashley asked her
The girl removed her bag from the seat beside her
The girl’s presence was colder than the outside air
But the fireplace was colder than her fiery stare
Her searing stare was as fiery as her red hair
The combination of both hot and cold was rare
‘My name’s Ashley. What’s yours?’ Ashley said with a smile
The girl frowned, folded her arms and pondered awhile
‘Cindy,’ she said as she stared at the wood floor tile
Ashley thought, ‘Maybe she’ll warm up after a while’
Classes began with Mathematics – Geometry
‘God, why must we learn Mathematics?’ thought Ashley
The hour on Geometry felt like infinity
It felt like an eternity of agony
‘Ashley,’ the teacher called the day-dreaming Ashley
‘Yes, Ms Anna?’ her heart raced with anxiety
‘Please write your answer on the board,’ she said sternly
‘Yes, Ms Anna,’ poor Ashley nodded nervously
She got up slowly and prayed, ‘Oh God, please help me!’
A crumpled piece of paper was shoved to Ashley
It contained the answer written down by Cindy!
She smiled and wrote the answer on the board gladly
TO BE CONTINUED…
Points for Reflection:
Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 ESV)
· The day-dreaming and inattentive Ashley deserved punishment from Ms Anna for her laziness. Ashley prayed to God for help in that desperate moment.
· God answered her cry for help through Cindy although she clearly did not deserve it. He showed her the mercy she did not deserve.
· Who do you turn to for help in times of desperation? Do you turn to God in prayer or to your own resources?
· We are to pray without ceasing and give thanks to God in all circumstances, even if God does not deliver us from our predicaments.
· The Gospel is about sinners receiving the salvation we do not deserve through Jesus Christ who bore our punishment. The Gospel is the greatest deliverance of all time and the greatest gift we do not deserve. Have you received it?