“Will this rain ever stop, Grandpa?”
“Always has before, child. I imagine it will again someday soon.
“Why won’t it stop today?”
“Because it’s not in God’s plan, I guess. We have to have faith that He’ll take care of us in our time of need.”
“Then why would He want to flood our fields and drown Mr. Bennett’s cows? That doesn’t seem like taking care of us.”
“We don’t always understand the ways of the Lord, Lizzie. Like I said, we’ve got to have faith.”
“You said that last year, you know.”
“About having faith, about God taking care of us.”
“Yes, and I believed it then as I do today. You should, too.”
“You said we had to have faith that God would make Mama and Grandma well again. But he didn’t. He let them die. Like he let that tree fall on my Papa. I hate God now.”
“Don’t you say such a thing, Lizzie. The Lord has blessed us beyond reason and your mama and grandmother were just called to His side in His own time.”
“I think God needs a new clock, calendar and almanac then, Grandpa, ‘cause his timekeeping is bad. And I still hate him.”
“Don’t blaspheme, child. Our faith in Him will pull us through. Just you wait and see. Now, come over here while I read you some scripture to help you understand and believe.”
“Will reading the Bible again help keep us from drowning, Grandpa? Will it keep us warm again until the rain stops?”
“Not exactly, Lizzie, but come sit on my lap beneath the blanket and I’ll read to yo something St. Peter said that might help you understand why we need to keep our faith that the Lord will provide.”
“Awright, but I believe in a warm fire and a boat more than some God who’d kill off people I loved and trapped us in our own house like we missed Noah’s Ark.”
“All right, Lizzie. You bundled up? Here’s what St. Peter says in his first letter to the Romans:
…who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
“See, Lizzie? Our salvation’s coming if we have faith. Aw, the poor little tyke’s gone to sleep. Probably for the best in this God damn cold and this God damn rain, in this godforsaken piece of Hell. And now the God damn fire’s gone out and what little kindling we have’s still soaking wet.”
With that, Hank Beene laid his granddaughter on the little bed he prepared for her near the fireplace. He walked to the window and saw nothing but gray and black in all directions though the wind-driven torrent. In the distance, a black line dropped from the clouds to the ground.
He turned and took his wife’s old rocking chair in hand. He pulled it’s rockers and legs off, separated the slats from its maple seat and placed them all in the cold fireplace. Hank looked about the room for some tinder to touch off what little wood they had left. He went back to his Bible and ripped out the page he’d just read. Lighting a match to First Peter 1:5-9 he tossed it beneath the last physical memory he had of his Elizabeth, whose faith had sustained her to her grave. Who believed so hard that even a tornado’s funnel cloud was God writing his plan on the land. Ben crawled next to his little Lizzie and gave her a kiss and hugged her close as a sound like a locomotive came closer.
“God’s plan, my ass.”
Semi-experimental piece for Story #6. Supposed to write about a character unlike myself. I just wrote about characters in crisis of life and faith. And that’s that.