Stories – 9th Installment

For the last 20 years I have presented the Gospel to each new youth at the highly secure prison for the kids ages 13 to 19 at Gainesville, Texas.  It is the first time that most any of them have stopped “running on the streets” and had the time to think about their life.  Most every one made a decision to make God part of their life.  After our hour+ together I would write each one a letter.  As a result I corresponded more with many of them.  And in each letter I would enclose a group of short stories or poems.  They really liked them, especially those with an emotional message.  You probably would not believe how many locked-up prison boys have loved theses little stories, and read them over and over.

In my soon to be published book I enclosed a long list of those short stories in the Appendix.  Since the prison boys liked them so much, I thought you may like to see some of them.  So, here is a 9th group of them for you.  And you are welcome to share them with others.

Ron

Cost of a Miracle

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.

Nothing.

She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster.

No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother here from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,”  Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl.  I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it, and if it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.” 

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up with tears.  “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation.  But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money”.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly.  “And it’s all the Money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.”

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, one of the country’s top surgeons, specializing in neuro-surgery.

The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents ….. plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of higher law…… Of course, only God can supply a miracle.  But for some strange reason, He has decided to do his work through people….and the persistence and faith like that of a little child can bring about a real miracle.


 Dad’s Empty Chair                                                                               

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said. “No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the minister shut the door. “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray.  At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.” I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day four years ago my best friend said to me, “Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest.”

“Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I will be with you always’. “Then just speak to him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”

“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey.  Then he prayed with him, asked for God’s peace to be upon him, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” he asked.

“Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”

Dear Mom………

She jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: ‘How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?’ The surgeon said, ‘I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.’  Sally said, ‘Why do little children get cancer?  Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?’ 

The surgeon asked, ‘Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he’s transported to the university.’  Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good bye to her son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair. ‘Would you like a lock of his hair?’ the nurse asked. Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally. 

 The mother said, ‘It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the University for Study. He said it might help somebody else. ‘I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘Mom, I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom.’ She went on, ‘My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could..’  Sally walked out of Children’s Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car.  The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room.

 She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She lay down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.  It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Lying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:

Dear Mom,

I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just ’cause I’m not around to say ‘I Love You’. I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him.. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn’t allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him……….  where was He when I needed him?’ ‘God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.  Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m sure the food will be great.  Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore the cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore and God couldn’t stand to see me hurt so much, either. That’s when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that? 

Signed, with Love from God, Jesus & Me. 

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