"I have FAITH! The LORD will provide for me."
"But John. They just delivered boxes full of emergency rations." Blade said.
"I'll wait on the Lord if it's all the same to you." John looked out at the dark sea.
"Are you sure your leg's all right?"
John nodded, "God will heal."
The scout ship VISIONARY had taken damage from an asteroid collision and had been fortunate to find a place to land on an unpopulated world off a trade route. Before they had crash-landed, the pilot had made contact with a patrol from a nearby colony, the small fighters couldn't rescue them, but they relayed word to Fleet Command that they needed help.
Later another patrol had air dropped several large boxes of supplies.
John was a mission specialist on his first deep space rotation. Some on the crew wondered how he had ever gotten this far seemingly so blinded by his single mindedness.
The coastal area they had landed on was barren, the crew shivered as a wind blew in from the sea bringing with it a light rain. The suns were sitting over the hills behind them.
"Hey John. The guys built a shelter from access panels and we got a fire going."
John looked at the fire's reflection on the hull of the disabled ship, then he closed his eyes for a second. "The Lord will supply shelter if it be His will."
"Did you get something to eat from the rations?" Blade held out a wrapped bar of chewy nutrition.
John shook his head. "You go ahead. My faith will sustain me."
"Watch out for the animals around here."
"The Lord keeps my watch."
John sat on the beach, wrapped in his duty jacket, as the chill rain beat on him.
He thanked God for this challenge to his faith, he prayed for the healing of the two of the crew that had been injured in the crash, and for his own ankle, swollen and discolored from the impact. Then he asked for Him to rescue them.
In the morning John was treated to a spectacular dual sunrise as the glowing stars peeked out between the sea and the storm clouds.
He thanked the Lord for giving him this day.
"John?" Blade said to him. "We got breakfast. Shirey worked wonders with some of those meal packs from the ship."
"Any sign of the rescue ship?"
"God will deliver." John said.
"You know it's not a sin to sit by the fire and eat breakfast."
"That would be accepting the work of man. I trust only in God."
Blade shook his head. "Hey, I believe too. How do you know God didn't send that patrol ship with the rations and give Cap and Billy the strength and knowledge to build the shelter? And Shirey's cooking skills are definitely divine."
"That is the work of people. Not of God. When God provides, I will know it."
Blade nodded and went back to the camp.
John brooded for some time.
"Lord." He prayed as he limped along the high water mark. "You sent this test to us as a way of validating our faith. I know You will deliver. Please show me the true path of Your will. Give comfort to our families as they await our deliverance. Put wisdom in Lieutenant Capbersin as he manages our situation through its conclusion." Finally he couldn't walk any further. He sat and rubbed his ankle, closing his eyes to the pain.
He opened his eyes. "Yes."
"You have a cracked bone in your ankle. We're fixing it up."
"That's not necessary sir." He said to the lieutenant. "The Lord..."
Billy shushed him, "We got the med-scan working. That's what showed us what was wrong with your leg. Now shut up and let Cap tape you up."
John didn't argue, the bonding on his leg felt wonderful after the gnawing pain he had been in.
Later, they left him alone on his beach again. He apologized to God for the weakness of his faith in allowing them to work on his ankle. "I will be stronger and trust solely in You."
"Do you have a message you want relayed to your family?" Blade asked him that evening.
"Trust in God." John said.
"Of course. How's the leg?"
"Are you sure you won't come up to the camp tonight? We got mystery stew."
"The Lord has provided a beautiful evening right here, and I'm not hungry."
"We heard from Fleet. A ship is on its way."
"The Lord is on His way. I trust in Him."
"I'll send that to your sister." Blade said and tapped the wordpad.
John watched the suns rise into a clear sky. He blessed the name of the Lord for the beauty of His creation. Then he prayed for deliverance.
His hunger almost drove him to the camp and the smell of something cooking.
But he simply moved down to the water's edge and prayed for relief.
"As your Commanding Officer I hereby order you, in front of witnesses, to eat."
John looked up at Cap and the others.
"I know all about your faith, and you know all about insubordination. I have a duty to return you to base in as good a shape as possible, which requires you to eat and let Billy check your ankle."
"Yes sir." John said, "May the Lord forgive."
"May the Lord give patience." Blade said half seriously.
Billy stood after he looked over the bonding on John's foot. "Don't get it wet," he said to John, "It's coming along fine." He closed the med-scan unit.
John said grace over his tray of food, and then ate it. At first he did so reluctantly, then as his he thought about it, he had to admit that God provided all food. He asked forgiveness for his blindness as he ate.
Afterwards he limped toward the camp with his empty tray. "Thank you Shirey, it was wonderful." He said to the alien woman.
"You are most welcome Specialist John." She said with the face straining that was her smile.
"Will you stay up here tonight?" Blade asked him.
"I'll keep watch on the beach."
"You mean you and your God will keep watch."
"Yessir." John nodded to Cap and slowly walked back to the water's edge.
Several sudden blasts of weapon's fire startled John awake. There was yelling from the camp and more firing. He jumped up and looked around.
A large animal making ear splitting noises ran by, then it vanished into the overgrowth on the other side of the wrecked spaceship.
Blade ran up to him holding a blaster rifle. "You OK?"
John nodded and shifted his weight from his bad ankle.
"ROLL CALL! BILLY!" Cap yelled.
"Over here!" He waved the rifle at the camp.
There was no answer.
"Shirey!" Cap bellowed again. Then, "John!"
"Ok, everybody, take a sidearm and a comm and find Shirey. Split up and stay in touch."
"Can you walk?" Blade asked him.
"Yeah. I'll stay along the beach and go down to that point and back."
"OK, take this." He handed him the rifle. "Test your comm."
John touched the square box on his belt. It beeped.
"Yo." Cap's voice said from the box.
"Just testing. I'm going down to the point." John told the lieutenant.
"Good. Out." Cap responded.
"Lord please keep Shirey safe. Look after us with Your strength and bring us all back home." John prayed as he walked along the beach.
He took turns shining his light toward the water and the plants that were growing closer to the water the further he got toward the point.
Then things got bad.
Several of the large animals were behind him, snarling.
"Merciful Lord. I do not want to take the lives of any of Your creatures. Please make them go away."
The creatures were closing on him.
He prayed harder. Waving his light at them, shining it into their eyes.
Then his comm came to life. "We got her. She's OK." Billy said loudly. "But the woods are full of these things." In the background you could hear several shots and much shouting.
"Everybody back to camp." Cap ordered.
John keyed his box, "I'm coming. But I got several of these animals to get rid of."
The creatures stood their ground. He waved the light, then the rifle, at them. One started to get too close to him.
"Lord. Please show me the way."
The animal was almost on him. He fired the rifle almost involuntarily.
The beast incinerated. The others gave some ground for a moment. John started back to camp as fast as his throbbing ankle could take him.
Then the beasts were after him.
John did not want to take another's life, but once again they tried to surround him, he prayed first for deliverance, then ended up firing the rifle at them.
He was almost at the camp when they circled him again.
This time his prayer for deliverance seemed to be answered by Billy and his rifle.
But Billy did not show mercy for the animals, firing at them even as they ran toward the forest.
Cap made everybody stay in the camp or inside the broken hull of the ship.
"Lord, why didn't You send a way to safety?" John inquired of God.
The next morning the beach showed tracks of hundreds of the creatures.
"If the ship doesn't get here today we'll post guards tonight, two hour shifts."
They nodded at Cap.
John sat near the water again, praying hard for the Lord to rescue them.
Then without warning Cap was firing his rifle into the air, shouting incoherently about something.
It took a minute for John to make out what all the excitement was about.
The ship swung in over the sea and landed on a wide spot just down the beach.
As they packed up Blade asked why John wasn't as thrilled as the rest of them.
"I expected God to rescue us." He said sorrowfully.
"That's a Fleet transport." John jerked his head toward the ship.
"But it's from God. He provided the pilot with the skill and the navigator with the knowledge. All things are from Him. Regardless of their packaging."
John looked at the now vacant camp. "You mean all of this was His?"
"He even provided you with the ability to fire the rifle to keep yourself from being lunch for those animals. You didn't panic and freeze up, you did what you had to do."
"That was academy training."
"But some people don't retain their training. You did. A gift from God."
John nodded. He seemed to understand.
"Even those that don't believe, like Billy, can do God's work. Even if they don't realize it. You said yourself that Billy came out shooting just as you were praying for rescue. You asked for healing, and Cap got the med-scan fixed. You needed food and Shirey managed to break into the storage on the ship." Blade was smiling.
John felt foolish. "Everybody contributed to our survival but me."
Cap patted him on the back, "No my friend, you kept the faith for us. Everybody had a job to do, and that was yours."
"Yessir." He looked at the lieutenant. "Sir, do you believe in miracles?"
"Yes sir, Specialist. In fact. I not only believe in them, I rely on them, even if I have to make my own."
Blade never told John, but as the transport lifted away from the deserted beach, he thought he saw, just for an instant, a tall man in white waving at the ship.
Back to the Desk Religion page. http://themediadesk.com