Worth It: A Story

Hey warriors! Today I have a unique piece of writing for you. I will warn you that it is a mix of fact, imagination, and a little bit of inner experience. You may not agree with everything I say, still, I hope it speaks to every one of you.


Trigger warning: blood, death, drunkenness, mention of smoking, mention of torture, a romantic relationship, and mention of storms.

A heavy wood beam drags in the sand. Slowly it digs deeper as the one carrying it grows weaker. A soldier walks nearby, eager to taunt and torture the 33 year old man as he carries it onward. In the soldier’s eyes, the man is crazy and weakening. But what he doesn’t know is that, as the man slowly lets the beam down and another man picks it up, this exhausted and bleeding prisoner destined to die is neither crazy nor weak. In fact, this man has already broken through the highest thoughts of his time and is about to do more than has ever been done. All while being hated.

***

In the far future, a woman is surrounded by her peers. She is just over 30 and has never drunk alcohol, not because she’s so strong to resist it but because she’s never been around it and has never been interested in it. She knows it isn’t good for her and doesn’t intend to drink because she believes it’s better not to but she’s never had friends who drink, or at least not friends who cared if she did or not. But tonight she’s surrounded by partially drunk men and women, laughing and joking and telling her to lighten up. Just a sip. One sip. Only one! And it tastes so good… it feels so good…. Blind to the woman getting sick in the corner of the room, unthreatened by weapons but pressured by words, she hesitantly reaches for a cup and slowly presses it to her lips.

***

The man stumbles forward until they reach a hill called Golgotha by Jews and Calvary by Romans, where the solider and another one of the men pound the wood beam into the ground. It’s tall, with another beam across it at the top. Slowly the two men lift this dying man up and jam nails into each hand, piercing them through and through the wood beam. Then they put one of his feet over the other and nail through them both, again piercing both even through the cross. Beside this cross and this dying man are two other crosses, one on each side, with two other men hanging on them. Painfully, the men gasp for breath as gravity slowly pushes their weight against their lungs. They’re going to suffocate before too long, and they know it. But while the other two men are primarily in pain from their lack of air and the piercings in their hands and feet, the middle one has even more reason to be dying: his back is covered in bleeding wounds, as is his scalp. They tortured him to the point where he almost died already today: they whipped him with a sharp lash, leaving deep bleeding cuts. One more lash of the whip and he would have died. They taunted him for calling himself the Christ, the king of the Jews, and wrapped his bleeding body in a purple robe and placed a crown made of thorns on his head. Then, after the robe had dried onto his bloody back, they ripped it away. They took off the crown of thorns. And they made him carry his cross like the other two, the rough and heavy wood digging into his torn back as he walked up hill under the burning late morning sun. Still he has not refuted his claim.

***

The woman doesn’t like the first cup, but as the drunk people encourage her to drink more, she continues. Then she begins to lose herself in the feeling, the freeness of it for a moment. It seems so good… and she continues, feeling like she fits in, like she is a part of the crowd. It feels so good to forget the pain and stress. She begins to party too, looking just like one of them.

***

This man has limited time to live, but in the six agonizing hours he suffers on the cross, he comforts the man beside him, tells one of his followers to look after his sobbing mother and her to look after the follower, and cries out to God for forgiveness on behalf of those killing him. He is in great pain and torment, but not only because of the horrific torture he is suffering physically. No, because in his heart he feels the weight of every sin ever committed. Not his own sins, but the evils of others. Thousands and thousands of people and their millions and millions of sins weigh heavy on his heart. He knows he is dying for these people, these wrongs. And he loves them. So right now, his holy God and Father has left him for the first time in his life. Though he never once sinned, he is covered in the filth of others and his righteous Father is unable to be with him. He cries, “My God, my God! Why have You forsaken me?” but he knows the answer. His Father can do anything but touch sin, and now, as the sky becomes dark and it becomes harder and harder to breathe, His son is sin itself.

***

When the party finishes, her friends drive her back to the hotel she’s been staying at. She opens the door to her room and collapses to the ground, sick and feeling awful. Her boyfriend hears the door and her body hitting the floor and runs to see what the matter is. When he finds her drunk, he’s disgusted. He found her smoking a couple days ago, too. This isn’t the woman he fell in love with! Why did he agree to come on this trip so she could visit friends? He reluctantly puts her in bed and lies down beside her, angry and planning to confront her about it in the morning. As he closes his eyes, he’s given up on her. One more thing like this and he’s leaving. Or maybe sooner. He can’t take this.

***

As he begins to still, he knows that this is a part of the plan. He isn’t crazy. He really is the Christ, the king of the Jews. He isn’t weak, either. He is the only human ever to have lived a life without any sin or failure. Not because He’s been so good out of His own humanity, but because He has God’s life within His spirit, a goal within His heart, and a plan in His mind. He was born by the Spirit in the womb of His mother as a human who is God. It hasn’t been easy; He has been a man of suffering. He spent weeks in a wilderness without bread, confronted by the devil himself. He was taunted by those who thought He blasphemed the God He was, who thought He broke laws He created to last until He came. He was sold by a follower and betrayed with a kiss to the failing leaders of His precious people. He asked His Father to take away this death He knew He would suffer, crying tears so distressed that they were made of blood, but He knew this was the only way. And He knew what would come next. He knew why He needed to die because He never stopped speaking with God. He knew God’s heart well because it was His own. Though humans would never understand fully while on Earth how it was possible, He and the Father were one. And as He ended His human life, He was strong. Knowing this, He breathed His last and His body hung limp against the wooden cross.

***

When the woman awakes, she sees her boyfriend’s suitcase by the door and fear fills her heart. He’s leaving her. She begins to cry softly, hating what she’s done. Why did she give in? Why?
Meanwhile her boyfriend notices the sound of her breathing change from where he stands in the entryway of the bathroom. She’s awake. He feels a twinge of pity. If he leaves, who will she have left? She’ll be alone. But he tries to push it away as he returns to packing silently. He’s leaving.

***

His followers mourn at the loss of their Teacher while the crowd rejoices at being rid of a man they believe to have blasphemed their God. The triumphant cheers of the crowd are cut short. Not only is this man dead, but the ground has begun to shake violently beneath them. Rocks split into bits. Cries rise across the city, whether or not they can be heard from Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. The veil between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the temple, the veil between God and man, is split from top to bottom. It’s as if a hand from above tears it in two. No more is there a barrier between them. In the distance, even more has happened: the earthquake has opened tombs and, though no one is aware, dead followers of this Jesus of Nazareth rise to life once more. They will come out soon, when He too rises to life. In three days He will conquer death.

***

The woman’s boyfriend picks up his suitcase and looks her in the eye. Too exhausted and overwhelmed with emotion and sickness to speak, she doesn’t say a word. But he does.
“You changed. And I can’t do that.” With that, he leaves.
A sob escapes her lips. Desperate for some comfort, the woman remembers a Sunday school class long ago. There had been a loud storm, and the children were afraid. The kind old woman who taught the class had told them that Jesus brought peace in the storm and had told them stories of storms in the Bible where Jesus kept His precious children safe, from Noah to Paul. All this time she’d been running from Jesus, thinking life was meant for fun. But it just got her here, alone in a hotel room and sick from drinking. “Lord, she whispers now. I don’t know what to pray, but I’m sorry. I need peace. Please come into this storm. I keep messing up and I want to be free. Save me from this mess, Lord!” And even as she lies in bed, tears streaming down her face, peace and joy fill her heart. Everything she once believed that kept her from Christ is shaken, every sin that drew her away is now torn into nonexistence. A part of her heart that once was dead now lives, loving this Jesus who can calm the most violent storm. “Praise You Lord!” She can’t stop the comfort. She is safe now. Safe in His arms.

As He floods into her heart, shining His light into the dark and filling the cracks with Himself as the Spirit, He smiles. This is what it was for. This is why He died. Kissing her broken pieces and holding them tight, He whispers, This is why I died. This is why I rose. This was My heart’s desire. To gain you. To gain others through you. To love you as My bride and see your beautiful smile as you begin to reflect Me. All that suffering was worth it, because now I have you. You are Mine, precious child, forevermore.


If you haven’t yet experienced the joy of the earth-shaking veil-tearing dead-raising Son of God, it’s as simple as whispering that you believe He died for your sins and rose that He might live in you as a new life, a different life. If you have received Him, what’s your story? Let me know in the comments!

Sunset: A Poem – Summer of Stories 2

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! I have another Summer of Stories post today! This week’s prompt was “write a poem about a sunset.” I hope you enjoy!


Some people see beauty

In the golden rays of evening

The edge of night’s burning

Some people see artwork

In the masterfully chosen hues

The pinks, oranges, and blues.

Some people see promise

In the ending of one day

Knowing the night won’t stay

Some people see the moon

As the sun fades into the horizon

And they watch the stars be strung

But I see a little of all tonight:

Beauty, art, promise, and the moon

And I sing a different tune

Because I see hope most tonight:

Though the sun may fade

There always comes a new day

Again and again the darkness falls

Only for again the sun to shine bright

Where there is day, there will be night

But where the night ends is beauty

Not only does the sun set, it rises

Shining on all God’s precious prizes

Won from death and Satan’s grip,

By choosing Him we’re saved and His

And so He wraps us in golden-ray kisses.

But those who have yet to come,

He calls them home, “I love you, son!

You can’t change that fact with what you’ve done!”

So when I look at a fresh sunset,

I hear a voice calling from the sky

“Glory, glory, to Christ on high!”


What do you see in a sunset? Let me know in the comments!