Stories Inspired by the Psalms
Written by Gary Piper
“I can’t do it God,” Henry prayed, “I know you healed me but I can’t tell my story to anyone. I can pray for them and do other things for them but I can’t tell them about Jesus. Please don’t ask me to because I can’t do it.”
It had been seven months since his doctor had told him he was healed of his cancer. About two months ago Henry begin to feel that God was telling him to share his story with Jerry and Sally two co-workers who’d recently been diagnosed with the form of cancer he had. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to he couldn’t. He remembered thinking people were Jesus freaks, wackos, and religious fanatics whenever someone tried to talk to him about Jesus.
“Good morning Henry,” Jerry said entering the lunchroom.
Startled at first Henry replied, “Oh, hi Jerry. How’s your day starting out?”
“Same oh, same,” he quickly replied, “yours?”
“Well, I’m here,” Henry, said.
“That’ll count next week on payday,” Jerry answered.
Both men shared a few moments of laughter then, “what’s the doctor telling you Jerry?” Henry asked, getting serious.
Sounding angry Jerry replied, “They don’t know squat! I don’t even listen to them any more! When your number’s up it’s up and mine just happens to be up.”
After a moment of silence, “The doctors sure knew what they were doing with me,” Henry said, trying to sound reassuring, besides I’m praying for you Jerry and prayer works.”
“Don’t give me that religious crap,” Jerry shouted back, “prayer only works for do-gooders like you!”
Before Henry could speak, “I’m sorry Henry I didn’t mean it, sometimes life doesn’t make sense and I get frustrated. But I don’t believe in prayer it’s just a lot of nonsense as far as I’m concerned. Life doesn’t depend on a do-gooder God it depends on lady luck. Lady Luck smiled on you and gave me the ole one finger salute.”
Henry deep in thought and struggling with his growing embarrassment at even thinking about talking about Jesus didn’t hear what Jerry had said, “I’m sorry Jerry I was a million miles off. What did you say?” he asked.
“Henry, you could fall into a cesspool and come out smelling like a rose, me I’d just come out smelling like the piece of crap I am,” Jerry replied, “I’ll see ya later I’ve got to get to work now.” He replied and headed for the door not giving Henry a chance to reply.
Sitting alone Henry said out loud, “I know you wanted me to say something God, but I can’t. I just can’t do it.” The memory of his father ridiculing him and calling him a Jesus freak 50 years ago still held him captive even though Jesus had become a silent partner in his life.
The door to the lunchroom suddenly swung open, “Hi Henry,” Sally said entering the room. Sally who worked on the same line as Henry was the other victim that had been diagnosed with cancer.
“Oh, hello Sally,” Henry replied.
“Say, what’s the matter with you Henry? You’re not your usual bubbly self this morning,” she asked.
“Sorry Sally just a little bummed out about Jerry that’s all,” he quickly replied.
“Someday Henry you need to tell him how Jesus healed you,” Sally answered back.
“You know?” Henry asked.
“You’re my inspiration Henry. Do you remember the time I visited you in the hospital when everyone yourself included gave up on you?” she asked.
“I sure do that was the night Jeeesss,” He stuttered trying unsuccessfully to speak Jesus’ name. “Err I mean the night I was healed.”
“What’s wrong Henry? Why can’t you say the name of Jesus?” Sally asked.
“Henry,” deep in his memory he heard his father’s words once again, “If you go to church once more I’ll beat you within an inch of your life then you’ll find out there is no Jesus. No son of mine is gonna be labeled a religious fanatic! All that God stuff is just a way to make people feel guilty and then get them to do whatever you want them to do. Are you clear on that?” Instantly Henry placed his right hand on the spot, his father slapped him.
Not wanting to talk further Henry replied, “I’ll talk to you later Sally I’ve got to get some things to do before starting work.”
Now sitting alone Sally bowed her head and prayed, ” Jesus, I don’t know what’s bothering Henry but his story is vital to Jerry’s life so please find someway of conveying that to Henry. Thank you so much Jesus for being my friend and guardian. I know deep in my heart that I’m not to be healed of my cancer so please help me to be strong…” again the door swung open interrupting Sally’s prayer.
At the instant Sally was praying for Henry the voice whispered again to him, “Tell our story Henry.”
As the huge electric motors, driving the assembly line the 3 friends worked on started up their personal lives suddenly gave way to the impersonal drone of the production line. About three hours later as Henry was taking a short coffee break by himself his thoughts were interrupted, “Henry,” a voice rang out.
Turning around he stood face to face with someone who looked like his father,” Who are you?” he managed to ask. “You don’t recognize me?” the stranger asked in return. After a few moments Henry replied, “You look like my father did over 50 years ago but that’s impossible my father is dead. Who are you?”
“I am your father,” he replied.
Thinking someone was playing a sick joke on him Henry turned to walk away but he couldn’t move something held him where he was. “What’s going on?” his voice trembled.
“You’ve been given a very valuable gift Henry, a gift you need to share with others,” the stranger said.
Answering quickly Henry replied, “If you’re who you say you are then you know why I can’t talk about Jesus!”
“Fifty years ago I was a fool blinded by my own anger at Jesus for letting your mother die. Somehow, I’ve been given a chance to make things right with you. Ever since Jesus healed your cancer I’ve been trying to let you know its okay to tell our story. In spite of thinking you can’t you can and you must because your friend’s life depends on it.” Franklin Commer said to his son.
Henry tried to speak but just as his feet wouldn’t move, his lips wouldn’t move either. A mixture of thoughts were rifling through his mind. Suddenly the expression on his face changed to a look of doubt. Finally able to speak he prayed, “God I don’t know what’s going on but this isn’t real. My father died long ago and when he died, he sealed my fate as a Christian. I know I’ve been healed and I know Jesus is the one who did it but I can’t tell anyone. Please don’t make me,” his voice trailed off.
“Do you remember the day I died Henry?” Franklin asked.
Now able to speak, “I sure do! Instead of being sad I was happy because I was finally free of your strangle hold on my life. But when I discovered the power of your verbal and mental abuse didn’t die with you I became angry,” Henry voice was filled with emotions.
Franklin Commer looked his son in the eyes, “the instant I died I suddenly found myself caught it the fast moving current of a river but it was like no river I’d ever seen or been in. I couldn’t sink. As I moved over the rocks and around the corner, I heard a voice asking me if I believed in Jesus I promptly said no. No sooner had I said that when I felt someone pulling me down into the water,” Franklin s voice was also filled with emotions.
Pausing for a moment he continued, “The voice asked me a second time if I wanted to believe in Jesus. At first I was going to say I didn’t have any need for anyone named Jesus but the water turned cold and whoever was pulling me down was tiring me out so I blurted out yes I want to believe. Within seconds, I saw a man hanging on a cross and suddenly from the cross; he reached for me and told me to take his hand. When I took his hand, my whole life suddenly changed. My fear of dying was gone as was my hatred toward you and everyone else associated with my life.”
As his father talked, Henry could feel his hatred for his father and his embarrassment over talking about Jesus slowly fading away. Then mysteriously Henry found himself standing in a river and a voice rang out, “Behold the river of leading toward the City of God.” And Henry again felt the same presence he did the night Jesus touched his dying body.
Turning to say something Henry discovered he was alone and wondering if he’d been dreaming but suddenly he felt a level of strength and peace he’d never felt before! Turning around he went in search of Jerry.
Minute’s later standing face to face with Jerry he began, “In the Psalms it says something like be quiet and know God is real. So be quiet!” he told Jerry. “You gonna start talking that God crap I’m getting our of here!” came the sharp reply. “No your not! You’re going to stand right where you are and listen to me!” Henry shouted back.
Attracted by the loud voices Sally walked up to the two men, “What’s all the shouting about,” she said. “Ah, Henry’s starting with that God crap and I’m not gonna buy it!” Jerry replied sharply.
Henry started to talk but Sally interrupted him, “Jerry I’m gonna die! The cancer I have is going to kill me I know that in my heart as sure as I’m standing here. But I know you have one chance to live and that chance lies with Jesus. You must listen to Henry’s story.”
“You know you’re going to die? Henry asked looking at Sally.
“You know it too don’t you Henry?” she asked. With tears in his eyes he replied, “I’ve known for sometime but I also know that God is your refuge and strength. No matter what life will demand from you he will see to it that your faith is rock solid.”
Turning to Jerry, “Jerry you can deny Jesus’ existence all you want but it will never change the fact that he loves you and wants to give you the greatest gift anyone could ever get…”
Interrupting Henry, “what’s the gift, healing?” he asked in a much calmer tone. “A gift far greater than healing he gave me the gift of himself and reminded me of that night on my deathbed and in the aftermath, my cancer was gone. I don’t know why I was spared because most of my life I’ve been embarrassed to even say Jesus’ name. But now, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, see I don’t have a problem now!” Henry replied.
“Okay,” said Jerry, “say I swallow this Jesus stuff what’s this great story you have just got to tell me?”
“Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” Henry replied, “That is the story. I’m not afraid to say his name and no matter what changes occur in my life Jesus will always be a part of it even when I don’t acknowledge him.”
“You mean all I have to do is say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and I’m on easy street?” Jerry asked. “When you said Jesus what did you feel Jerry?” Sally spoke up. “I felt like an idiot,” Jerry retorted, “but if you need to be an idiot to live then that’s what I’ll do.”
Henry rolled his eyes, “Jesus’ name has a great deal of power with it, but without him in your heart it’s just another 5 letter word,” he commented. “What do you mean having Jesus in my heart?” Jerry asked with a note of seriousness in his voice.
There was still a slight hesitation in Henry’s voice but it was getting easier, “I was about 10 years old when Jesus came into my heart. It happened one day when one of my friends was hit and killed by a drunk driver I remember like it was yesterday, I was standing looking at him in his casket when all of sudden the room went dark and a cold mist settled on me. Then I heard a voice asking me if I wanted to live. Of course, I wanted to live so I said yes and then the voice asked me if I wanted Jesus in my heart and again I said yes. The voice then told me to say the ask Jesus into my heart, and I did.”
“What happened then?” Sally spoke up. “I felt a real warming feeling in my heart and suddenly the room exploded in light and I knew Jesus had come into my heart,” Henry replied. “But how did you know Henry?” Jerry asked. “I can’t explain it Jerry. It’s like trying to define the color blue or red it defies description,” Henry replied.
“But why couldn’t you talk about Jesus to others?” Sally asked.
“My mom got cancer when I was about 11 years old and my dad and I prayed and prayed for her but she died and my dad blamed Jesus and God,” Henry momentarily paused to gain his composure. Continuing, “After that my dad ordered me never to say Jesus’ name again and told me if I did or if I went to church he beat me within an inch of my life. I think in the back of my mind I felt as if they let me down too. After that my father caught me praying a couple of times and beat me until I got the idea I’d better keep my mouth shut.”
“What changed your mind Henry?” Jerry asked. “It started that night when Jesus healed my cancer. And the day you told me, you had the same form of cancer I had. So I started praying for you but each time you mentioned Jesus freaks those painful experiences returned and I shut down,” Henry replied.
Sally was the next to speak, “But what changed all that?” she asked. “My dad did,” Henry started to say. “Your dad!” Jerry interrupted him, “your dad died years ago!”
“I know it’s hard to believe but I saw him and he talked to me and told me his whole story and in the end I forgave him,” pausing and looking directly at Jerry Henry continued, “Jesus wants you to ask him into your heart Jerry.”
After a few seconds, “But how?” he asked. “Just ask him Jerry and then quietly believe in him and allow the power of God to strengthen you,” Henry answered.
“Then will I be healed?” Jerry asked. “I can’t answer that Jerry. Sally seems to think so but I don’t know but I do know that when he enters your heart it won’t matter if you’re healed or not because when you make God’s love your foundation nothing life can throw at you will shake you,” Henry replied confidently.
“Jesus,” Jerry prayed, “Jesus I need you in my heart. Please warm me with your life, please?” After a few seconds, “did I do good Henry?” he asked.
“You did great Jerry. Now be still and know that soon Jesus will be in your heart and will completely change your life so long as you continue to believe in him and do your best to live like him and for him,” Henry replied smiling.
“But don’t be like Henry, whenever you meet someone who needs to know about Jesus don’t be afraid to tell them your story,” Sally injected.
“How will I know when someone needs to hear my story,” Jerry asked. “A little voice deep in your heart will say, ‘tell your story Jerry,'” Henry replied. “And don’t be afraid of what to say either the Holy Spirit will give you the right words,” Sally added.
Suddenly a hush fell over the three friends and a voice rang out, “Whosoever will remember me to others I will remember them to our Father who lives in Heaven.” Three months later Jerry was told he was cancer free that same month Sally went home to be with her Jesus.