THE TEST


A tragic, lonely figure,
Avoided, shunned ignored,
Hard to believe a man like that,
Was once accepted and adored.
 
Once respected and admired,
A friend of many friends,
Husband, father, son, and brother,
A list without an end.
 
Once he was young and handsome,
And once had a hearty laugh,
He loved life, and life loved him,,
He was on a worthwhile path.
 
He once found life fulfilling,
Perfect in every way,
He had the blessings of his Lord,
And he returned that love each day.
 
But now unkempt, unshaven,
He no longer cared,
A man, fit only for the streets,
Not belonging anywhere.
 
How the fire started,
No one ever really knew,
He awakened, choking, in the night,
Within his smoke-filled room.
 
He faintly heard a barking dog,
And were those cries for help?
Alice?  Where was Alice?
He was beside himself.
 
The kids?  The kids?  Where were the kids?
By then, the room was black,
He struggled to get up,
Then, unconscious, he fell back.
 
The whole family had succumbed,
For days he was not told,
He suffered in the burn ward,
While he himself was touch-and-go.
 
Slowly he recovered,
Though scarred inside and out,
Home and family gone - destroyed,
A beaten man - alone - without.
 
He packed to go; why should he stay?
There was nothing left for him,
He became nameless, homeless on the street,
No place where he fit in.
 
Depressed, discouraged, late one night
He climbed the clock tower stairs,
And at the top, he just gave up,
And flung himself from there.
 
"Forgive me, God!" he shouted out,
As both his hands let go,
But then, somehow, his belt was caught,
And he dangled o'er the ground below.
 
So dark up there, he wasn't seen,
He hung securely through the night,
And he could see the world below,
With its many, moving lights.
 
Above - the stars.  Below - the earth.
He was somewhere in between,
An awesome view from where he hung,
Like none he'd ever seen.
 
And quiet, too, no sound at all,
The situation was surreal,
As he hung in space, he wondered then
If this was how God feels.
 
Did men below look small to God,
Like so many rushing ants?
Hurrying, scurrying, racing where
In ignorance and arrogance?
 
But how beautiful God's heaven looked,
With its sparkling, twinkling stars,
He could almost gather up a few,
By stretching out his arms.
 
As he hung there in the night,
He had much time for contemplation,
And different thoughts went through his mind,
As he weighed his situation.
 
Why did God spare him from that fire?
He should have died, you know,
And why did God not smash him now
Upon the ground below?
 
How insignificant is man,
But how significant, the stars,
Look - heaven's just a hand away,
And God's not all that far.
 
Perhaps he had deserted God,
But God had not deserted him,
Then he cried aloud, "Dear God,
Please forgive my selfish sin."
 
The next morning, when the sun came out,
To his rescue, came some men,
And he vowed he would find out
What he could do to make amends.
 
To learn God's purpose for his life,
To find out what God had in mind,
To thank God for allowing him
Another chance at time.
 
He recalled the story of Job,
How he was tested time and time again,
How Job had not forgotten God,
Nor had God forgotten him.
 
Sometimes man is tested,
In ways that seem unfair,
But when all seems lost to him,
He finds that God's still there.
 
Blest be the man that God forgives,
And releases from his sin,
Though he may be wounded many times,
The Lord binds and heals again.
 
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright 2002



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