256 Words

A Promise in Duress

M. Stanley Bubien

After talking for an hour, we'd reached a crux. I bent over the wounded man, waiting for him to end the lull in our conversation.

He rolled his head sideways on his pillow to avert his eyes. "Pastor," he began. "There's one more thing..."

I held his hand.

"I told you how scared... how I thought I was dead."

I nodded, but he couldn't see. He continued anyway, "Well I prayed. I prayed like never before. And I told Jesus... I said if he got me outta there, I'd become a minister."

My grasp on his hand remained steady. He turned slowly and faced me. "I can't do it---" he choked on his words. Sniffing, he wiped at his eyes. I let him cry without interruption. Presently, his tears were dried and his hands laid at his sides.

"Jesus forgives everything," I told him. "Even broken promises." He sighed, and I continued. "Yet, maybe you should keep this particular promise."

He stiffened, "But... I can't---" I patted his hand. He took a long breath and quieted.

"Did you know the word 'minister' means 'servant'?"


"Consider that for a moment."

He hesitated, then turned away again. From that position, he whispered, "I'm scared."

I took both his hands between mine, "God saved you once. He can do it again."

He shook his head and, barely audible, breathed, "How can I... be God's servant?"

"Maybe," I replied. "It would be best to ask God."

He was quiet. Soon, though, his pillow wrinkled as he nodded his understanding.

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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November, 1996
Issue #8

256 Words