Being the Face of God
“There is no God! At least I’ve never seen any evidence that He exists in the people I know.”
Ameil smiled to himself. Pushing his chair back from the table, he threw some money down to cover his breakfast.
“Someday you’re going to be sorry that you say that, Ameil Hammerstine. God is listening to you and some day you may need His help.”
Ameil laughed. “Sol, you stick to what you do best, good food and a good bed. Leave the religion to the Priests and Levites. They claim to have a handle on all that God business!”
The old man was on his feet now, moving around the table toward Ameil. “How long have you been coming in here and eating my food? Years, right?”
Ameil nodded his head. He knew what was coming—he had gone too far with Sol before. The old innkeeper can really get in your face when you push him too far. And he had done it again.
“Ameil, you are a good customer and I like you.” The innkeeper had put down his towel and moved close enough to Ameil that he could look him in the eye. “You are a successful merchant and have made a lot of money. I watch you come and go at least twice a month. Life has been good to you and God has been good to you. Yet, you insist on always bringing up the question of God’s existence. Why? What has happened in your life to make you so bitter against God?”
Ameil was shocked at the passion of the old man—could that be a tear in his eye? Ameil suddenly became serious. He put his hand gently on the old man’s shoulder.
“Sol, I’ll be honest with you. I have looked for God for a long time. I’ve been to the synagogue; I’ve been around the Priests and Levites. I’ve watched them move amongst the people and around the town. Do you know what? I’ve never seen God one time in their face. All I see is self-centered religion and greed.”
Silence hung heavy in the air of the little inn. Sol held his breath as Ameil went on.
“When my mother was sick and we had no food, where were the Priests and Levites then? Where was their God when I was sold as an indentured servant to pay off our debts? I saw no God in any of them, only their selfish ambitions.”
Sol could see the pain and loneliness in Ameil’s eyes as he spoke. He had never seen this in all the years he had known him. Something was about to happen to this young man. Sol knew God was about to show up in his life.
Then it was over. Ameil stepped back and looked at Sol as if he knew he had said too much already. Embarrassed with himself, he started fussing around gathering his traveling cases.
“Look Sol, you’ve got an inn to run and I’ve got appointments to make. I’ve got my opinion and you’ve got yours. Let’s leave it at that.” With that Ameil picked up his cases and moved toward the door. The old innkeeper followed him outside.
“Ameil, you need to know that God is about to make Himself real to you. I’ve seen this before and can tell when people are about ready to meet Him.”
“Look Sol, just help me put these cases on my mule and I’ll be on my way. I’m really late!” Sol could tell the conversation was over and he’d gone as far as he dared. So, securing the mule, he waved goodbye and the rich young merchant rode off toward Jericho.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The old innkeeper struggled to come out of his deep sleep. “It must be near dawn,” he muttered, wresting with his robe and slippers. “Who could be at the door at this hour?”
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Yes, yes, I’m coming! Who is it banging on my door at this hour? What is the big emergency that you must wake me up this early?”
“This is Tosnic, kind sir,” the muffled voice sounded anxious even through the heavy wooden door that Sol was standing behind. “I am a Samaritan on my way from Jericho. I have urgent business with you. Please open the door!”
“What is your business?” Sol demanded.
“A friend of yours has been severely wounded and he’s been calling for you. His name is Ameil. He said you would help.”
Sol flew at the lock, fumbling with it until he was able to swing the door wide open.
“Ameil, my friend. What has happened to my friend?”
The huge Samaritan was already easing the broken body of Ameil off of his own mule where he had been strapped on for the last few hours.
“I found him laying in the roadway just out of Jericho,” the gentle giant said, as he tenderly laid Ameil across Sol’s couch. “It was late yesterday, He was nearly dead. He had been robbed and beaten. I think he has been unconscious most of the time.”
Sol hurriedly lit a lantern and put water on the stove to boil. It was going to be a long day.
“Where am I?” Ameil murmured. “What has happened to me?”
Sol was instantly by his side. “We thought we had lost you old friend.” Taking Ameil’s hand in his, he moved close to his face. “You have had a miracle.”
The young merchant opened his eyes and smiled, “Oh, how right you are, how right you’ve always been—I have seen God face to face and I know now that He is real!”
“You have seen God? That is wonderful!” Sol replied. “But how and when did you see God?” He leaned closer to hear.
“After I was robbed, I thought they would kill me. The last thing I remember before blacking out is that I was calling on God’s name for His help. I awoke sometime later when I heard the tinkle of the priest’s bells coming. However, when he saw me he scowled and passed by on the other side of the road. The same thing happened with the Levite. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I knew by then that I would die. I was so weak I passed out again.
“The sweet fragrance of oil and wine awoke me. I heard a gentle singing and when I opened my eyes, Sol, I tell you I looked right into the face of God. Everything I always thought God would be, if He were real, I saw in the face of that one who was binding my wounds. And I tell you Sol, it was the face of God, and when I saw it, I believed!”
“I know what you mean,” said the old innkeeper, smiling to himself. “I know what you mean!” Pulling the blanket up close to Ameil’s face, he turned down the lamp. It would be a wonderful day tomorrow.
Let your light so shine that they may see the face of God in yours.
– George Watkins
Roadside Inns Inc.