Desert 990570 1920

Reprieve

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A blue haze hung heavy over the sleepy town of Medlow’s Crossing. Ordinarily at this time of the day, the streets would be filled with shoppers and those hurrying home from work; but not today. This is the 96th day of no rain, and for Medlow’s Crossing that’s a history breaking record. No one alive in the entire county can remember a summer this dry or this hot.

Melvin Twilwater has a small place down river from Medlow’s Crossing. It’s right where the south fork joins the main river. It’s not quite forty acres, but Melvin and Judy have managed to raise a family of five and send them through college or tech school. Melvin stopped by the First State Bank yesterday to see Clyde Potts.

“Clyde, I’ve waited as long as I dare. I need some help to get through this dry spell. You know we’ve never needed irrigation around here, but if I had it this year, my crops wouldn’t be dying.”

“I’m not sure I can help you, Melvin,” Clyde responded as he handed him a tall glass of iced tea. “So many of my customers have been asking for help that the bank’s resources are getting dangerously low.”

“But, I’ve tried every other source,” Melvin moaned. “You’re my last hope.”

“I’m not saying I won’t help, but you’ll have to give me a few days to see what I can do.”

Standing to their feet the two men shook hands and Melvin slipped out of the air-conditioned bank into the dry August heat. Clyde stood by his window and watched the old farmer as he got into his well-worn pickup and headed south toward home.

When the pickup turned the corner, the banker turned his attention to the main street of town. He had purposely built his bank to where he could watch the hustle and bustle of the town that he had lived in, and loved, so long.

Looking down his beloved street on this August afternoon, he was shocked at the effects that three months of no rain could have on a town. The streets were nearly bare, and the reports coming in from around the country were even worse. What could he do to help his friends? They were in such trouble.

Slumping down in his huge leather swivel chair, Clyde Potts leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

“Oh God,” he heard himself say, “what can I do to change the circumstances of my town?”

Clyde didn’t understand prayer like he would like to. He did know, however, that some people seemed to pray with better results than others. Time seemed to stand still for Clyde as he meditated on the problem at hand.

“God, I guess what I’m looking for would be in the form of a miracle.”

“Call Pastor Stillwell!”

Clyde bolted out of his chair, looking around to see who had snuck up on him. Finding no one in the room, he suddenly became nervous. “Who could have spoken to me?” he mused, sitting himself back in his chair.

“Wow! That was weird. I must be dreaming.”

“Now God, as I was saying, what I need is a miracle.” Suddenly as if he’d pushed a button, the voice came back.

“Call Pastor Stillwell!”

Now, Clyde Potts was concerned. Bankers that start hearing voices usually don’t keep their customers very long. “Besides,” he said out loud, “I don’t even know anyone named Pastor Stillwell.” Then without thinking, he reached over and pushed the intercom button on his phone.

“Mary, do you know anybody by the name of Pastor Stillwell?”

Silence hung on the line long enough for Clyde to wonder if Mary had heard him.

“Mary?”

“Yes sir, I’m sorry. You just took me by surprise. Not more than twenty minutes ago, a new guy opened up a checking account under the name of Medlow’s Crossing Charismatic Church. He signed the account as pastor. His name is Robert Stillwell.”

Now Clyde was silent and Mary wondered if he’d gone off the line. “Clyde, are you there?”

“Yes, yes. I was just trying to collect my thoughts.”

“What do you want me to do about this new account?”

“Oh yeah. I guess I need to talk to him. Would you please call him and ask him to come back to the bank.”

Suddenly Clyde felt very foolish. “What did I do that for? What am I going to say to him anyway? ‘Hi, I’m your friendly banker and I hear voices. Not only do I hear them, but I do what they say. Guess what? They told me to call you.’ Yeah, well, I ain’t going to do that for sure!”

When Mary buzzed him again, it was almost closing time.

“Mr. Potts,” she said in her best professional voice, “I have Pastor Stillwell waiting to see you.”

Clyde took the hand of a man in his early forties. He had a firm grip and intense eyes. Clyde felt as if this new pastor could look down into his very soul. Maybe that was why he blurted out what he did, because he wouldn’t have said it if he’d thought very long about it.

“Pastor, I must ask you a question. Does God ever talk to people today?”

“Well, there it is,” Clyde thought. “He knows I’m nuts now, for sure.” But to his surprise, the new pastor grinned from ear to ear and shook his head. “This is too weird”, Clyde thought watching the response of Pastor Stillwell. “You don’t suppose God actually spoke to me?”

In the next thirty minutes, Clyde Potts, the President of the First State Bank of Medlow’s Crossing and chairman of the financial committee at the Crossing’s Community Church, learned more about God than he had in his entire lifetime.

“There is a God Who speaks to men and women today.
There are miracles that happen through prayer.
There is nothing impossible with God to those who believe.
There are many things, including weather, that money cannot change; but prayer can.

And yes, we can agree together and pray that God will send rain to Medlow’s Crossing and the surrounding area.”

Before Clyde knew what was happening, Pastor Stillwell started praying over the valley. He had never heard anyone pray like that before. He wasn’t begging, pleading, or making deals like most of the prayers he had often heard on Sundays at church.

This prayer was full of command and purpose. This guy knew where he was going, and somehow Clyde had the sense that they were going to get there together. By the time Pastor Stillwell was through, the thought had crossed Clyde’s mind about the cost of flood insurance.

Clyde laughed out loud when he was telling his wife about his encounter with Pastor Stillwell. “Just to think, dear, a few minutes before I met the man and he prayed the way he did, I wondered if we would ever see water again. I know now that God is ‘a God of the reprieve’.”

Say, do you know where your flood insurance is?

~ George Watkins, Apostle

(In the continuing tradition that Jesus began, these are stories and parables that bring to life God’s truth and principles for daily living. Some are from life experiences that God has taught me along the journey that I have had with Him.)

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