Here’s a short unedited exert and a picture I painted to accompany the scene!
He turned to me. He had a kind face and his eyes had laughter lines in the corners. They shone, much like when the sun’s ray’s sparkle off the surface of a river, they too seemed to flow and his gaze upon me felt uncomfortable and yet I didn’t want to run or look away.
“Hello Philip.” He gently said.
How did he know my name? I stood looking at him, thinking of what would be a good response to his greeting and working out how I could get away from him as soon as I politely could. I was just about to open my mouth when he held out his hand to me with a ripe fig.
“I heard you under the fig tree, when you were waiting.”
I confronted him and pointed as I shouted, “Have you been spying on me? Why were you watching me?”
His gaze didn’t change, he just smiled. And how did he have a ripe fig in his hand when figs weren’t even in season?
“How the heck do you know me? Have we met before? Who the fig are you?” I asked looking at the fig in his hand wishing I had managed to come up with something a little bit more manly.
He looked down at the fig in his hand and then looked at me, the corners of his mouth curling upwards. He glanced at the fig again and then into my eyes and burst out laughing!
“Who the fig are you?!” He mimicked.
His laughter was contagious and I couldn’t help but laugh and as I stood there belly aching as I joined in the comedy over the fig all I could think was that I must know this man really well. It felt absurd that I would laugh so long and hard with a complete stranger.
He gently placed the fig on our rock, the one that years before had baked the figs that I had scrumped from the neighbours tree. Still laughing he said,
“My name is Jesus.”
With those four words I was rooted on the spot, unable to move. As he said his name it bounded in me and resonated. Like an echo yet stronger like a gale wind upon my face, but only inside me.
“I am the one who healed your mum a few months ago.” He said. “And yes, I do know you. I’ve come searching for you Philip as I have something to ask you. I can’t bring your dad back. But I need to let you know that there really is a God, He is there and He is like a good dad.”
“You’re ‘the’ Jesus?” I exclaimed. I walked closer to him and as much as I tried not to, as I shook my head in disbelief tears freely flowed down my cheeks and it was at that moment I felt incredibly known and what he had shared with me caught up with me in my head. I was also very grateful to this man for what he had done. As I walked closer he held out his hand to shake mine.
“It’s so good to meet you properly, Philip.” He calmly stated.
“Listen, I need to say something,” I blurted.
“Thank you. Thank you for healing my mum, I don’t know how you did it, but I am so indebted to you. She had been so unwell, for over twelve years.” His gaze didn’t change and he simply smiled a cheeky smile.
“It’s a real pleasure you know Philip. It’s the reason I’m here. I’ve been sent to destroy the works of the evil one. You see, the Kingdom of Heaven is closer than you think and what you have seen in your mum is a sign… it shows that God’s reign is now here.”
We stood in silence and as we did the gentle flow of the river over the rocks seemed to make a song. It’s as if the atmosphere around us was thick with inaudible melodies. And there was a smell, not of old manky river bed but of freshness, it smelt like fresh bread and posh perfume, each breath that I breathed in of this smell seemed to untangle in me the feelings of rejection and neglect. It was a matter of moments but from walking towards Jesus to holding his hand I felt like I had grown and that my back had straightened. It was as if I had become Philip. Not lame dog. He was gone. As these thoughts sprang around my mind and with Jesus still holding my hand he asked…” (You will have to wait for the book in the New Year!)
All profits from the book will go to the work of The Light Project as we seek to go the least, last and lost of this nation with the good news of Jesus. But no figs. Well, maybe one or two to keep the older evangelists going.