Joy in Pain

This is a fictional story I wrote for a contest.  I goofed on the time of the submission, so I’m posting it here.  Hope you enjoy!

Cassie sat in the corner of the dank room holding her knees close to her body. She was afraid, but she kept her resolve as she prayed for God to give her strength to do what she knew she would have to do. She thought of her parents. They had always shown her love and supported her in every endeavor she tried, even when she told them of her plans to move to Pakistan. She knew this had been and would be so hard for them, but she also knew they were strong in their faith and that God would see them through this ordeal, too.

Her time in Pakistan had been more than she could have expected. She loved the children and she knew she was where she was supposed to be. Her favorite time of day was sitting with the children, telling them about Jesus and reminding them daily that their heavenly Father loved them dearly. She loved seeing their faces fill with hope and amazement when she told them they were never alone. She knew the kids were safe and loved. Her heart was full and she smiled at the gift she’d been given to do this work.

She shifted her thoughts to the day she went into the village. She had been speaking to a woman with whom she had built somewhat of a friendship. Zahira had started to ask questions about Cassie’s beliefs and Cassie prayed for her heart to be opened to the Truth. They were having a great conversation. Zahira had asked Cassie a question about her beliefs and she was telling her about Jesus. She ended with telling her He was the Messiah.

As she finished her sentence, Zahira’s husband, Asad, shot out from behind a tree. He grabbed Zahira and brutally pulled her behind him. She fell to the ground, but he didn’t seem to care. His focus was only on Cassie. He evidently had seen the two women talking and hid behind the tree to listen.

“How dare you speak to my wife about this Jesus!” he screamed at her with his face almost touching hers. “You call this man the Messiah. That is a lie! Blasphemer! Blasphemer!”

He kept screaming until he had a crowd gathered around them and the other men had been incited into a rage. Without waiting to hear what Cassie had said and giving her no time to speak, they grabbed her and dragged her away.

That is how she had ended up in this room. She awaited the men who would take her to where she did not want to go. Her guilt had been declared in the court three years ago, but they continued to hold her in the prison, until this day, with the knowledge that her execution could happen at any time. It was torture, which she knew was the point. Her strength just grew, though, and she was at peace with what was about to happen.

At that moment, she heard footsteps outside the door, keys in the lock and then the door flung open. Three men came in and angrily grabbed her arms, pulled her to her feet and forcefully pushed her out the door. As they walked her to the platform, she shivered with anticipation of what was to come. They took her to a square spot at the middle of the platform and the noose was pulled over her head.

As her sentence was announced, she silently prayed God would flood her and her parents with peace. When the pronouncement was finished, the man nodded to the executioner to carry out the sentence. The executioner walked toward her, looked her in the eyes and spat on her. Cassie gave him a sad smile as he pulled the sackcloth down to cover her face.

She was suddenly filled with a love and peace she never imagined existed. It filled her with joy and her heart burst for her to scream out her love. When the executioner walked away to pull the lever, Cassie cried out, “I love you, Jesus! Come take me home.”

With the echo of her last word spreading over the people gathered to watch, the lever was pulled and the door swung open. But Cassie felt nothing. The darkness of the sackcloth disappeared when she saw the army of angels surrounding her as they ushered her from the gallows into the loving arms of her Savior.

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