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    Monday
    Jan232012

    22-Rapha's Moment With HIM

    (THE FALL, Ch. 4, pp42-45)

    Lucifer’s voice was in his ear.  “Ooh, you’re in trouble now.  Wait ‘til Daddy hears about this.”  Reaching toward the mound of dead and dying, Lucifer plucked up a tiny, struggling rabbit.  Too late, Rapha realized his intent and fought against invisible bonds as, with one sharp twist, Lucifer detached one of the rabbit’s legs, relishing its pain-filled shriek and Rapha’s mute struggle. 

    “This is a momentous occasion.  A proud angel is taught humility.”  Lucifer squatted beside Rapha and shoved the writhing bunny into his face.  “Take note little beast.  This is the first to shed innocent blood in Adonai’s new world.”  With a gentle caress, he held the mangled creature close.  Then, gazing into Rapha’s eyes, he squeezed tighter and tighter, his gaze never wavering through the cracking of tiny bones and terrified shrieks until, finally, the mound of fur ceased twitching. 

    Lucifer tossed the limp form into Rapha’s face, then brought forth the severed leg and pressed it against the angel’s mouth.  “Here.  Kiss it.  Perhaps it will bring me luck.”

    As Lucifer stood to leave, Rapha felt his body and tongue released but had no will to fight.  With the blood still warm on his lips and proof of his foolishness displayed before him, he remained kneeling, his spirit as broken as the animals’ bodies.

    “Remember this position,” Lucifer stated from above.  “I know I will.”

    With that, Rapha was once more alone atop the mountain.  If not for the suffering before him, he might have crawled away in shame.  Even with countless years of experiencing Adonai’s fathomless love, his faith in the face of such guilt failed.  But he could not abandon the innocence he had helped to crush. 

    “Please, Adonai,” he whispered, “come and heal.”

    At first, the only difference was a new scent.  Instead of the metallic smell of blood, there was a fragrance of sweet, honey-filled blooms and a particular type of fruit that grew only before Adonai’s throne.  All was borne on a breeze of such unreasonable love that Rapha felt he could slip into glorious delirium if he took one deep breath.  As it was, he kept his breathing shallow.   He was unworthy of such a gift.

    Then someone touched his shoulder.  Warmth flooded his being and the sweet scent took physical form in his mouth, becoming the purest nectar that flowed over his tongue.  But the bitterness of guilt welled up to repel this glorious intruder.

    “Please,” a soft voice with the magnitude of a surging ocean spoke, “To heal them, you must first be healed.”

    The kindness of that voice was a wedge to the vault of his pain.  A trickle of purity slipped inside exposing the venom that sought to infiltrate every fiber of his being.  The deep shadows were no match for that piercing light.   Yet still Rapha resisted.  He did not deserve absolution, much less this absolute bliss offered freely to his tortured soul.  Besides, there was a question to be answered.

    With his head still bowed, Rapha asked, “I sense the presence of Adonai, but He cannot dwell with impurity.  Who are you?”

    Rather than words, Rapha heard the most unexpected sound.  Laughter.  With a warm updraft the soil sighed, a flock of graceful birds took flight, the branches of surrounding trees waved as if applauding and, deep underground, Rapha felt the murmur of earth’s bones straining closer.  Even the whimpers of the suffering animals hushed.  Surprised, Rapha looked up.

    It was the man who had offered restoration to Lucifer so long ago before Adonai’s throne.  In contrast to Lucifer’s glory, the man bore a rough garment and unremarkable features.  However, Rapha sensed distilled power as if the sun’s radiation were compressed into an earthen vessel.  Rapha’s sadness and guilt could not exist before those eyes that peered unhindered into the core of his being and pulsed with delight.  The power was soft and malleable, like water, trickling into every hidden place but capable of breaking the proudest rock with its patient assault.

    As a mother might tend a messy child, the stranger lifted the edge of his sleeve to Rapha’s mouth and wiped away the blood.  Rapha blinked in amazement as the garment absorbed the stain, leaving only snowy whiteness in its wake.

    His senses probed into fathomless confidence and unbreakable love.  Questions pulled at his mind but they too bowed, swallowed in this One who embodied the meaning of all things. 

    The familiar stranger breathed across the animals.  One by one every wound healed and the shy creatures crept forward to nuzzle, perch, scamper, and slither to their heart’s delight.  Once again, creation was gifted with His laughter.  This time Rapha, awed that his failure was transformed into this moment of joy, also laughed.

    He stared in wonder at the humble, human profile that contained the sum of Adonai’s character, discovering delight in the paradox.  Why couple earthly flesh with divinity?  Then again, at his lowest moment, this One provided what Rapha needed; not the Almighty surrounded in blinding holiness, but this Holy One choosing to wrap Himself in vulnerability. 

    Ultimate power choosing humility?  Yes, that would be inconceivable to Lucifer. 

    But, wasn’t this One destined to appear thousands of years in humanity’s future?

    The Son of Man addressed the unspoken query.  “What I will do is already recorded in eternity.  That moment is as the pinnacle of this mountain.  Those on either side can look up, ponder, and climb toward its height.” 

    Even as Rapha grappled with this concept, he noticed something odd.  The tiny, abused hare struggled on only three legs as it tried to climb into the lap of its healer. 

    Once again the man answered his thoughts.  “This small one is a sign to all creation.”  As He spoke, the three-legged creature stepped timidly onto His palm, drawing Rapha’s attention to a scarred gash in the Holy One’s hand.  As He drew the animal to His breast, Rapha noted a matching wound on the back of the other hand as well.

    The soothing voice continued, “This age will be well-acquainted with corruption and cruelty, yet the greatest beauty and strength will thrive in that environment.  Adonai will never leave them comfortless.”  He placed a kiss on the animal’s head, then set it upon the ground.  As if understanding its purpose, the creature hopped toward the forest without looking back.

    Rapha pondered the Holy One’s words as he watched the small outline merge with shadows.  When he turned toward his mysterious companion, he discovered the man was gone.  There were two spots of bruised grass where His knees had rested and, as Rapha watched, they filled with water as if an underground spring had been tapped.  When the puddles overflowed, they began to trickle in opposite directions down each side of the mountain’s face.  Rapha raised himself to hover above the ground and watch each shallow stream become a widening river.  Within moments they were digging deep grooves in solid rock and splashing to the valley below, their force carving twin canyons that rejoined for the journey to the sea. 

    In the pounding waters, Rapha heard echoes of the Holy One’s laughter.

    (end excerpt)

    ************************

    It's your turn. Please give your feedback... and remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page for more information about The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL.

    

    Reader Comments (7)

    Did anyone catch the quote from one of my top five favorite movies??

    January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChana

    Dear Ms. Keefer,
    My name is Alex Szollo, I'm 21 years old, I live in Timisoara, Romania, and I'm nuts about reading.
    I've been able to read ever since the age of 3 and a half, when my wonderful mother, the greatest gift I have from God, discovered that the efforts she'd put into teaching me the letters to compensate my Cerebral Palsy had paid off. Since that age, I've read countless books of EVERY SINGLE genre possible.
    The first book I read cover to cover was a beautifully illustrated children's version of the Bible. I thank God every day and night for having a religious upbringing. I strongly believe in God, and am proud(in all the good ways) to say it.
    The story of the fall of Lucifer, and subsequently the fall of man has always been fascinating to me. It is a reminder of what arrogance and disobedience can do. I'll be the first to admit that my rebellious nature is something that defines me. I'm a huge rock fan, I can sometimes be loudmouthed and hot-tempered, but I would never even think of thinking of rebelling against God. God gave me the greatest gift of all. While the science of man proclaimed me dead, God begged to differ and gave me life. I will always be grateful to God for who I am today.
    I heard about your novel THE FALL 2 days ago, by coincidence, while I was looking for Biblical novels online. I don't know what the book is like, because I haven't read it. I can tell you, though, what it sounds like to me. It sounds like one of those books that change lives for the better. It sounds like what would happen if JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis would team up to tell a story about how destructive arrogance is. And last but not least, it sounds like my kind of read.
    I would LOVE to read your novel, but it's not available here in Romania, and I can't order it online, as I have no credit card. The only way I can "pay" you for a copy of the book is a review on my blog, where I talk about all kinds of books that I find remarkable. If I sent you my home address and promised a review of THE FALL on my blog, could you send me a signed copy of your epic novel? I solemnly swear I won't mind a negative answer. As a Christian, I've learned to treat every answer to every request I have with the utmost respect, and so I will do with yours as well.
    May God guide your steps and fill your heart with His everlasting love.
    Respectfully,
    Alex Szollo, God-hungry reader.

    August 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Szollo

    Dear Alex,

    You have no idea how your message has totally blessed my socks off today. I will be happy to send you a signed copy of THE FALL in return for one of the most eloquent requests I have ever heard for ANYTHING.

    In the meantime, here is a link for the audio version of the first chapter that's on Soundcloud:

    http://soundcloud.com/chana-vowell-keefer/the-fall-the-rapha-chronicles?utm_campaign=timeline&utm_content=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fchana-vowell-keefer%2Fthe-fall-the-rapha-chronicles&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=soundcloud#_=_

    BTW, you had me from JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis ;)

    Hugs and prayers for God's very best to be poured out on and through your life!

    Chana

    August 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterChana

    I feel honored that you accepted my request. From the excerpts, I can tell that you're one of Christian fiction's most daring voices, which is what this genre needs.
    My home address is as follows: str. Frunzei, nr. 25, ap.2, postal code 300495, Timisoara, Romania. May the blessing of God flow through you and your loved ones.
    Respectfully,
    Alex Szollo, self-confessed rebel and God-hungry reader.

    August 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Szollo

    He's not a "tame lion," eh? These days you have to have a rebellious streak to make swimming against the world's current possible.

    I'll get this in the mail asap, and I can't wait to see your reviews--hopefully everywhere!!

    God bless you, my fellow self-confessed, God-hungry rebel,

    Chana

    August 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterChana

    Alex,

    For you or any of your friends who want to read THE FALL right now--there is a free Kindle app on Amazon then the download price is only 3.99.

    Anyway, here is the free Kindle app link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

    There are even books offered for FREE for brief promo periods as well as sites that keep a running tab on Kindle Free offerings.

    Hope that helps,

    Chana

    Your book is in the mail today. Got there like a minute too late yesterday :(

    August 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterChana

    Once again, I'm honored that you accepted my request. I will review the book when I finish reading it and share the review with you.
    Eternally grateful,
    Alex Szollo, the world's luckiest rebel.

    August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Szollo

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