He didn't know what to say. He felt helpless. What to do, where to go, who to turn to... It was the same everywhere he went. In church the guys poked fun at him because of his different style of dress, the shoes he wore, and the people he associated with. And at home, his father could not understand him because his interests and passions were so different. In town, he could party with the guys to an extent but when he came to his limit, then the teasing began.
The leader of the gang stood before him, like a giant towering a mouse, he thought to himself. The rest of the members gathered in a tight circle around him. He didn't know what was to become of him, but he knew it wouldn't be good. The leader was a tough guy; the events of his short life had made him that way. The leader started mocking him and the gang members joined in. All because he refused to go with them on a raid to a convenient store down the block. Then someone threw the first punch and the others joined in. He let them beat him, feeling as if he didn't have the strength or the will to fight even one of them, never mind eight of them. And soon, he began to feel light headed. Then, he fell to the ground, yet still they hit. And kicked. And spat. Soon he lost consciousness.
Low voices and a dim light greeted the awakened senses of him as he came to. He was laying on a couch... somewhere. He didn't recognize his surroundings, nor the people who were talking. They were in another room and he couldn't see them. The room he was in appeared to be a living room. And there was a door. Not knowing where he was, he was afraid to stay. He didn't want the pity of unknown people. Moving slowly and muffling a groan, he silently gained the door and was outside and far away in a matter of seconds.
He walked on as fast as he was able. All he wanted was to get away from everything he knew. He paused at a pharmacy store and bought a few things to clean himself up. Then he continued on his way. Soon he reached a place that once had been a glory in its day but was now reduced to a shabby spread. The old plantation house was for sale, with all of its furniture and belongings. It was his refuge. Not the house, but what the house contained. Swiftly his feet tread the well known way to the former music room. Pausing in the door, he laughed. It was a hallow laugh, one of mocking himself. Then he crossed to the piano and lifted the lid. Gently he ran his fingers down the keys and then seated himself at the bench. He paused, then his fingers were off. He played his bruises balm, his cuts bandaged, his sorrows to fly, his heart to soar... Yet, in the midst of this song from his heart, his soul was not still; it was restless and even the thing that could comfort him in all other ways, the music could not satisfy his soul. After an hour of solace, he stood up and shut the piano lid. Then he turned, retraced his steps to the front door, and vacated the house. He did not know that his music had been heard or shared to someone else.
At church the next day, the guys were at him. They told him he couldn't fight his own battles, that his friends were not friends, and that he was alone. And indeed, he did feel alone. The minister preached of a place where sins and failings and troubles could never hurt or harm him and he cried. He wanted that place. And the next minister spoke of a perfect peace and joy and life in the redemption and love of the Saviour, and he wanted that too. But he could not find it, no mater what he did. So his heart was at war for he was in darkness and he wanted light, he was of an defiled heart and he wanted a loving and tender conscience, and he was of a troubled and afflicted countenance, and he wanted a calm, peaceful, and trusting soul.
Many years went by, and his friends from the gang left. He no longer was good enough for them. But he didn't care. The guys at church went their own ways. Some of them came to him with a troubled and sorrowed conscience for the way they had been towards him and he had forgiven them. Some had left the church. Some had died. Some had married. And some had moved away. But he stayed. The plantation house was still for sale. It was his place to hide. The music eased his body and mind. But still he could find no peace for his soul.
His mother sensed that he was struggling with something but he would not share and she would not push to know. She prayed for him. One night she crept into his room when she thought he was sleeping and knelt on the floor beside his bed. There she poured out a cry to her Heavenly Father, that He would see her son, and help him in whatever his struggles were. She prayed aloud softly on her knees beside her son's bed long past midnight. Then she rose, kissed him on the forehead, and softly crept from the room with a feeling of peace surrounding her.
He had not been sleeping, but laying curled up with his back towards her, and crying silently as he heard his mother pray. When she left he sat up in his bed, turned on his lamp, and reached for his Bible. It was worn from the hours of use, when his troubled and restless heart could not find peace and he had searched and searched for comfort, yet he could not find it for his soul. Tonight he breathed a silent prayer and without knowing where to open to, his Bible fell open to Isaiah and he began to read: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6) Then a light of joy flooded his soul and peace came to him as he realized that it was his Saviour, all his Saviour, and not him. Not his works, his actions, his deeds... But no. It was grace from God for him. He knelt down on the floor by his bed and wept with tears of thanksgiving and gladness. He could only pray, "Thank you Father, for your wonderful grace. Thank you. Thank you." But it was heard in heaven, and the even the angels rejoiced.
Sunday came and after the service, he was given the grace and the strength to repent in an open confession among the congregation. And as the many souls proclaimed to him that he could believe even all his sins forgiven in the name and precious and atoning blood of Jesus, he wept. It was a beautiful day for him.
He was strengthened every day in faith and love to his Saviour and often sang praises unto his Father in Heaven. He bought the old plantation house where he had spent many hours in, and continued his music. But now he wrote it down and wrote words for it, and all his music was the song of the redemption and the grace he had found. God gave him a loving wife and blessed them with children. And the children grew up and were told of Jesus and His love for them. And each were given the grace to believe for themselves. It was a joy to his heart and to his wife's heart.
He grew older. He was a minister for the Word of God and told the story of his awakening many times. God gave him the sense to know which of the young men were struggling in the place he did for many years and he talked and shared and encouraged these men. His children grew up and too soon left their home for homes of their own. It was a joy to him but a sorrow.
Then his wife died. His wife for forty eight years. His heart was burdened with sorrow but his joy was still in his God. He was feeble but for years continued preaching and proclaiming God's word. Then came the day that he knew to be his last. He could not any longer rise from bed and his speech was limited. Another minister was with him, and his eldest son. The man suddenly burst into a spontaneous song of praise and glory to the Saviour of his soul. Then his hands raised up before him and dropped down. A beautiful smile was fixed on his face. He turned to the ones that were with him. "Behold my Father is coming to take even me to His side. Do not loose sight of the blood stained pathway nor stray from His bleeding side. Soon we shall meet again." And with a cry of joy, he departed into eternal and everlasting glory to be with his Saviour."