No, this was too much! How could someone who had been dead for four days walk out of that tomb? I knew the story, but I was surprised at my response to this version of it. Every fibre of my being rebelled against what I had read. Except my heart. And it would not stay quiet. Whatever argument I threw at it, it seemed to tell me that this too was the truth. I could not move forward; I was stuck and did not want to read any more. This story cast a cloud of doubt on all the others. Why should I read on?
Yet Benjamin believed it. And the other stories I had read so far rang true. I read Benjamin’s letter again
‘The next story may stretch your mind beyond the point it is prepared to go…’
You could say that again! It was obvious that Benjamin had had trouble believing it himself at first. He had given himself a few days before he came to his conclusion. If he could do that, then the least I could do was honour him by doing the same.
I read his final paragraph again.
‘Open your mind, Ben. Do not let your understanding limit you. Some things are just not there for the understanding but rather for the believing.’
It took me longer than a few days. I had some time at home with my family during the summer break. I considered sharing the stories with my mother. I was sure she would have no trouble believing them. But Benjamin’s words of warning to keep them secret until I had read them all rang in my mind.
My heart would not let me forget them. Deep inside me I knew, or perhaps felt, that Rebekah’s story was true. Why would she lie? Others at the time must have witnessed the event; and it was not a story that would find her favour with the Jewish or the Roman authorities. There was no point in making it up. In fact, she was brave to share it.
One morning while I was at home I went for a walk across the hills behind the house. I wished Benjamin was with me to explain things to me. I was getting nowhere with my tussle. As I strode across the hillside I stopped and cried out loud,
‘Okay, God, I think Benjamin is right and this is a case of believing and not understanding. I don’t think I will ever understand. I am going to try to open my mind right now so that I can at least believe.’
As I finished saying the words and tried to lay aside all the doubts and questions I had, a warm feeling washed through me, and suddenly my heart was at peace. The struggle I had had for the previous few weeks melted away and I knew in my heart and my mind that Rebekah was telling the truth.
I stood still on that hillside, shocked by the wonder of it all. My mind kept asking how, but it had lost the battle. My heart had won.
I had not taken the stories to my parent’s house. I did not want anyone chancing upon them. So it was only when I returned to my own home at the beginning of the new academic year that I picked up the packet again.
I imagine you are reading this because you believe rather than understand. I am glad. I have prayed for this moment, and I thank God for it.
The next story moved me to tears. How unfair we are to one another and how quick to judge. The woman’s act of gratitude leaves me feeling sad. It is too late now for me to start blessing others as an outpouring of my love for God. But it is not too late for you, Ben. What can you do to show your love for God? May he bless you as you bless others because you love him.
I was still not at all sure that I did love God. Benjamin’s growing faith was accelerating faster than mine. Yes, I did not feel the same about God as I had when I first started reading, but showing God my love by blessing others was the change that was required of me. The thought of it almost made me afraid, and I was still not sure if I was ready to make it.
Benjamin had never been one to show emotion and so his admission about how the next story had touched him intrigued me.
I began to read Mary’s story