Merry CHRISTmas!! I hope you all are having or have had an absolutely wonderful time with family and friends, celebrating the birth of Christ! :D
Today, I'll be sharing a story that I wrote based on a song that I heard a little while ago. If any of you know Lawson Bates, you know that he released a new album recently. One of the songs on that album is called If That Hadn't Been There and I was just so amazed at the story of the man in the song that I just felt it had to be written down somehow. So I wrote this story.
The plot goes by a little fast, I will admit, so please bear with me as I didn't have as much time as I would have liked for this story. Wrote it in less than a week, I believe and the editing *blushes* well, there wasn't too much of that.
Also, it isn't really that much of a Christmas story. I mean, the last part of this story is on Christmas Day, but other than that, there isn't really much in here that says "Christmas". It's more of a salvation story, and an example of how God works in a person's life, no matter who the person is or what they might have done. He loves each and every one of us and He'll always be there for us. No matter what.
So I hope you enjoy this story. Merry Christmas!! ^_^
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
She looked up slowly into the man’s face. They both were still so young - she choked as she thought of the consequences of their actions.
“What is it?” he asked roughly.
“I’m - pregnant,” she said hesitantly.
His eyes widened. Then he shook his head. “No,” he said firmly. “I’m not having anything to do with it. It’s all your fault anyway; told you to take those pills, didn’t I?” He backed out of the room. “You’re on your own.”
She sank down onto a chair and buried her face in her hands. “What am I going to do now?” she whimpered.
She lowered her head as conflicting thoughts filled her mind. Maybe she should consider abortion. It would be easier, and she’d eventually forget that this had ever happened. Right?
Making up her mind, she got into her car and drove to the nearest clinic, ignoring her protesting conscience. Pulling into the parking lot, she turned off the engine and grabbed her purse. Just as she was about to get out, she suddenly saw a group of people standing outside the office. They were carrying signs and pamphlets. One of the signs screamed out at her in big bold black letters:
It’s a CHILD
Not a CHOICE!
Tears filled her eyes until she could barely see. She reached her hand out and turned the key, then slowly backed out of the parking lot.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“How come I don’t have a daddy?”
She looked at her son. “Why, Trevor, everyone has a daddy!”
“So I do have a daddy then?”
“Yes, you do. You’ve just never seen him, that’s all.”
“Oh.” The four-year old boy was silent. Then he asked, “Why?”
“Why what, honey?”
“Why don’t I ever see him?” He turned big blue eyes up to her.
She swallowed, then reached forward and picked him up. Placing him on her lap, she wrapped her hands around him and squeezed him in a tight hug. “You wouldn’t understand quite yet. It’s big boy talk.” She tickled him under his chin. “I’ll explain it to you some other time, ok?”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The years passed by too quickly. Suddenly, she realized her son had become a strong, 16 year old boy on the brink of manhood. Looking into eyes full of defiance, she wondered what had happened to the sweet innocent little boy of yore. She had done her best, but she knew growing up without a father had been hard on her son.
“Trevor. You can’t do this.”
An annoyed glare was sent her way. “Mom,” he said firmly. “It’s fine. I’ve done it several times already. It’s the only thing that I find fun in doing.”
“Why can’t you just spend some time with your girlfriend instead? Helen, wasn’t that what you said her name was?”
He smirked. “I am spending time with her. She’s gonna be out riding with us too.”
She wouldn’t be turned off. “But it’s dangerous, with you in that wild bunch. You all go so fast around those curves,” she shuddered.
“They’re not wild,” he said for the umpteenth time. “They’re my friends and they’re fun to hang out with.”
“They might be fun now,” she warned him. “But they’re going to lead you into trouble some day.”
“I haven’t had any trouble yet, and I don’t think I ever will. I’m a lucky kid,” he laughed lightly as he snatched his hat from the hook and stuck it cockily on his head. He opened the door and strode out.
“See ya later, Mom!”
The door closed with a bang.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Whooweee!” Trevor pulled up beside his friend’s car, tires screeching as he slammed on the brakes.
“I’ll take it you’re enjoyin’ yourself then?” Mike asked drily.
“You bet! It just gets better every time!” He coughed and suddenly sobered. Real cool, Trevor, he scoffed at himself. Pull it together.
His friend grinned to himself, knowing exactly what Trevor was thinking. “You wanna race?”
“Sure!” Trevor’s voice cracked with excitement and he felt heat rise up in his cheeks. “I mean, yeah, that’d be cool.”
“You girls game?” Mike addressed the two girls in their small party, one in his own car, the other in Trevor’s. “Or are ya both too scared?”
“Ha, yeah right, Mikey.” The speaker, sitting beside him, poked him with her perfectly manicured finger. “We’ve done this longer than you boys have. We can so handle this, right, Helen?” She peered into the passenger seat of Trevor’s car where a small girl sat adjusting her makeup in the mirrored sun visor.
“Yep!” she straightened her short blonde ponytail. “You guys never let us drive though,” she pouted prettily. “I think Traci and I could probably drive these things better than you ever could.”
“Challenge excepted,” Mike turned off the engine. “Traci and Helen, you both can use my car, I’ll ride with Trev. Whoever finishes the route first wins.”
“Which route?” Trevor asked as Mike climbed into his car.
“Glory Way,” was the reply.
His eyes widened. Despite the rather nice name, Glory Way was one of the most dangerous routes he had ever been on. It was full of sharp curves and lined with steep ravines that fell away into roaring waters and rocky beds. Many people who went on it ended up going to Gloryland, thus the name Glory Way. As Trevor pondered this, he turned to Mike and shook his head. “You would choose that, wouldn’t you? Won’t the girls be scared of it?”
“Nah,” he poked his head out the window. “Glory Way, ya’ll?”
“You’re on,” Helen revved the engine. “Ready, go!” She and Traci shouted as they shot away.
“Hey!” Trevor frantically released the brake and applied the gas.
“They’re too far ahead,” Mike said, laughing as he saw his car disappear over the horizon.
“What do we do?” Trevor craned his neck forward trying to catch a glimpse of the car.
“Turn left,” Mike instructed quickly. “There’s a shortcut here that we can take.”
The car careened dangerously as he swung to the left and found himself on a narrow road.
“C’mon,” Mike urged. “Faster!”
“I’m gettin’ there, I’m gettin’ there,” Trevor said, trying to concentrate on his driving.
A sharp curve loomed ahead and he unconsciously began braking the car.
“Don’t brake!” Mike looked over at him. “It’s fine! It looks sharp, but it isn’t really that bad. Just speed up a bit.”
“Ok…” Trevor hesitated, then did as Mike told him. He sped up and approached the curve quickly. He swung sharply to the right and heard his tires screeching as they whipped around the bend. Then it was all over. They had made it past the curve.
“Yahoo!” he shouted triumphantly, pumping his arm in the air.
“Told ya,” Mike nodded knowingly, a big grin cracking across his face. “Was I right, or what?” He punched Trevor on the shoulder.
Suddenly, they weren’t on the road anymore. Trevor turned the wheel wildly, trying to get back onto the road. But they were too far along to recover. Mike held onto his arm rest shouting instructions at Trevor. Trevor tried to obey, but all he could see was the ground up ahead where it dropped away to nothingness.
He closed his eyes.
There was a loud crash and he knew no more.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Fingers. Brushing across his forehead. What was happening? Where was he? He struggled to open his eyes and after great effort was able to crack them open a bit.
“Trevor,” a figure leaned over him. “Honey, are you awake?”
Who on earth? His vision cleared and he realized it was his mother.
“Hey Mom,” he said hoarsely. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the hospital, baby.”
Normally he rebelled against being called ‘baby’, but this time around he had more important things to figure out.
“Well, you were out riding with Mike and Helen and Traci. Do you remember that?” She looked at him with concern written all over her face.
“Yeah,” he said. “Mike and I went over a curve, and I made it,” he grinned slightly as he remembered the triumph that had surged through him. Then he frowned. “Then Mike punched me and then - and then we weren’t on the road anymore. And we went into the ravine.”
A sudden thought hit him. If they had gone into the ravine, how on earth was he still alive? The chances for anyone surviving a fall into one of Glory Way’s ravine was like … 0%.
Almost as if she could read his mind, his mother said softly, “You didn’t go into the ravine, Trevor.”
Confusion flooded his face.
“There was a sycamore tree in your path. You crashed into that. But the tree kept you safe. You were only about a 100 feet away from the edge of the ravine.” A tear slipped down her cheek. “You were so close to death-” she choked then wrapped Trevor in her arms. “I might never have seen you again.”
As he sat within his mother’s arms, he tried to think about what had happened. There was so much shock. Shock at how close to death he come to. Shock at the tree that had saved his life. Well, his and Mike’s life.
At the remembrance of Mike, he pulled away from his mother. “Where’s Mike? I want to see him.”
“You can’t, honey,” she replied gently. “I’m sorry.”
“Why not?” he asked. “I promise not to overexert myself.”
“Trevor…” she hesitated. He saw something strange enter her eyes. There were so many emotions mixed into her gaze he felt confused. Sadness, thankfulness, fear, joy.
“What happened?” he asked anxiously. Dread filled his heart.
“The car crashed on his side. I’m sorry, honey, but,” she swallowed hard. “Mike’s dead.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Trevor!” There was a blur of movement, then he found himself holding a petite blonde girl in his arms.
“Oh Trevor,” she sobbed. “How dare you scare me like that?”
“Hey, it’s not like I planned it,” he pulled her hair teasingly. “It’s ok now, Helen.”
She lifted a tear-stained face towards his. “Traci and I were waiting for you and it took forever and then your Mom called and said you had crashed, and I thought you had gone down the ravine and - and-” Her blue eyes brimmed with tears.
He hugged her. “Well, I’m glad to know you care that much about me.”
She wiped the tears away, then punched him. “Don’t you ever do that to me again.”
“Ok. I’ll do my best.” Trevor grinned. “It wouldn’t do to have me dead would it?”
She shook her head violently.
“That’d wreck all of our plans,” he continued. “I mean, we have to wait a few more years still, but we’ve gotta get ourselves hitched sometime. Dontcha think?”
He looked at her and was satisfied to see a smile spread across her face.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Gal standin’ in front of me… I do thee wed,” he whispered in her ear.
Helen giggled. “First of all, it’s not time to say that. And second, I do have a name!”
“Yeahh, I know,” he drawled. “Wish you’d hurry up though. All this fussin’-”
“Trevor!” His mother hurried into the room. “You leave my future daughter-in-law alone. Let the poor girl do her ‘fussin’, it’s not everyday she’s gonna be married.”
He sighed. “Women.”
She poked him. “You go wait upstairs. Your bride’ll be coming sooner than you know.”
He turned to leave, but was caught by a fierce hug from his mother. “I’m so proud of you,” she whispered. “God has truly blessed you, you know that?”
“Mom,” he said with a warning note in his voice. “Let’s not talk about God right now, ok? I’m not in the mood for another long discussion. Let’s all just be happy with the moment right now and not ruin it with all the religious talk. ‘Kay?”
She nodded slowly. “If that’s what you wish,” she said quietly. She gave him a kiss on the forehead, then turned back to attend Helen.
Trevor shook his head. His mom had gone to a church some years back and come back declaring herself a Christian. He had never understood why she’d bother with all the nuisances of religion, but it was her choice. So long as she didn’t bother him about it, he was fine with whatever it was she did.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“May I have the honour of presenting to you,” the preacher cleared his throat. “Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Davies.”
Trevor grinned at her and pulled out a blue suede hat. “Here you go, my lovely gal.”
“Trev,” she breathed. “It’s beautiful!”
“Let’s go eat that cake,” Trevor grabbed her hand.
She followed willingly.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Helen?” He entered the house, keeping the bouquet of wildflowers behind his back. They had left on hostile terms the night before his cattle drive, and he regretted it. He had looked forward to making up with her the minute he got back home. But when he entered the house, he knew something was wrong. It was too dark. And quiet.
He walked into the bedroom. The first thing he saw was her blue hat lying on the neatly made bed. He picked it up and noticed a piece of paper underneath it.
Sorry Trevor. I can’t do this anymore.
I need a new life, so I’m going to the city.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
First Mike. Now Helen. The thought passed through his mind for the thousandth time. He groaned. Life just wasn’t for him. I’m a lucky kid. He scoffed as he remembered what he had told his mom all those years ago. Sooooo lucky.
He drained the bottle next to him. He was so sick of all these cheap hotels. Misery was all he knew nowadays. There was nothing to live for. Nothing. At. All.
“Sir?” A firm knock came at his door.
“Who is it?” he drawled lazily.
The door opened and the hotel manager opened his door. “Sir, you’re overdue on your payment. I’m going to have to ask that you pay up by tomorrow, or we’ll have to send you on your way.”
“Yeah, whatever,” he popped the cover off another bottle and tossed the old one into the growing pile behind him.
The manager looked at him warily. “I’m telling you, this is the last warning, sir.” He withdrew his head quickly as a bottle flew towards him, smashing into the door he hastily closed.
Trevor rolled his eyes. Overdue payments. Seems like that was all he heard. If he could just end this somehow. . .
An idea suddenly hit him. He reached down and grabbed his black duffel bag. Unzipping it, he reached inside and pulled out the small pistol lying inside.
“Don’t do it!” a small voice screamed through his drunken mind. “You can change and have another chance at life.”
He laughed hoarsely. “Yeah right,” he spoke to himself out loud. “Another chance at life. Why would I want to do this all over again?”
He hesitated as he remembered the happy times he had had with his mother, with his friends, with Helen. Then Mike’s death and Helen’s betrayal flooded his mind and anger filled his soul. “Everyone I ever loved has gone. There’s no one left to love me. I don’t have anything to lose,” he told himself firmly.
He checked the pistol and realized it was empty. Stumbling over to the bedside drawer, he jerked it open and reached inside. Instead of pulling out the box of cartridges, he pulled out a worn out book.
“What is this?” he mumbled, flipping through the pages. He inspected a page with bleary eyes, and was caught by one phrase that seemed to repeat itself. Over. And over.
“The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valour.”
“The Lord is with us.”
“I will be with you.”
“The Lord is with you… the Lord is with you. . . with me.”
He put down the pistol.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him, born the King of angels
O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord!”
Trevor listened outside the building quietly. Swallowing hard, he gathered up his courage and pushed open the door of the church. The final chords of the song had just finished playing and there was silence as Trevor made his appearance.
He could see apprehension in the flood of faces before him. Disapproval in some. Blank in others. He took courage at the few that seemed to show some kindness and sympathy.
Then the whispers started.
“What’s he doing here?”
“This is God’s house, who let the drifter in?”
He was about to turn and run when a man detached himself from the front rows and came toward him, a kind smile on his face.
The man shook his hand, saying, “Welcome to the church. What brings you here today? What’s your story, sir?”
There was something in the man’s face that touched Trevor’s heart. He never thought he would be able to tell anyone the story of his life, but this man - this man seemed special. Almost instinctively, he knew that the man before him would understand. He had come to the right place.
Still, he was a bit shy in sharing with the entire congregation. He looked down and said in a low voice, “Well, since you asked. . .”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
There must have been tears in every pair of eyes in that church. Trevor had told them the whole story from before his existence to now.
The preacher, Edward, wiped away the tears in his own eyes. “Trevor,” he said in a husky voice. “God and His grace has certainly been with you. You understand that, don’t you?”
“I’m starting to,” Trevor paused, then asked. “Who is Gideon?”
Edward smiled and explained, telling Trevor the whole story of Gideon. “Gideon was the least in his family, the weakest and the lowest-”
“And yet God chose him for His plan for Israel,” Trevor finished his sentence.
“So God still has something in mind for me? He’s going to use me for something?”
“I believe so,” the preacher said firmly. “In fact, He may already have used you in a way you and I don’t realize yet.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Rachel?” Edward poked his head into the kitchen. The strong aroma of spices and roasting turkey filled the room and he sniffed it appreciatively. His wife was briskly stirring something in a pot over the stove.
He gave her a quick kiss, saying, “I’m going to head over to Trevor’s and tell him the news. I’ll be home in time for our Christmas dinner though.”
“Alright,” she smiled at him. “Hurry home though. I’m making your favourite cookies for dessert.”
He grinned broadly. “Will do. Are the girls and Ben home yet?”
“No. They’re still out carolling. Maybe on your way back you can pick them up.”
Edward nodded as he buttoned up his coat. “I’ll see you later then, Rach.”
He began driving through the snow covered streets towards the hotel that Trevor was staying in. Two weeks had passed by since Trevor first came to their church and Edward wasn’t sure Trevor knew just how much of a blessing he had been to his family. He had come over to the pastor’s house several times and he and Edward had had many deep discussions on the soul. Edward smiled. And it hadn’t just been Trevor that had been learning something.
He found Trevor’s hotel and entered the lobby. “I’m here to visit Trevor Davies,” he told the receptionist.
She looked up at him quickly and said, “Are you a relative of his?”
“Nooo…” he said. “As far as I know, Trevor doesn’t have any living relatives.”
“Oh,” her face fell. “Well, Trevor was taken to the hospital earlier this afternoon. Something about his lungs. If you want to visit him, I’d suggest you hurry.”
Edward’s eyes widened. She gave him the hospital name and he hurried away. After a short drive, he reached the hospital. A nurse led him to the room Trevor was staying in. “If you need us, just ring the bell,” she told him before leaving him before the door. He knocked quickly.
“Come in,” Trevor’s voice said.
He entered the room and found Trevor laying on the bed.
“Pastor Edward!” he greeted him with a smile. He tried to rise, but Edward hurriedly said, “Don’t bother. I’ll just sit over here.”
He nodded and settled back into the bed.
“What happened?” Edward looked at him with concern. “I went to your hotel, but the receptionist told me I’d find you here.”
“And find me you did,” Trevor grinned slightly. “Why were you lookin’ for me?”
“Well,” Edward removed his coat. “I came to wish you a Merry Christmas. And to thank you.”
“Me?” Trevor looked confused. “What did I do?”
“You remember my son, Ben?”
Trevor nodded slowly, still not understanding.
“For years, he has been struggling with his faith. He was afraid of Christianity. He didn’t believe God was real, and he wasn’t sure he even wanted to be a Christian. Rachel and I prayed every single day for him, but he never seemed interested in it. That is, until you came to the church.” Edward looked Trevor in the eyes. “You remember how we said that God had a plan for you? Was going to use you in some way special?”
“Well, He did, Trevor. Your story convicted Ben and he was amazed at how God had worked in your life. And he accepted Christ.”
“Wow, Pastor,” Trevor shook his head. “God really did use me for somethin’ special.”
“He most certainly did.” Edward grasped Trevor’s hand. “Thank you, Trevor.”
Trevor grinned. “Thank you for tellin’ me. Just ‘bout as good as a Christmas present.”
Edward suddenly remembered where he was. “By the way, what are you doing in the hospital?”
“I kinda had a collapse at the hotel and they brought me here,” Trevor said. “No wish of mine, but what can I say? At least the bed’s comfortable.”
“What are you in for?”
Trevor smiled wryly. “The doctor said I have a collapsed lung.”
Edward sucked in a breath. “But- how bad is it?”
“Bad,” Trevor said frankly. “He said I won’t live ‘till mornin’.”
Edward sat in shocked silence. Trevor was about to say something when a fit of coughing arrested him. After it had passed, he lay back on the pillows, exhausted. “These coughs just seem to be getting worse,” he said, more to himself than to Edward. He looked at the man sitting beside him. “I have - I have something else to tell you too, Pastor.”
His voice was quieter than before and Edward had to lean closer to hear. “I asked Christ to come into my heart - and now I’m a child of God.”
The words were simple. But they were enough.
“You know, it was funny. At first I was scared of dyin’,” Trevor confessed. “But then I was saved.”
Edward felt tears in his eyes. “And I’m so glad you did,” he said huskily.
Another fit of coughing gripped the sick man. He smiled tiredly at Edward. “And then I realized that it must be God’s Christmas present to me. Somethin’ wonderful.”
“What is?” Edward wondered what it could possibly be.
Trevor’s face shone with excitement. “Just think,” he said, joy filling his eyes. “I’ll get to see Christ tonight!”