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Tough Love In Christ's Millennium

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Excerpt from Book One, Chapter Five

In Chapter 5, "The Crossroads", conscience-stricken Susanna meets someone who can help.

The noisy chatter of dolphins and sea gulls mingled with the soft babble of diners at the charming cafe where Lydia and her party sat outdoors to enjoy an early dinner. She felt refreshed by the misty sea breeze which wafted through the resort area, leaving a taste of salt on the tip of the tongue.

Freshly showered and dressed, they were all quite hungry as they awaited their meal of simple beach fare. Suddenly Susanna fidgeted in her chair.

“What’s up, Susanna?” inquired Lydia.

“I...uh...lost somethin’, Miss Lydia. Just relax. I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

Frantically Susanna began to retrace her steps. “Oh no...oh no!” she moaned, wringing her hands . “My mom gave it to me! It just dropped off my neck! Now where on earth was I? Oh, dear Lord!”

Before Susanna could reenter the women’s bathing area, she was approached by a young man clad in a white tunic and trousers. Susanna noted the shimmering cleanliness of his elegant garments, and the absence of wet sand on his shoes, which shone like burnished brass.

How eerie, thought Susanna. No one else seemed to notice that man, whose fine apparel seemed so out of place on the beach. She studied him more closely. He was looking only at her. His face glowed with those wondrous qualities very familiar to one who lived in the Kingdom Age. He must be an immortal saint. All of them, regardless of individual personality, exuded that same soul-stirring loveliness of countenance; an expression so compellingly alive with divine goodness and love; sweet graces of the Holy Spirit which rejoiced the hearts of mortal believers who encountered those clothed in Christ’s likeness. But really, could it possibly be him?

Kindly he extended his hand and inquired, “Does this belong to you, Susanna?”

There it was, safe in the palm of his hand. Her treasured pendant, with its simple gold chain and single glimmering pearl. The one she always wore beneath her clothing, hidden from little Aaron’s grasping hands. She had forgotten to remove it when changing into her swimsuit, and her mind was so preoccupied, she hadn’t even noticed its absence when she showered and changed back into her clothes.

Tears rushed to the little woman’s eyes. To think she could have lost it forever. It was of modest monetary value, compared to Lydia’s vast hoard of riches. But Susanna’s mother had saved a long time to purchase that treasure, a rare milkrose pearl, for her eldest daughter.

“My mom’s pendant!” cried Susanna, in joy and relief. “Oh, thank you, Sir! How on earth could I ever have lost it to begin with?”

The stranger knew. “Your chain was defective; it broke. Therefore the pearl was lost to you. I took the liberty of replacing that weak chain with one more worthy of your mother’s pearl.”

How beautiful the intricately wrought chain was; indeed, its rich lustre almost diverted the eye from the pastel gem it held.

“Oh, Sir!” breathed Susanna. “It’s lovely! It’s strong-lookin’, too! By the way, where’s the other one?”

“It washed out to sea,” said the kindly gentleman. “Shall I retrieve it for you?”

Susanna was flabbergasted. How could anyone possibly reclaim so miniscule an object lost in the vast depths of the sea? “Oh no, Sir! Please don’t bother! This one is so much nicer. Anyhow, my mom’s money went into the pearl, not that fake gold chain. She’ll be thrilled to see the new one.”

The stranger smiled tenderly. “I can assure you, Susanna, this chain is precious and wrought of the purest gold. It will neither corrupt nor tarnish.”

How kind, how caring, her mysterious companion was. Enraptured, Susanna asked, ”Oh, Sir, how can I ever thank you?”

As she received the gem from his hand, her soul was held fast in his fathomless gaze. His smile sobered into into a look of paternal reproach. “You know, Susanna,” he patiently replied, as if he had dealt with her before. “Come with me now. Our King seeks His own lost treasure. His business requires all urgency.”

Part of her longed to follow him, to pour out her heart to him, to cast away the burden of her tormented soul. But her weaker side prevailed.

“Not now, please Sir,” she whimpered. “Miss Lydia’s been through hell. She needs me, Sir. She mustn't go through still more, not even for my sake!”

Sorrowfully the stranger turned and walked away. After he’d gone some distance, Susanna saw him fade into thin air.

“Oh, my Lord, it was him!” she shrieked. She raced back to the cafe.

The gasping governess reseated herself at the round patio table. Lydia smiled coyly. “I caught a glimpse of you flirting with someone. Why didn’t you invite your boy friend to have a bite with us?”

“Uh...he wasn’t hungry, Miss Lydia. He had to head on back to work.”