There is no one quite like good ol’ Joe. He is certainly no ordinary Joe.
Joe is rich – perhaps the richest man in the world. Definitely the richest man in the country.
But, what sets Joe apart more than his riches is his sheer righteousness. In Joe we do not find the expected pomp, haughtiness, arrogance, ruthless, dispassionate, disdain for those of less means – in fact we find the opposite.
In Joe we find, instead, a man who is passionate about his family. A man who loves his children and finds ways to keep them in the forefront of his mind even though business, life, and wealth command much of his time. In Joe we find a man who is compassionate and turns no one in need away. We find a man who does not scold or lecture the masses for their laziness and ignorance and thereby hordes his wealth.
In Joe we find also a devout man. A man of such means you would expect to find a self-reliance and self-sufficiency that would tend to exclude God, the Divine, and the Supernatural. But not Joe. Joe has an altar of prayer he visits daily – no matter the pressure and demands of the day.
In Joe, we find all we wish humanity to be. Let us go then… Let us walk a mile in Joe’s shoes…
“You’re travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop…”
Another Day In Paradise
Joe awakens, well before the sun begins to share its light and warmth.
“Ahhh… Good morning love,” Joe’s first words of the day – directed at his beautiful wife. When Joe looks at her he can hardly believe his luck! What had this woman seen in him all those years ago? Before the large house, the land purchases, the booming business? Joe feels truly blessed to have such a stunning woman lock arms with him in the gatherings they attend. Even after the children were born, she maintained her figure. If anything, the children seem to added to her radiance! And to think, Joe wakes up every day of his life to greet this woman with a kiss. Joe is blessed.
“Too bad I cannot spend my day right here with her,” he thinks to himself. “Much to do today – but first, before the sun rises and the business starts, I must visit my altar. My children are having a party today and someone must be sure to pray to our God for them! Oh! That my children be saved – that is my joy. They are great kids, but – you never know,these little parties worry me a bit, and it is a dangerous world in which we live – perhaps they have made poor decisions… As their father, I must protect them. And none can protect quite like our God.”
After visiting his place of prayer, Joe heads to his office. “What a perfect, clear morning,” Joe says to himself. He allows his mind to start focusing on the herds, “I hear there were to be storms out by the eastern fields this morning – surely my herdsman headed the warnings and drove the sheep in. No sense in worrying yourself, Joe, It is almost time for the morning reports to begin rolling in. It’s early, but, when you’re a cattleman, early is all there is – well, early and late! It seems the herds never rest.” Joe has these conversations in his head nearly everyday. Today, like everyday, will be a productive, prosperous day! Joe is blessed.
The sky is clear, the temperature is perfect, birds are singing. Light is beginning to peak across the horizon. Stars are beginning to fade. Twilight has come.
At The Office
At the office everything is in perfect order – just the way Joe keeps it. All files up to date, the inbox is empty – just the way to start another morning. Everything is perfect in Joe’s world – until the first report comes in…
“Joe! Uh, Mr. Joe, sir! Last night -” the young man barges into the office, out of breath, dirty, and torn.
“Who are yo- why, you’re Ben, right? Scott’s boy – what is wrong, is your father okay?”
“Yes – I mean NO! He is not… Nothing is right this morning.”
“Calm down, son… everything will be fine, just calm down and explain what has happened.”
“No sir,” sobbing now, “last night… Your cattle, your horses, the entire stable… gone, all the workers – DAD! Gone!”
“No? All gone? How? Who?”
“A near army of thieves is who – they came in early this morning, the horses were out grazing with the cattle… When they drove in and hustled them away – before we could stop them!”
“Ben, don’t worry about the livestock – we can replace them; what about our team, our workers, your father – where are they?”
“That’s it, we tried, we fought them off… but there were to many, too well armed – we weren’t prepared for them… All were slain – I would have been to… Had I not been a coward and ran… I should be lying there with my father also!”
“Son – don’t talk like that… If you had not run, if you had not come – I would be sitting here alone – but, now we must act-”
Another haggard man stumbles in, again out of breath. “Joe! Boss – I can’t believe it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“See Ben, here is another that escaped the thieves.”
“Thieves? No sir, I wish it were that simple – a man-made enemy…”
“Well, what is wrong then boy? Spit it out.”
“The storm – it was like God’s wrath was raining on us… And then the lightning – there was no escaping it. I have no idea how I survived it…”
“Oh, my! Those are shepherds clothes you’re wearing… Why, that is you David, isn’t it – I am sorry I didn’t recognize you. My flocks, what happened?”
“The lightning kept falling – one at a time at first was struck. Then it seemed we were surrounded by fire – the whole flock was burnt. The shepherds too – not one was left standing – none but myself. I am sorry we failed you sir.”
“Foolishness – you did not fail me… Are the fires out?”
“Yes sir… The rains fell so hard, it was the oddest thing I have ever seen…”
“And all the shepherds perished – ALL of them?”
“Yes sir… I, I, I went by each of them to shake them awake… thinking surely they were simply knocked unconscious – but no, not one revived.”
“Okay – we will set to work as soon as possible to gather their remains and give them a proper -”
“Yet – another man is coming? Ben, David… let’s go help him in – he is badly hurt.”
As Ben, David, and Joe drag the man in – Joe recognizes him as his chief trade officer, Abraham. He was supposed to be on the road, instead he was wounded, severely.
“Abraham, tell me – what happened? Robbers in the way? What of the armed men that go with you?”
“Joe… I am so sorry – the entire caravan is lost – the guard was noble against the force… but – there were three waves of them. As the first wave hit we were able to drive them back, and when the second came – we did well… But – the third wave… They got everything. We lost everything. I have barely made it here to let you know… I am so sorry -”
“Hush, Abraham, stop apologizing; all my men are the best of the best; if anything happened it is because I did not provide the tools you needed; I am sorry – we’ll get you help right away… Then plan on taking care of the other losses and recover anything possible.”
“Joe, I’ll get Abraham to the infirmary immediately,” David offered, “The Lord knows I need to be seen there myself.”
“Look! Joe, isn’t that your son’s butler?”
Looking up Joe sees it is true – what business would this man have here… After the morning Joe is having a dread quickly enters his heart. Merchandise, cattle, flocks, assets – he can bear the loss; but to lose his hand-picked hired team, and now news from his children’s household… This can’t be a good sign. “Hello, what news do you bring from my boy?”
“Oh, master, sir, not out here – in your office, please. Have a seat… I cannot bear to bring this news, but there is no one else -”
“Sir, after the morning I am having… please. Don’t drag it out – tell me exactly what has happened!”
“Yes sir, I am sorry sir. Your children… you knew… of their gathering -”
“Yes, out with it – are they alright?”
“No, unfortunately sir they are not – none in the house are left alive…”
“I am sorry sir… as the youngest daughter arrived… it was the strangest thing ever – I don’t know if it was an earth quake – I’ve never heard of them in these parts – or a tornado – again never here! But it came – a violent noise, a shaking, everyone was confused – and then the walls caved in… the ceiling fell, crushed everything, and everyone… I only made it out because I had just walked outside to see where the noise was coming from — I am so, so , so sorry sir.”
Tears flowing down the man’s cheeks, Joe replies, “All seems lost… I must go – please, kind sir, you and Ben call all the others (if there are any) together and begin going through each of the four disaster areas… recover all the dead and wounded first – we must give their families some peace. Then begin recovering anything that we possibly can… I, I must go – I have to visit my altar before going home to my wife… and… breaking… this to her – Please, go – Go now!”
With that they left. Joe was alone. Joe never felt this alone. But he knew, at the altar – strange things can happen there… miraculous things… and, Joe needs a miracle.
To be continued….
(Loosely taken from Job 1)