I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Wheel”

Imagine it. The horses are tethered, they stomp their feet in anticipation of a long trek and snort their disapproval of having to wait. John and Tom crawl up onto the driver’s seat as the Man, with spurs jingling, throws open the stage door and takes His seat on the hard wooden bench. John gives a loud whistle as he cracks the whip above the horses and the coach jerks forward.

The day is hot even though the sun has just risen. The Man reaches up and takes His big white hat off and lays it on the seat beside Him as He leans back against the hard wooden seat. It will be a long ride along the dusty path. The wind blows his hair and reaching up He moves it out of His eyes. He can hear John and Tom talking and occasionally laughter fills the air. He smiles and closes His eyes and is soon asleep.

A sudden jolt and dangerous tilting of the coach startles the Man awake throwing Him against the wall. One side of the coach has collapsed and the coach suddenly stops. John and Tom jump down from their perch and Tom wrings his hands while groaning loudly. “What are we going to do?” he shouts while pacing back and forth, spurs jingling, in front of the broken wheel. “Where’s the Man?” he shouts and spins around to see the Man carefully maneuvering His way out of the coach and popping His hat back on His head. In spinning around, Tom catches his pants leg on a spur, and down he goes. He hollers, “Ouch!”

The Man stands for a moment and brushes the dust off His chaps. When He looks up He sees Tom on the ground rubbing his behind.

The Man shakes His head while chuckling.

Tom pulls himself up and runs to the Man, “The wheel is broken, what are we to do? We don’t have a spare. We’re stuck out here!” Sweat pours down his face and he quickly swipes it out of his eyes. Fear has gripped him and the Man gently places His hand on Tom’s shoulder, “Fear not, Tom, I am with you.”

The Man walks to the side of the stage-coach. He stands studiously peering at the good wheel with John and Thomas close behind Him.

“Sit!” the Man says to the two men. “I want to tell you something.” They sit down, Tom easing himself down gently, onto the ground and looks up at Him. “He’s going to tell us a story in the midst of this crisis?” Tom thinks while rubbing his backside. John sits quietly waiting.

“Do you see this wheel?” the Man asks, pointing to the good stage-coach wheel.

Both nod yes. “This wheel represents the body of Christ.” Tom whispers, “Huh?” The Man smiles and then continues. “The spokes are My children.” Tom moves his hat aside and scratches his head. John nods. “Pay attention, Tom!” The Man demands. “Each spoke is equal but each has been given a divine purpose. One has a gift of prophecy, another has the gift of exhortation, another is a teacher, another is a home maker, and another a preacher. All work together to make the wheel, the church, strong.”

The Man reaches over and takes hold of one of the spokes and gives it a good jerk. “As long as these spokes cling tightly to the hub the wheel will remain strong and sturdy. I tell you the truth; I am the Hub that holds it all together.”

“Okay.” Tom states and glances up at the hot sun shining down on them.

“Now let’s go look at the broken wheel,” The Man states.  The two men stand and walk to the broken wheel. The broken and crushed wheel lies tilted on the dirt beside the coach. Splinters and jagged wood protrude from it. The rim is bent beyond repair. It’s useless.

“What do you see?” the Man asks. Tom is quick to reply, “A broken, crushed wheel and we’re stuck out here in this heat.”

“Oh ye of little faith.  Look at it! I tell you the truth, the body of Christ is broken!”

“Huh?” Tom says. John nods in understanding.

“My shepherds are not teaching My Word. They are following the dictates of what the people want to hear. They are accepting evil as good and turning good into evil! Instead of loving one another as I love them they are divided. They are accepting the ploys of the enemy to destroy their faith. When one falls away the others are quick to condemn.”

Tom sits quietly rubbing his behind where the spurs dug in, and John asks, “I’m not sure I fully understand. How does this relate to this broken wheel and the circumstances we are in?”

“Do you not yet understand, John? When one spoke is broken the wheel can still turn, the others offer support. It keeps the wheel from completely falling apart. But when several spokes break it weakens the whole wheel until eventually the wheel cannot move forward.” Pointing to the broken wheel, He continues. “It lies dead in the sand. Just like that! Now what good is that wheel?” He asks sternly.

Tom states dejectedly, “Good for nothing.”

“That’s where my church is heading unless the body repents and comes together in unity. If My children will turn back to Me I will hear their prayers and heal their land but they must stop being weak in their faith, silent in the face of evil, and stand up to the sins in the world or the church will be as weak and damaged and useless as this wheel!”

Tom shifts uncomfortably. He still doesn’t get it and asks, “But what are we to do?” and thinks, We’re still stuck out here.  

The Man turns and points to a large stick in the distance. “Have faith! Tom, go get that long stick over there.”

“What for?” Tom asks, carefully getting up off the ground.

“You’ll see. Just trust Me.”

Tom retrieves the long stick. “Now what?”

“Strike that broken wheel three times with it.”

“Huh? What good is that going to do?”

“Just do it, Tom!” The Man states emphatically.

Shaking his head in bewilderment Tom strikes the broken wheel.

The Man tosses His hat on the wooden seat and leans back as the dust from the spinning coach wheels and the horse’s hooves billows through the open window, When are they going to trust Me!? He thinks and closes His eyes.

***

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will guide your paths.”

***

There are so many situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in that at times we merely stand and scratch our heads wondering. “What in the world are we going to do now? In our flesh (humanness) we try to figure things out and at times we just cannot come up with a solution. If we turn to the One who has the answers we will find life’s problems aren’t as complicated as we sometimes think they are. If we reach out to Christ in those “head scratching” moments, it can become a time of, “Oh wow, why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

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