DRAFT: This story is in draft form and has not been edited by my wife Barb.
Little blind Billy sat in the pew with his parents, the toes of his shoes barely touching the floor, with his feet kicking in joyful excitement. This was the first Sunday in their new church and Billy couldn’t wait for the music and singing to start. Billy suddenly lost his sight to an unidentified virus the year before, like all children he had adapted quickly, with the music at church being one of his great delights.
The worship leader stepped up to the mic, everyone stood, and the music was on!! Little Billy bobbed and weaved to the rhythm of the music, Billy’s smile was so big it nearly popped his ears off! He loved the music at the new church. After a bunch of songs, there was prayer, then all sat back down.
The preacher stepped up to the podium to preach, Billy snuggled in next to his mom and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the service. With the service ending his mom gently elbowed Billy awake. Leaving the pew she led him up the aisle and into the open foyer.
Billy still had memories when he had his sight of his mom and dad, much older sister, home, his dog Butch, and so it was easy for him to imagine what the church foyer looked like. He heard an old man, at least he sounded like an old man with a kind voice introducing himself to his mother and father as Bob Fishinger. Then the gentle old Mr. Bob leaned down introducing himself to Billy.
Having been taught to be polite, Billy stuck out his hand and old Mr. Bob promptly took it, shook it, and exclaimed, “Why Billy, you have such a strong grip for such a little man!” Out came Billy’s smile but his ears barely stayed put. Old Mr. Bob asked Billy, “So how did you like your first service here at our church?”
Again grinning, Billy looked up in the direction of his voice and said, “The music was fun, I loved the music and singing!! But the chains were pretty noisy when everyone stood up or sat down!” Mr. Bob looked puzzled and said, “What chain sounds Billy?” “Well, chains that made that chain sound like when my dad would pull in the anchor on our sailboat with its chain piling on top of itself, that sound. Or like after Butch our dog, you know, took a poop, when we took his chain off and dropping it on the ground.”
Mr. Bob looked at Billy’s parents, who silently shrugged their shoulders shaking their heads, also puzzled about the chains. Mr. Bob said farewell to Billy and his parents and headed for his three wheeled motorcycle out in the parking lot. (Mr. Bob had a reputation for being old and daring.) Other folks came up and introduced themselves. Billy had the impression his new church had very friendly people and it smelled nice too.
The next Sunday after church old Mr. Bob again shook Billy’s firm little hand and asked how he liked the service. And again, Billy loved the music but found the chains very noisy. His parents again looked confused. Old Mr. Bob said to Billy’s parents, just a minute I would like a couple other folks to hear Billy’s story. Billy’s parents nodded in the affirmative.
A few minutes later he returned with Pastor Paul, and Deaconess Dolores. Billy and his parents had met them the Sunday before and struck them as nice folks. At old Mr. Bobs request, Billy repeated his story about happy music and noisy chains. They all looked at each other puzzled. “Well Mr. Little Billy Man,” said plump Pastor Paul jovially, I hope next Sunday you can enjoy the music without the chains!” Everyone smiled including Billy–ears on. They all said goodbye and headed in all directions for Sunday lunch.
During the week Pastor Paul had called Dr. Dan, a doctor at their local hospital and a member of the church and told him about Billy and how he had recently lost his sight and the music and chains. Pastor Paul wondered if the sudden recent loss of vision could have affected Billy on some odd level. Dr. Dan said he would not be on call next Sunday and would be happy to talk with Billy if that was ok with his parents.
Later in the day Pastor Paul called Billy’s home and spoke with his mother about having a short meeting and prayer for Billy after church with Dr. Paul, Mike the music director, since Billy loved the music, Deaconess Dolores, himself and them. Billy’s mom said she would check with her husband after work but didn’t think he would mind. She said, “We’ve asked Billy about the chains, and he only seems to hear them at church and nowhere else!” “We’re confused too, so the meeting sounds like a good idea.”
The next Sunday after Pastor Paul had finished shaking most of the hands in the church, the group gathered in a small room off the foyer. Everyone grabbed a chair, made sort of an oval with Billy and his parents at one end. Everyone stated who they were so Billy would know who all was present. Then Billy said, “Where is Mr. Bob?” Pastor Paul said, “I’m sorry Billy but he and his motorcycle have taken a road trip to Alaska. Otherwise, I’m sure he would love to have been here, he told me he really likes your strong handshake.” Billy grinned.
Deaconess Dolores, being the sweet mother she was with grown children, leaned forward and asked Billy if he heard the chains during the service. “Yep, Billy said, when people stand up or sit down I’d hear ‘em. Some chains sound close and some sound far away.” Then Billy added, wow, right now I see our neighbors yelling at each other, and boy are they mad!” Deaconess Dolores looked really puzzled at that and so did everyone else!
Dr. Paul questioned, “Billy when we came into the little room here without music did you hear any chains?” “Yep! And they were pretty loud, especially when everyone sat down.” Billy seemed to stare for a moment in the direction of Dr. Paul’s voice and said, “I see my dad giving our school nurse a really long hug.” Billy’s father’s eyes opened wide and he was shaking his head NO! Dr. Paul looked perplexed and Billy’s dad looked mystified.
Mike the music director, wanting to break the awkward confusion, asked, “Billy so you like our music?” Billy beamed, “I love your music, especially the drums!!” Again seeming to stare in music director Mike’s direction Billy said, “I see my older sister sitting in front of the computer staring at the screen and clicking her mouse. Now she is looking around like she does when she tries to hide her diary and thinks I’m not seeing her.” Music director Mike stared a Billy for a few seconds, then not knowing what to say, said, “Well, Billy, I’m really glad you like our drums!!” He sat back in his chair and studied the baffled faces looking back at him.
Pastor Paul now concerned about what Billy was seeing as well as hearing said, “Billy, do you see any pictures when I’m talking to you?” “Yeah, and it’s kind of funny. My dad is hold his ball cap out in front of him and is pulling money out of his hat like a magic show guy pulls a rabbit out of his big black hat. Only the magic guy doesn’t put the rabbit in his pocket like my dad is putting the money in his.” Knowing Billy couldn’t see anything, Pastor Paul silently threw his arms up in the air in total bewilderment!
In all his years as a pastor he had never encountered anything like this, not even close. Thinking to himself, well, we should pray for Billy and his parents and suggest they take Billy to a child psychologist. As he opened his mouth to speak his thoughts to the group. Deaconess Dolores, pulled out a Kleenex and began wiping a steady stream of tears from her eyes.
Dr. Paul suddenly stood up, walked to the wall with his back to everyone. His shoulders were shaking as he began to silently cry. Music director Mike, leaned forward and buried his face into his hands. Billy’s parents looked on confounded as Pastor Paul began sighing, staring at the floor and shaking his head.
It was as if a wave of truth had crested and broken over them. Deaconess Dolores blurted out, “Oh Jesus help me, for years I’ve had anger, bitterness, and unforgivness in my heart towards my sister and we argue all the time! Lord Jesus, I forgive her, I forgive her, forgive me for harboring such bitter unforgivness!!”
Dr. Paul’s voice echoed from the wall, “Oh Father forgive me for spending too much time with the new nurse on staff! My family doesn’t know, and, Oh Father in the name of Jesus forgive me for my thoughts and plans about her. Right now I renounce that relationship in the name of Jesus!!”
Shaking in his chair, face still buried in his hands, Mike the music director began convulsing with sobs. “Oh, Jesus, Jesus, I am so sorry for all these years of looking at porn on the Internet. I’ve lived a double life sneaking around, oh God forgive me!!! Please heal my mind and heart!!”
Looking overwhelmed with all that was happening Pastor Paul, still staring at the floor and shaking his head. He looked up, more to God than anyone in the room and said, “Oh Father, I am so sorry for taking money from the offering, money beyond my salary, every time I would slip a wad of bills into my pocket I would rationalize what I was doing. Please forgive me!”
After more prayer and confession, a holy hush settled over everyone. Instantly they all knew God had heard their prayers and had forgiven them and forgotten their sins as far as the East is from the West.
Wiping his eyes Pastor Paul stood up and offered a closing prayer thanking God for bringing Billy into their lives and giving him the gift of discernment by being able to hear the chains in their lives.
As they got up to leave little blind Billy said, “Wait!”
“I don’t hear any chains!”
The chains—the chains that bound them, that nobody else in the church could see, but little blind Billy could hear, and only Jesus could shatter.
“Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” Matthew 12:29 (KJV)
Copyright © 2017 by William D. (Nick) Nichols
All worldwide rights reserved.
Note 1: I read that verse on 7/22/2016 during my morning devotions and this story popped out at me from that verse.
Note 2: 7/28/16 Went to my calendar to see what day I read that verse on and saw I forgot to pay our house insurance after returning from Singapore. Payment was 5 days overdue, I think they have a 7 day grace period. So paid the insurance. Little blind Billy saved the day!! J