Chapter 13

                                                                           The Messenger

Ben was sitting in the cabin enjoying the stillness of the forest night. Of course, it wasn't really still. There was the
symphony of the frogs and the crickets chirping through the night air - the steady drone of the Cricket Frogs, the
high-pitched squeal of the Bird-voiced Tree Frogs, and the deep melody of the Cope's Gray Tree Frog. He listened
to the buzzing of the mosquitoes - and occasionally felt their tiny, painful stings. That part he could do without. He
heard the faint splash of an alligator slipping into the water. In the distance, a hoot-owl was calling out. Every now
and then, he could hear the cracking of tree limbs - maybe from the weight of the evening dew, or the scampering of
night critters, or just the settling of old limbs tearing from the trees.

Ben jumped up with a start. He thought he heard footsteps. He approached the door and stepped into the moonlight.

"Who's there?" he called out.

There was movement at the side of the cabin.

"Who's there? What do want? What are you doing out here?"  His words reminded him of his first encounter with
Isaiah in this cabin. He called out the very question Isaiah had asked him, "Are you running from something?"
A voice came from the shadows, "Are you running from something, Ben Wilson?"

"Who are you? What are you here for?"

"I'm here for you, Ben."

Ben saw a figure moving in the darkness at the corner of the cabin. He grabbed a stick he had propped against the
outside wall. He ran toward the figure and swung so hard he spun himself around. Somehow the intruder dodged his
blow and grabbed Ben from behind. He twisted Ben's left arm behind his back. Ben cried out in pain. "Awww!  Don't
break my arm! What do you want?"

"I have a message for you."

"What message? Who sent you?" Ben cried.

"Surrender!" the man said. His voice was as clear as any Ben had ever heard. He felt the hair stand up on the back
of his neck. A tingle went down his back.

"Isaiah?" Ben erupted. "Isaiah sent you?"

"Isaiah is no longer of this world, Ben. He cannot communicate with you. It is not permitted."

"Then who sent you?" Ben asked. The man still had him pinned from behind. He couldn't see his attacker.

"I came from the Father."

"My daddy sent you?"

"No! The Father in heaven sent me," the mystery man said.

"What?" Ben said. "I don't believe in God!"

"But He believes in you Ben Wilson. I have a message for you. In the cabin is a Bible that belonged to Isaiah
Washington. Read Genesis, chapter thirty-two, verses twenty-four through twenty-eight. Then read Acts, chapter
nine, verses three through five. Can you remember that?"

"Yeah! Genesis 32:24 through 28 and Acts 9:3 through 5. I already found his Bible. You’re hurting my arm."
"Ben Wilson, you are fortunate. Jacob went away with a limp."

"What?" Ben screamed.

The stranger whispered, "You shall no longer be called Ben, but you shall be called Benjamin. Read it!"
Ben's shoulder slipped out of joint.

The man spoke not another word. He let go of Ben's arm. Ben quickly turned to see his attacker. He was gone.
"Hello?" Ben called out. "Where are you?"

No one answered. No one was there. Ben thought he may have imagined the whole affair, but he realized that he
was holding his left arm. The pain was unbearable. The tighter he held his arm, the more it hurt. He tried to walk, but
with each step it felt like someone was tugging at his dislocated arm. In a desperate move he lifted his left arm with
his right hand. Tears formed in his eyes. He screamed out in pain. He gripped the edge of the cabin with his left
hand and jerked himself backward. He let out a war cry to mask the sudden pain. His arm slipped back into the
socket. He tested it by reaching forward. It still hurt like crazy, but at least he had muscular control again.
So much for his visitor being a figment of his imagination.

Ben went into the tiny abode to get Isaiah's Bible. He grabbed his flashlight and shined it around the small one-
roomed hut. The Bible was on the floor beside the chair where he had been reading the night before.
Ben gritted his teeth in pain as he lit his kerosene lamp. Then he thumbed through the Bible. Genesis was easy - he
knew it was the first book in the Bible. He turned to chapter thirty-two and found verse twenty-four. He read aloud to
verse twenty-eight.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower
him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man
said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked
him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,
because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."

He read it over several times wondering what it was supposed to mean. His mysterious visitor had said, “You shall no
longer be called Ben, but you shall be called Benjamin." What did that mean?

Acts was a little harder to find. He went to the table of contents. He knew Acts was in the New Testament, so he went
to the New Testament listing at the lower half of the contents page. It was fifth on the list - page one hundred and
twenty-four. He thumbed his way to chapter nine and started reading at verse three.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and
heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"  "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus,
whom you are persecuting," he replied.

"Jesus?" Ben breathed. "This is about Jesus?"

He laid the Bible out on the table in the center of the room and left it open. He turned off his lamp and lay back on
the bed. He stared into the blackness of the ceiling for a long while and eventually drifted off to sleep.