Goodbye Mr. Diablo
A warm, pleasant ray of sunshine
Invaded my library one afternoon.
Comfortable, but, sad somehow
I began to review my life, which,
Seemed to have been
A colossal waste of time; opportunities
Lost, safety rather than risk!

Proud of the title “Christian.”
Earned it! Saved at twenty-nine.
Brought the family to every church service.
Served in every position within the church.
Cold churches, lukewarm, joyous ones.
Mission field seven years, thousands of messages
From some happy, some sad preachers.
Innumerable Bible studies, hours of memorization.
Why? Was God impressed?

Unknown to me someone familiar had entered
My sanctuary. He calls himself Mr. Diablo.
Handsome, tall, graying temples.
Well dressed. Smoking a beautiful briar pipe.
Aromatic tobacco smoke filled the room.
He asked to stay awhile. Together a lot lately.
Seemed to know my thoughts, questions.

He asked if I thought my life was a success?
Doubted it. Not sure! Tried to be a servant of God.
Frightened! Looking back, remembering
Forgotten sins, long ago forgiven, now returned.
Past hatreds consumed again,
Rotting my soul, strangling my faith!
Hurtful words, ugly thoughts.
Deeds left undone. Failure!
Left God once. Was it happening again?
How is this possible? Where did my faith go?
How can a believer think such things?

My new friend smiled, nodding, smoking.
He said that perhaps it wasn’t me.
“Some say God asks too much!”
Diablo whispered, “Do you really trust
Someone you cannot see or hear?”
His question shook me to my spirit.
Do I really love God?
Can He love me? Doubts burning
My heart, my mind.

I thought of the daily news. Death everywhere.
Parents killing their children! Evil people
Rich beyond measure. Billions dead
Because of two teenagers in a garden!
Do you call this fair?
Believers tortured, enslaved, starved! Their
Appeals unanswered. Were they heard?
How can a loving God allow this to happen?
I thought He was in charge!

My thoughts, reeling!
Dare I even think such things?
Was this proof that my long ago
Decision was meaningless?
These thoughts I had before.
Had I been truly forgiven?

Smoke curled to the white ceiling,
Moving in the currents of the fan.
My guest, now pacing, animated.
“Have you considered Job?” he asked.
“Job!” He recited the story in
Remarkable detail. Pointed out
The death of the family, lost fortune,
Pain and suffering.
“And what did he get.” He demanded.
“A lecture on who was creator and who
Wasn’t!” “Lots of love there!”

Poor memory! Did the
Story end exactly like that?
Uncomfortable, nervous, not sure why.
Faith! Do I have any? Do I?
I had no answers to the questions.
Mr. Diablo seemed very wise.
The smoke, too thick, can’t think.

Doorbell. Now what?
Someone’s here. A young man,
Stood there. Seemed
Gentle and polite.
Dark hair, wonderful smile.
“Hello. I’m glad to see you again,” He said.
“I heard you are having a rough time, and
Might need a friend to talk to.”

Again! He’s been here before?
Seems familiar but not sure. Memory clouded.
Invited him in.
Mr. Diablo stood suddenly, looks uncomfortable.
He put away his pipe.
“Need to run along.” He mumbled, and was gone.

The young man sat in my red leather chair.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
He said, “we used to talk a lot, but you
Have been preoccupied lately.”
Strange, the smoke from Diablo’s pipe,
Gone. Library bright, air clear, wonderful!

Somehow, I wanted to tell him
My doubts, fears and disappearing faith.
He listened intently. Never interrupted.
Quiet. Nodding in agreement at times.
Seemed sad!
Felt better talking to him. Why?
Who is he?

After some time he spoke, clearly, softly,
“Sounds like you are doubting
Your faith in God; everything.”
“I guess I am, just about
all that I have believed,” I whispered.
“This world is so wicked! I see no justice!
Is God really in charge?”
I spat out the words. Bowed my head, ashamed.
I glanced at him. Are those tears?

Strange, an old man barring his soul
To this young man, who listened.
No argument, condemnation or ridicule.
He rose from the chair and moved
To the door. He’s leaving? No, please!
“Can we visit again?” he asked.
“I have so much to tell you.”
“Yes, soon I hope!”
As we shook hands, noticed
Large, ugly scars on his hands.

He smiled and said, “we all have doubts
My friend. There are so many questions.
There will be answers
Some day soon.”

As he turned to go he said, “like you, I also
Have had doubted God’s plan.
Look up Matthew 27:46.
By the way, a dear friend wants very much to hear from you.”
He smiled, I’ll tell Him you will
Be talking to Him soon!”
Then he was gone.

Suddenly I was awake! It had been a dream!
Seemed so real. But, why do I feel so much better?
Bible on the desk, was it there earlier?
I wanted to read again, like before.
Looked closer, it was
Opened to Job.
Trembling hands stopped at Chapter forty-two
Verse three “…surely I spoke of things I did
Not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
Weeping, asked God to forgive
An old fool’s doubting heart.

Now I understand! It was Diablo’s uninvited visits
Brought shame and gloom.
After years of belief,
How had I been tricked into doubting?
Always felt secure.
Hard lesson learned. Must be alert, careful.
Diablo is waiting and watching!

The nice young man with the scars,
Brought light. Hope.
Could he be…? Yes, I know He is.
Goodbye Mr. Diablo!
I need to talk to an old friend!