BARABBAS AND HIS MEN were still in hiding and still surviving off of nuts, berries, and whatever wild game they could kill, which wasn't much since they weren’t professionals. One night, one of them decided to chance going into town to buy some supplies and to see how things were going. Fortunately, there were no soldiers around, and no one mentioned the insurrection. Barabbas was secretly wondering where the man in black was now.
“It's been over a week now. Don't you think we've hidden out here long enough?”
“Oh, I don't know. You can't be too careful, you know.”
“Do you really think they'd remember us by now?”
“They're sure to remember me,” asserted Barabbas. “I was up on the praetorium demanding that Pilate give up his rule.”
“Well, we can't stay out here in this forest forever, can we? We haven't had much luck catching game and our money is completely run out.”
“I have an idea about what we can do about that,” offered Barabbas.
“Oh, and what might that be?”
“We can put something over our faces so that we're not recognized, and go and rob a store.”
“Robbery? Are you crazy?”
“Yeah, I thought this group was dedicated to the principles of freedom and justice for all. How do you figure robbery fits into that?”
“I don't, but it will meet our immediate need until we can accomplish the other.”
“Well, count me out.”
“Me too. It's too risky.”
“Likewise. I think I'm going home.”
“Me too. I'm sure they won't recognize me.”
“Me too.” And so it went, until all of Barabbas's gang decided to go home.
“Say,” he asked, “could one of you get word to my wife that I'm all right, that I can't come home yet, and to try to sell what she can out of the shop?”
“I'll tell her.”
“That's all, mind you. Don’t mention the robbery.”
“That's right. You don't know anything about me planning a robbery. It would just worry her uselessly. I just can't come home yet, and she should try to sell the stuff in the shop. Got it?”
“See you later, Barabbas.”
“Goodbye, my friends. It was a good try, at least.”
“That it was. Goodbye.”
MEANWHILE, DEBORAH and the children were still worried about Barabbas.
One evening after supper, they were sitting around asking the same questions they had been asking ever since he left: “Mommy, Mommy! When is Daddy coming home?
“Soon, I hope. Now run along and play with your toys.”
“But what's wrong with Daddy, that he doesn't come home?”
“I don't know, dear! Now run along. Mommy is trying to get some rest.”
But just then, they were startled by a knock on the door. “I wonder who that could be. Your father wouldn't knock.”
But the children were already running to the door to find out.
“Mommy, Mommy, there's a strange man at the door. He says he has a message from Daddy.”
“Just a minute.” Deborah got up slowly and went to the door.
“Hello, ma'am. I'm Jacob. I was part of the gang that stormed the praetorium. The rest of the gang and myself, we figured it was safe for us to come back now, but your husband, he's afraid they'll recognize him since he was the one that jumped up on the praetorium. So, he sent me to tell you that he's all right, and he'll be back as soon as he figures it's safe. In the meantime, he said you might try to sell some of the things in the shop if you need money.”
Silent until now, Deborah began to cry. “Oh, my LORD, what are we going to do now? Oh, my God! I told him, he shouldn't do it. I never was for it in the first place. Well, thank God, he's all right.”
The man patted her on the shoulder, reassuringly. “I'm sure everything will be all right, ma'am. In the meantime, if there's anything I can do, just let me know. My wife and I have the candle shop downtown.”
“I certainly will. Thank you for bringing me the message.”
“You're quite welcome, ma'am.”
After the man left, she began to cry again. “What are we gonna do?”
The children all gathered around her and put their arms around her. “Don't cry, Momma. At least we know Daddy's all right.”
“Yeah! And, he'll be comin' back soon.”
“Maybe we can sell something from the shop.”
“Maybe that man can help us. He seemed real nice.”
The oldest son, Jason jumped up. “Maybe I can get a job.”
“Aw, you're too young, Jason.”
“Anyway, we'll survive, Momma. We always have, haven't we?”
“Yes,” she said, through her sobs, “We always have, with the help of the good Lord.”
“And He won't let us down now, will He?”
“He might since that was a fool thing your daddy did.”
“Aw, come on, Momma. Didn't you tell us that Jehovah is with us no matter what we do?”
“. . . that He is always ready to forgive us and help us?”
“I guess I did, didn't I?” She dried her tears and slumped down in her chair, trying to compose herself. “Well, then children, would one of you like to say a prayer for your father?”
Jason raised his hand. “I would.”
“O.K. Jason, go ahead.”
“Dear eternal LORD God, Jehovah, God of Israel, if my daddy has acted foolishly or wrongfully, will you please forgive him? And keep my daddy safe from all harm. Protect him, wherever he is, and bring him back safely to us soon. Amen.”
“Amen. Now go ahead and get ready for bed, children.”
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