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Grace In The Shadows

Book One - The Journey of Grace series

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Grace In The Shadows Excerpt - Chapter 45


    “God’s done with me,” Dalton said. “This time I really messed up.”

    “Quite the contrary,” Mo said. “The broken have a special place in His heart. The bruised reeds, the smoldering wicks.”

    “Bruised reeds?”

    “A great verse. You oughta’ read it sometime.”

    “In the Old Testament?”

    Mo nodded. “A gold nugget for sure. It’s tucked away in the book of Isaiah. Unless you’re lookin’ for it, you might miss it.”

    “I’ve heard it before. I never gave it much thought.”

    “Not surprised. Can I be honest with you, brother?”

    “I guess,” Dalton said. His lips formed a straight line. He gritted his teeth and readied for the criticism. It usually came after a question like that.

    “You’ve spent your whole life trying to get a smile from God, haven’t you?”

    A smile from God?

    Being tolerated and put up with was more like it. Eating the meager scraps under God’s table, absolutely.      But an affectionate beam? He couldn’t imagine God smiling at him. He shook his head.

    Mo continued, “This prophet’s prose is able to knock you flat on your back with the reality of God’s love, drowning the lies of performance-based religion.”

    Dalton furrowed his brows. “What do you mean?”

    “Rigid obedience is nothing more than a patch kit for a leaky boat. Eventually you run out of epoxy and begin to go under. None of us have what it takes to make it across this angry sea, called life. Eventually we flounder. We mess up and lose our will to perform. Our boats start sinkin’.”

    “I lost my will last year,” Dalton admitted. He dropped his chin to his chest, remembering when he’d finally stopped obeying “the rules.”

    After his skiing accident.

    When he opted for an Oxy ride over dealing with his inner ache. The tiresome climb toward an unseen God was no longer an option. Things had gotten easier. At least for awhile. If he’d been able to produce even a smidgen of energy to save himself, he would have tried by now. Truth was, he felt empty and exhausted. Worse yet, God had abandoned him. Especially now. The cold dark shadows of a country jail cell made that clear.

    “Do you recall where that verse is?” Dalton asked. “I don’t have my Bible with me.”

    “Chapter forty-two, verse three. What is bruised and bent, He will not break; He will not blow out a smoldering candle.” Mo studied him. “This is a turning point,” Mo proclaimed in a deep voice. “Here, tonight, right in this cell, is where you will wrestle with God.”

    “Wrestle? Aren’t you contradicting what you just said?” Dalton shook his head and looked at the concrete floor, picturing Jacob struggling against God, begging to be blessed. “I can’t do another thing. I have nothing left.”

    “You won’t be fighting alone, Dalton. Your boat patchin’ days are over.”

    That’s a relief. The thought of a real wrestling match drained him.

    “You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

    Dalton’s head snapped to the side. “What?”

    “Give up, brother. He never asked you to save yourself. Your fight will be against the lies you’ve believed all your life. But even here, God will fight the fight for you. This war cannot be waged apart from trusting in a Father who deeply loves you.”

    “You know His book, Dalton.” Mo interrupted his thoughts. His eyes glistened above a slight smile before he spoke in a firm voice. “He might even be an acquaintance. But no, you don’t trust Him.”

    It was downright eerie the way this man read his thoughts. Mo was right, but what could he do? How could he trust a God who seemed an utter stranger?

    “If He was your confidence, you would have run to Him instead of those drugs. The only path up is down.”


    “On the floor, brother.”

    “There?” Dalton pointed to the cement, eyeing his wadded blanket, crumpled in a corner. He’d shivered under it hours earlier. Nearby, remnants of vomit dried into thick glue.

     Mo chuckled, joining his gaze with a knowing look. “I speak of a lower place. It’s your bottom. Only you know when you’ve reached it.”

    Dalton looked around the tiny jail cell, full of murky shadows. His cellies snored loudly, oblivious to the surreal world around them. Could he really go lower than this? He couldn’t imagine anything worse. Please, Father, help me … I can’t go farther down than this. I have no strength left. His scale of righteousness had been drastically tipped and Dalton knew he could never even it out again. What did he have to lose by following Mo’s advice? The devil had almost check-mated him. Was God showing him one more move?

    “How do I find this lower place? And how will I climb out of it?”

    “It’s a dark, slimy pit with no way out. It’s a place where only God can rescue you, not yourself.”

    Dalton shook his head and sighed. “I must be there. I feel hopeless and I definitely can’t get out.”

    Mo’s eyes lit up and he smiled, revealing perfectly chiseled teeth. “You’re getting it. He waits for you to cry out.” Mo slapped his knees and his eyes widened. “You will have the fight of your life against the lies you’ve believed since childhood,” he said. “Embrace the truth, brother. Your Father will help you wage this war. He meets you in your pain,” Mo continued. “Otherwise, He remains a two-dimensional Sunday school picture hanging on a wall.” He looked at Dalton with such a piercing gaze he had to look away. 



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this excerpt. Thank you!

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