(A Jobian Tale of Grace and Second Chances)
God of second chances,
Here I am again.
God of second chances,
Meet me at your Mercy Seat.
Meet me, Jesus, meet me.
Won't you meet me in the middle of the air.
And if these wings should fail me Lord,
Won't you meet me with another pair...
God is sitting in His throne room, Jesus the Son on His right hand and The Holy Ghost (HG for short) is on the computer debating whether to show up as requested by the praise band leader at the Foothill Community Fellowship Gathering, when in walks Lucifer.
"Hey 'Bub" God says as the good-looking, nattily-dressed, professionally-whitened smiling being sometimes knows at Beelzebub, Scratch, the Devil, Satan, or the Beast glides to a stop, his Bruno Magli's making nary a noise on the jasper and carnelian floor.
Lucifer cringes slightly, his smile dims momentarily but comes back stronger. "I prefer 'Prince of the Power of the Air' if you must know but Lucifer will do" he says.
"Okay Scratch" God replies. "What can I do for you? By the way, like what we done with the place? Looks a bit different since you left!" He added with a smile.
Lucifer looked around and said, "Eh...same ol', same ol" while what he was really thinking was, "This coulda been mine I tell ya...mine!"
"It was never going to be yours" God said quietly but with a force that made Lucifer's spine go cold.
He cleared his throat and answered, "Well if you must know...I'm a bit bored."
"What?" God said. "The Jews and the Arabs not enough fun these days? Gay Republican's not providing a challenge? Pat Robertson ceasing to become a source of entertainment?" God baited.
"Oh, don't get me wrong" Satan said. "All of that is fun in its own way but I'm looking for something more meaningful. Something...big!"
"Ahhh..." God said, sitting back on his throne. He cast a look at Jesus and HG, who had declined the invitation as the praise band leader was on his 22nd time through the chorus begging the HG to "appear and fill us again". Jesus and HG gave a knowing smile and God continued. "And just what do you have in mind?"
Lucifer paced the floor, hand on his chin as if he were just now contemplating the answer. He stopped and looked up at God and said, "I want the opportunity to convert one of your own."
The room grew quiet. The cherubim and seraphim stopped their singing, Michael and Gabriel both grasped the handles of their flaming swords, and whole host of heavenly angels grew silent.
"Uh, didn't you try that once before?" Jesus asked.
"And didn't it not turn out quite the way you thought it would?" the HG added.
God chuckled and said, "Ah, Job." Looking up at Ole Scratch He said, "Is that what you're thinking of? Another shot at one of mine? A chance to make one of mine turn from Me? You think one of mine will be swayed?"
Lucifer cringed and his ire rose every time God said 'one of mine'.
"Yes, yes, yes...One of yours!" Lucifer snapped. Recomposing himself he said, "I think I've found one that can be pushed over the edge."
"And whom might that be?" God asked.
"Him!" Lucifer said, pointing to the floor that had shimmered and coalesced into a screen of sorts. There was a man sitting at his desk, laughing at an off-color joke his co-worker was telling. The man turned back to his keyboard and everyone in the throne room could see an aura of shame around the man that he quickly slammed shut and hid in a small corner of his soul.
"Jacob L" Lucifer said. "He's ready. All he needs is a push."
"And you think if you push him he'll fall?" God asked.
"Right into my waiting arms" Lucifer said with a smile.
Jesus raised his eyebrows in doubt and HG went back his computer screen. Michael and Gabriel took their hands from their flaming swords and nodded at each other. The angels went back to their work and the cherubim and seraphim returned to their singing and going to and fro.
"What? You doubt me?", Lucifer asked.
"Well, you haven't had such a good record in that department" God said. "Remember Job?"
Lucifer snarled and said, "That's because you protected him!"
"Of course I did!" God barked. "He was one of mine! It's my job to protect my own!"
Lucifer held back all his arguements and said, "Well then....are you afraid I've honed my technique over the millenia? Afraid I might be able to turn one of yours?"
God seemed to grow in size and his voice rose as He spoke. "Don't take that tone of voice with me, Lucifer. Don't challenge the Lord God!"
Lucifer swallowed, thinking he might have overplayed his hand a bit but still, he stood his ground and asked, "Well...what's the answer?"
God the Father looked at God the Son who was looking at God the Holy Spirit and all three as One said, "Go. You may not harm his physical being nor harm his family. Everything else is available to you."
Lucifer grinned and turned to leave the throne room. As he reached the door he heard Jesus softly say, "I died for him, don't forget that."
Lucifer involuntarily cringed, his shoulders hunching up. "Oh yeah...I know" he mumbled as the door closed behind him.
To be continued....