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Ratings: G

Gratitude Series: #6

by Kerry

The stillness of the empty church is broken by the flare of a match. One by one the candles are lit, until seven flickering flames pierce the darkness.

Yeah, Lord.

It's me again.

You know me - always comin' with a request.

But You want me to do that, don't You? Maybe I don't come as often as I should, or always do the things you want me to. But Your invitation is there.

You tell me, "Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened."

I'm askin' Lord. Askin' you to spare the life of that man - no, *those men* - over at brother Nathan's right now.

We saw it comin' Lord. And there wasn't anything any of us could do - 'cept Vin. He probably didn't plan for it to happen that way, but he's one of those who'd give his life so that another might live. Even if that other was Ezra -- though now I'm beginning to think it's more like 'especially since it was Ezra'.

Vin, he sees things in folks that others don't see. You've given him that gift, Lord. Please, I'm beggin' You, we need him and his gift - don't take him from us.

The bullet went deep, Lord. Yet you guided the healer's hand and he was able to pull it out and his patient still kept on breathin'. Please, Lord, don't let that effort be in vain.

I know he's your child, Lord, but I hate to think what'd happen if You decided it was time for him to come home.

You brought these men together for a purpose, Lord. I believe that. If you take Vin now, the others, well -- it worries me, Lord -- they'll ride that trail t'hell. Ezra'll blame himself. He tries to keep us all at a distance. He puts up a good front, too. I guess that's why he's so good at gamblin'. But we've ridden with him long enough to see through that front. He has his faults, Lord, we all do. But there's good there, Lord. It ain't easy for Ezra to let it show, but he's gettin' better. He's on the right road. You take Vin, now, Lord, and I'm afraid Ezra will lose his way.

And Chris. Chris'll blame Ezra, and blame himself, and, Lord, we just got him back from the dark road he was on. Please don't let our efforts come to nothing. If Vin dies, Chris'll crawl into a bottle and drink himself to hell.

Buck - Chris laughed when Buck got jailed. He said Buck always lands on his feet. But how many times can a man watch his best friend - his *brother* - sink into the depths of despair without being mightily affected?

And JD - for better or worse, that kid idolizes both those men. If they aren't around to help him see the trail, I don't know what will happen to him.

Then there's Nathan. Never met a man with a bigger heart or a greater love for his fellow man, in spite of all the hardship he has endured at the hands of men. He's always worryin' about his skills as a healer. You take Vin, and Nathan'll blame himself and we'll lose him, too.

And me, Lord. I was wallowing in self-pity, thinkin' about my sister and my father and You sent Vin to see her, Lord. Sharin' my hurt with Vin was like healin' a wound - it still hurts, but the pain is easier to bear, just knowin' that he knows and that he didn't hold it against me.

I'm gonna be persistent, Lord. Persistent like Abraham was when he was askin' you to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of his nephew Lot. Persistent like the gentile woman who begged you to heal her daughter, and when you told her it wasn't right to take the children's bread and feed it to the dogs, she said, yes, but the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.

I'm gonna keep praying, Lord. Ain't gonna rant and rave, ain't gonna threaten, Lord. I know you got Your hand on all things. And that Your will will be done. But I got this streak in me, Lord, like a dog with a bone, I ain't gonna let it go.

You see it, Lord. We're all in this together. One connected to the other. Koje and his people got the idea - all things are connected. Like a spider's web, if one of the strands is broken, the rest of the web is affected.

Gonna head back over to Nathan's now, Lord. Want to see how things are goin' and maybe give someone a break. And I'm gonna keep prayin' till it's over.

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