Five Alive

The Promise

Chapter 37

by L. H. Hall

Living Water at the Oasis
Living Water at the Oasis

Five Alive
Chapter 37

The Promise

In the days and weeks that followed, Deejay slept most of the time, unless we wanted her to, like in the middle of the night. She'd wake up at all hours and decide it was time to exercise her lungs. Most of the time a meal would satisfy her, but there were those times when the five of us took turns walking the floor with her.

If we held her long, regardless of the hour, we usually went to the lake to take a bath. The leaves were fine in her cradle or if we were sitting down, but they were so slick, it was hard to carry her in them. The moss was a little help, but it leaked and seldom kept us clean. That did not stop us from loving her. We all considered it worth the trouble to have her in our arms.

Even the dogs loved her. If we were out of the room for even a moment, and she started to cry, one of the dogs would be by her cradle, and two or three would be barking for us to see about her. In the mornings and evenings we would take her cradle out onto the patio. The dogs would form a ring around her, as if guarding her. If she was asleep, and one of us wanted to pick her up, the dogs would whine before they reluctantly moved out of the way. When she was in the west room, there was always a dog lying in the exit to the beach, and one in the passage to the main room. Usually, when we went through the passage, we would trip over a dog if we were not careful. One or two dogs always lay by her cradle.

She loved the water. She was less than a week old when Sarah and I took her to the lake for her first swim. She kicked and paddled. We were just a few feet apart, when Sarah said, "I'll bet she can swim." and turned her loose in the water. She started paddling and kicking. We did not leave her there for more than a few seconds. When we took her out, she kept kicking and working her arms, and started crying. She would not stop until she was in the water again. We took her out; she started crying again. We put her back in, and she was all right.

When Deejay was nearly a month old, we took her to meet the dolphins. Sarah was just a little timid about taking her near them, but she need not have been. The dolphins put up a real commotion until we took her into the water. They came up one by one to smell of her and rub against her. They were very attentive and gentle. After a while, Sarah straddled a dolphin. "Lets take her for her first ride." I got onto another, and we rode slowly side by side. The big animal seemed to sense that she needed to be careful.

Together, Sarah and I cut up one of the ponchos and made a baby seat that I could carry on my back when we hiked. Sarah insisted that we make our annual trip to the Top of the World on her birthday, and there were places on the trail that it would be difficult and dangerous to try to carry a baby in our arms. We checked the seat out on several short hikes. It worked well. The baby was comfortable and secure, and I had freedom to use my arms.

July 25, 1958, Sara's sixteenth birthday, the three of us set off up the mountain. The others had begged off. The Top of the World, they said, was special to us, but it was not their favorite place on the island. They would rather not intrude on our special day at our special place.

"We won't stay here long today," Sarah said when we reached the crater. We don't need to anymore, and it's too dangerous for Deejay."

"Then, what did we come up here for?" I was more than a little perturbed.

"The Lord gave us a beautiful little girl. Today I want to give her back to Him, make our vows to raise her for His service, and ask for His blessing on His child."

"What a beautiful idea. I would have never thought of such a thing."

"When I first got pregnant, I was praying; asking God's blessing on my baby. He asked me to give her back to Him, and place her in His care. I didn't know what to do, but He has been so good to us. Surely he would take care of our baby. I said, 'Yes.' Then He told me that he would give her back to us to raise, but we must teach her, and raise her for His service."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Abraham didn't tell Sarah when he took Isaac to the mountain, to sacrifice him. When he got to the mountain, God didn't want Isaac's life. He only wanted Abraham to be willing."

"This was a vow I made to God. I thought you would hear from God too if it was necessary. In a way, it's a sacrifice for me. I am giving up of my child. From today, I will be God's handmaiden, raising God's child. You are my husband, my head, under God. I must be subject to your decision. If God hasn't talked to you about this, you--you don't have to, but I'm asking you to join me. Let me keep my vow to God."

"I guess, maybe, this is what dad used to call dedicating a baby to the Lord. People would bring their babies, and he would take them and pray over them, and give them back to their parents. I have thought that we should dedicate Deejay, but I didn't contemplate it as deeply as you have. I just thought it was a ceremony, a ritual that needed to be performed. Naturally, we'll do it together, but I want to think about it. I want it to be as real to me as it is to you. Can I have a little time to draw close to the Lord?"

"Certainly. The baby needs to be fed, anyway." She took the fussing infant out of the carrier and began to feed her, singing quietly.

I sat with my back against the north end of the shelter, and prayed, "Lord, I want to give Deejay to you, and raise her for your service, like Sarah says, but I really want to understand the depths of what I am doing? Please help me to understand."

That voice inside me, that I had heard so often during the last seven years, and know to be the Lord; said, "Timmy, you and Jamie were given to me when you were babies. So were the girls. For reasons of my own, I took you and raised you myself. I have told you before that your parents needed the test; but also, you are not the same person you would have been if you could have depended on your parents for whatever you needed. You had to depend on me. Your brother and the girls are different too for the same reason. I have prepared the five of you for something special. That doesn't mean I'll take Deejay. Many thousands of children are given to me. Only a few, very few leave their parent's home, even when the parents break their vows to raise my children to serve me. I can't share with you what I have in mind for Deejay. It is enough that she will need special parents, and you and Sarah are special parents. That's why she was given to you in the first place. I can assure you, that if you do not give her to me, you will deny her, Sarah, and yourself a great blessing."

"Lord, I haven't even considered not giving her to you. Everything I have or ever will have is yours. I just want to know what I am doing before I do it."

"Like Sarah said, you give up ownership of her. I gave her to you. She is yours to do with her as you please. If you give her back to me, she'll be mine to do with as I choose. I can take her in death. I can have a wave wash her into the sea, as I did you. I can take her to heaven as I did Elijah, or I can leave her with the couple I entrusted her with in the first place, to love and raise. Just remember, I love her more than you do."

"I am ready, Thank you Lord."

"Thank you, Timmy, you will all be blessed. You'll never regret this day, anymore than your mother regrets the day she gave you to me."

I sat there for a few minutes to see if there was anything else. I heard no more. "Are you through?"

There was no answer.

"Are you ready, Sarah?"

"I think we need a bath," she said smiling through her tears.

I held Deejay at arms' length while Sarah got into the water. Then I handed her the baby. "You will rob yourself of a blessing if you do this grudgingly or fearfully."

"I'm not crying from fear or distress. I'm crying for joy"

When Deejay was bathed, I took her, and Sarah came out of the lake. We climbed the rock steps left from the year before to the Top of the World. We stood facing each other, holding our precious daughter between us.

"Lord God Almighty, Lord of the universe, our Heavenly Father, I thank you for your many blessings. I thank you that you always hear our prayers. I thank you for my lovely wife. I thank you for my family down at the cave, and I thank you for blessing our home with this beautiful child. Father, this is Debra Julia Davis, our precious daughter; whom we love with all of our hearts; whom we cannot care for without your help and guidance. Therefore, as the head of our home, under you, I join my wife in fulfilling her vow."

"Lord," Sarah continued, "I am too young and too inexperienced to know how to be the right kind of mother to raise our daughter without your help so I give her back to you. She is yours now to do with as you wish. Take her in your blessed arms, love her and bless her. If you give her back to us to raise, give me . . . No. Give us the wisdom and determination to care for her, to teach her, and to prepare her for your service in the special calling that you have on her life. I pledge myself to you to be your handmaiden, subject to the husband you have placed over me."

"And Lord," I continued. "Give me the wisdom to lead my family in the paths of righteousness. Help me to deal fairly and maintain the high standards necessary to prepare your child, whom you have placed in our care, for her calling in your service. I thank you for returning her to us now. In Jesus' name, Amen"

"Amen." Sarah agreed.

As we lay in our bed in the west room that night, Sarah said. "Timmy, you didn't take Deejay from me, while I was praying on the mountain."

"And you didn't put her into my arms, when I was finishing, either."

Neither of us had to ask, "Did you?" at the end of our statements. From the time Sarah asked the Lord to take her in His arms, until I said, ". . . Your child, whom you have placed in our care . . ." neither of us were holding her. Deejay had been blessed. She was no longer ours. She was the Lord's child left with us to love and raise.

"Why does the Lord always seem so much closer on the Top of the World? or even on the mountain?" She changed the subject. "We know He's always with us wherever we are. He lives within our hearts, but up there, He makes himself so much more real. Miracles happen in our lives on the Top of the World that don't happen any where else; such as, us rising off the rock at the wedding, and Deejay being taken from us today."

"He is always with us, and we do see miracles nearly every day. The only reason I can think of, that he meets us in that unique way, is that we expect that special union with Him up there."

"I don't understand."

"Remember that first night on the Top of the World, when you were in that dungeon with rats gnawing at you, when you really needed to feel His presence?"

"How could I ever forget that?"

"We both had a miraculous experience, but I don't think I would ever have returned; however, you associated the experience with the place and believed it would happen again if we returned. I was almost angry the first birthday you dragged us all up there, but it was your birthday. It was my duty to make you happy. Again the Lord met us, and the place became special to me also. After that we both came to expect those glorious experiences in that place, and He never failed to meet us there. We could have the same experiences right here in our bed, at Lake Four, or you and the girls could have them in the ravine. You said it. He is in us and with us always, no matter where we are."

"I miss being up there tonight. Do you think we might leave Deejay with the others sometimes and go up there, because it is so special, and we have such a short time left."

"If you can figure out how to feed Deejay down here when you're up there."

"We'll have to wait a few months until she can drink well out of a cup. Then maybe she could drink goat milk for one night, once in a while."

"Sure, we can do that, but won't it hurt you awful bad not to feed the baby?"

"I don't think it will in a few months. I'll surely miss that place when we're gone."

"Sarah, that's twice you have referred to leaving the island soon. Do you know something I don't? Does it have anything to do with the reason you were crying on the mountain this afternoon?"

"I experienced a visit with the Lord on the mountain, Timmy. We have another year, but not two before someone finds us."

"Are you sure?"

"Are you sure I'm your wife? Are you sure Deejay is our daughter?"

"I'd stake my life on it."

"So would I."

"I had hoped it might be sooner."

"Shall we tell the others?"

"It was your revelation. What do you think?"

"I wasn't even sure I should tell you. If you hadn't asked, I wouldn't have. I think they will be here before Deejay's second birthday, but I know they will come before I am eighteen. The Lord said, 'Sarah, you will only have one more birthday before you are discovered. You may come back for others, but you will leave before your second birthday."

"We'll start watching the sea on your next birthday. Until then we'll be safe."

"Do you think we'll be in any danger?"

"Not really. The Lord is with us, but we have no idea what to expect. It's kind o' scary."

"I know what you mean. I wish whoever finds us would go away again and tell our parents where we are, and ask them to come here. If we could get reacquainted with them here on our island, it wouldn't be so scary. At least we'd know somebody out there before we left. God can you please work that out for us?" Sarah prayed. "We don't even know our own parents any more."

"Yeah, but we know Jesus. He'll be with us and protect us, wherever we are." I pulled her closer to me. "Let's pray and see if the Lord will make Himself as real to us here, as he does on the Top of the World."

Sara snuggled even closer against me. "Lord God Almighty, in Jesus' precious Name, we ask you to make your presence known to us like you always have on the mountain. We know you are always with us, but it is so nice just to feel that unity with you,and each other we have always enjoyed on the mountain. Meet us like that, here, tonight. Let us experience you and that total unity with each other. Thank you Father."

No more needed to be said. A warm glow settled over us. My eyes were closed, and I know we never left the room, but it was like we were on the Top of the World, looking out over the sea in the star light, in total harmony with God, and each other. In the far distance I heard Deejay whimper one time, and suddenly she was there with us on Sarah's breast. I knew that she too was one with us. I gazed at the stars and sea until I lost consciousness. I knew that we might leave the island, but the Top of the World would always be with us to be revisited whenever we needed it. Thank you Lord.

None of us moved during the night. It was the first time Sarah had not been awakened by hungry Deejay since she was born; and surprisingly, we were neither wet nor dirty.

Neither of us remembered getting Deejay. We both thought that we were on the Top of the World, and all the others denied being in our room, or even hearing the baby cry.

"We can go to the Top of the World any time we want." Sarah hugged me. "Isn't that wonderful?"

"That's because the memory of it is burned so deeply in our hearts; it's easy for Jesus to remind us. I know Jesus wasn't talking about things like this, when he said the Holy Spirit would bring all things to our remembrance, but that's what happened."

"He knows the Top of the World is so precious to us."

"And we know that Jesus is everywhere, not just on the mountain."

Time flew. Almost over night, Deejay scooted, sat, crawled, pulled up to things, walked, and even fell off the patio into the lake below. Fortunately, she had been swimming since she was a week old; and most importantly, she had God's protecting hand on her. She had been up by the cave one minute. The next, some of dogs were jumping off the patio, and others were looking over the edge, barking. Sarah and I hit the water about the same time, but when we came up we found our year-old daughter splashing in the water like she had done something big, as she had seen the rest of us do.

I spent the remainder of that day, and the next, putting a fence across the patio. Jamie thought it was a nuisance because he could not run and jump into the water without first climbing over the low fence, but he said his little sister was worth it.

Copyright © 1995
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

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