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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 12 January 2009 - 3:30pm. | | | |

Tarry Until I Return
Steven G. O'Dell © 2008

The disciples were yet gathered together around the fire at the shore of the sea. All had been fed well, thanks to the guidance of the Lord and the abundance of fish they had netted as a result of their obedience to his words. As with the others, Jesus had called this one to follow. He had also called him 'beloved'. John's heart was good and his mind sharp, but something was bothering him. There was no doubt for him that Jesus was the very Messiah promised by all the Holy Prophets of old. Had he not fulfilled all of the prophecies so far? And John and the other disciples would never have understood these passages except they had been expounded upon by Jesus himself. The Rabbis were scratching at the dirt in the darkest of nights to understand and teach the passages that were now so clear to him. He wondered that he had not understood them before. Still, something tore at him and caused him pain.

The Master had shown himself several times to his disciples after the resurrection, the Apostles had been chosen and set apart for the work, ordained and authorized to use the Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, and this in the service of their fellow man. And this was exactly what was bothering John.

“Master?” he asked timidly.

“Yes, Beloved One?” His affection for his followers was never questioned, but there was a special place in his heart for this one, for his virtue and valor was never an issue.

“You have told us that you must leave to prepare the way for men to enter the heavens, is that not so?”

“Yes, I must return unto my Father and your Father or the work shall not be finished as it was intended from the foundations of the world. I must complete my mission and keep my promise unto the Father.”

“What shall we do without you, Master? How shall we continue on the path of righteousness and not falter?”

“Have I not promised you the Comforter in my place? Have you not understood that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you and your brethren and shall remind you of all things which I have said and shall lead you in the path that you must go? Have you heard so much and understood so little?”

“Lord, I have heard and yet do not comprehend. I am but a child in these things. My weakness I know all too well.”

“John, my beloved servant, your spirit is ready and humble enough to understand the hidden things of God and in due time you shall. Fear not that I said I shall leave you for a season. Know you well that I shall be with you in all things whatsoever you do in my name and that I shall never forsake you nor your brethren. Have I not overcome death for your sakes? Have you yet so little faith?”

“No, Master. I trust your words and know fully of your love. And yet it grieves me that we shall be without you. How long shall you be gone from our midst?”

“It is not apparent to you now, but shall be, that life is but the twinkling of an eye and then comes the night when there shall be no labor. Yet remain faithful and worthy of the resurrection unto perfection and you shall dwell with the Father and again in my presence.”

“Yea, Lord. I seek to do all things according to thy will.”

John drew away a short distance to rest and ponder what he had been told, yet he did not sleep well that night. He had no doubts of the words and promises given him. Nay, he had a desire he feared might be contrary to the will of the Master. After the passing of an agonizing night, John arose early and returned to Jesus. There was yet one question he must ask, but he knew not whether he had the courage to do so.

“John, my beloved, I perceive that you are troubled in your heart. My time is near, but not yet, that I shall leave to return unto the Father. What would you have me do for you?” He gazed into John's eyes with the love and patience that had always been characteristic of him. Did John also detect the trace of a smile?

“I..., Master, I wish to....” He faltered and feared to ask.

“Fear not, my friend. Ask the desires of your heart. I know your soul and I trust you would not ask amiss. Therefore, ask and it shall be granted to you.” He did smile. There was no mistaking it.

“Master,” John cast his gaze to the floor. “The other brethren have voiced their wishes to come unto you and the Father when they shall pass from this mortal realm. That is a great desire, I know....”

“Yes, and this righteous desire that shall be granted, should they remain steadfast unto the end. Tell me, what is your desire?”

Again John hesitated. A tear began to form in the corner of his eye and he reached quickly to wipe it away. “My desire is different, Lord. I fear to speak it, lest I offend you in this manner.” His face was still aimed downward.

“Have I not told you that I know your heart? I also know thy desires. Speak them to me and be at peace. You have but to ask in order to receive.”

John took a deep breath and heaved a shuddering sigh, then continued. “The desire of my brethren is great, indeed. My desire is to remain and serve you for so long as I am able. My heart reaches out to those of the Gentile nations that have yet to hear the Plan of Exaltation that we have been privy to. Have you not said that they are also of the seed of Abraham and that his seed was scattered among all the quarters of the earth and that in him would all men be blessed? Is this not so?”

“This I have said. I have promised that you shall do greater things than I have done. As I have called to the lost sheep of Israel, you shall yet call to kings and princes and magistrates and deliver unto them the Holy Word of God.”

“How shall that be, Master, if I should live so long as a man is allowed and no more?”

“John....” He paused and waited for John's eyes to rise and make contact with his. “Blessed are you for this desire. You shall have the desire of your heart and shall tarry until I come again to rule and reign upon the earth. You have asked the greatest thing among all your brethren. I am well pleased.”

“Master, I give thanks that you are not angry with me.”

“Shall I be angered that you would serve men so long as you have breath? Shall I be angered that you wish to fulfill the measure of your creation? And shall I be less than joyous that you would ensure your place at my right hand near my Father's throne? My heart is well-pleased and to over-flowing with joy for you, my brother and my friend. I look forward anxiously to that day when I shall say to you, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into your rest in the Kingdom of God. For this desire I grant that you shall be spared the dangers and frailties common to man. You shall serve a good, long time and I shall greet you and embrace you when again I return. Is this sufficient for you?”

“Yea, Lord. Yea.” John could say no more. He had received what he valued most—the opportunity to serve until his Savior should return. What an adventure this would prove to be. John's heart was full as he prostrated himself before the Lord and wept for joy.

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