23 As the Boy walked on before them in the company of two of His female cousins, His mother could only nod in agreement!

Chapter Eight

Now, as in all cities Nazareth had its good and its bad, but one boy in particular, who lived near Jesus listened too often to he voice of the Dark Ones. He would be into all kinds of difficulty from the rising of the sun to the setting.
2 He would put stumbling blocks before the blind. He would trip the lame, he would torment the beasts in the pastures.
3 He was called Joshua, but he did not deserve such an honored name.
4 Now, one day Mary heard great lamentation down the street and asked of a man passing what had happened. "That fool boy Joshua," the man answered, "was in the pasture tormenting an oxen. He irritated the beast too much and got too close. It turned on him and trampled him. His head is smashed like a man breaks a ripe fruit. His parents have hopes, but they are false wishes. If the boy lives his wits will be gone. He will be lucky if he remembers his own name."
5 When Mary heard this she, too, grieved, for though the boy was troublesome she wished him no pain.
6 That evening after supper the boy's mother appeared at Mary's door. "I hate to bother you," the woman announced. "You know my son is hurt. I do not know why but he is calling for Jesus, begging Him to come. Would He come down and comfort him?"
7 Jesus looked up from the scriptures which He was reading and told the woman, "It is not yet time for me to come down. When the hour is right I will speak to your son. But if I speak now he will not learn what God has intended that he should do. Tell him I will come, but not now."
8 The woman was angry that Jesus would not come at that very moment at her son's bidding, but Mary told her, "He knows what is best. If it is not the hour do not question him. When it is right He will come."
9 The days passed slowly and Joshua suffered much torment. Mary wished strongly that Jesus would go to him.
10 One day Jesus looked at her and smiled. "Your compassion is great, mother, but if you ask God to interfere too soon, if you do not let His lessons be learned, then the one suffering will only be reprieved for but an hour. Let me save him, instead, for eternity."
11 Mary returned His smile and returned to her labors.
12 Now, one day Mary saw Joshua being led by his cousin who had come to help tend him. There was a place where he would like to go and sit in the warm sun. As they departed Mary saw Jesus follow after, and joy filled her heart.
13 It was nearly dusk before the three returned. Joshua was not being led by his cousin, but was walking to one side of Jesus while his cousin walked on the other. They were laughing and talking in great joy.
14 When Joshua's mother saw him coming, she gave a great cry, rushed out, seized her son and marveled at his recovery. She fell to her knees praising the glory of God.
15 Joshua looked towards Jesus. Mary could tell there was something he wished to speak of, but he held his tongue.
16 From that day forth Joshua became a different man. He married his cousin. When the sister of the blind man died that he had tormented as a child, Joshua brought him into his own home and cared for him as if he was a kinsman.
17 The lame and the feeble minded in the city did he look after. The people of Nazareth began to look upon him as a great man.
18 Only years later after Jesus had started to preach did Joshua come to Mary and tell her what had happened that day.
19 "My despair," he told her, "had reached its fullness. I longed bitterly for death and release from this tortured body that had become my prison.
20 When my cousin left me I made my way to the edge of the high place and cast myself off, thinking to smash myself on the rocks below and end my misery. But I found myself floating in the air, itself, suspended between Heaven and Earth. It was then that my vision returned. I beheld the rocks below and the sky above. I knew that I was in the hands of God.
21 I looked and there was Jesus standing in the air beside me. I knew not why but I gave a loud cry, saying, "Blessed am I, for God has not forsaken me. If He will return to me my life, from this day forth I will do only good things."
22 Jesus smiled upon me, took my hand, and I walked back with Him to the solid ground.
23 I fell to my knees, weeping, saying, 'My God lives among us, and I knew Him not!'
24 'Pledge to me this hour,' Jesus told me, 'this day, that you will speak not ever of what has happened here until other men know what you know. Then you will speak of it only to my mother, that she may know.'
25 I swore to Him I would obey and have kept that oath even unto the day though I have wanted to tell all the world that in that in that hour He snatched my soul from Hell."
26 Mary blessed him, sent him on his way, and told him to speak not of it again. But in the city of Nazareth the name of Joshua again bore great honor for many years to come.

Page 7

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