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    The hopeless bank robber by Jan Davis

    Frank reached a crossroads. Sick kids throughout the winter created a mound of “payment due” notices from doctors. The loan company threatened foreclosure on their home. A flat on his old truck helped deflate any hopeful expectations. His second job helped, but not enough. He needed a way out.

    The events played over and over in his head as he wrote the note he would later hand the teller. He stuck the small-caliber pistol inside his coat pocket but jammed the shells back into his dresser drawer.

    He tried everything. Even petitioned God’s help. Like the banker, God didn’t return his calls.

    The ride into town gave him time to think. After today, he would be a wanted man — always glancing over his shoulder, on the run. A plan began to form in his mind. Lay low for a while in a small, out-of-theway hotel. Call his wife and tell her everything. He would figure out the rest later.

    He planned to send small portions of the stolen money home. Not large amounts or big bills, but small ones sent often enough to keep the roof over their heads.

    Frank parked the pickup on a side street, close to the alley for an easy getaway. In a final urgent plea, he prayed. “God if you really care, now would be a good time to show up.”

    He pushed on the handle and slid out of the car. With a determined stride, he covered the short distance Arts Line A Matter of Faith to the bank.

    A long string of customers at the teller’s window heightened his strained nerves. Frank feared he would lose his courage. In a weak attempt to take his mind off the real purpose of his visit, he studied the people.

    The impatient man ahead complained, “They need more help around here,” as the line inched forward.

    The young clerk looked apprehensive as she waited on patrons. Left alone to cope with the rude, loud-mouthed man, she glanced around, but no one rescued her.

    Frank watched the guard stare at the clock on the wall, more attentive to the time of day than the folks around him. “Worthless,” Frank mumbled. The guy needed to do his job, approach the creep and help calm her nerves. By Frank’s calculation, the guy’s shift ended in about 30 minutes. Not today.

    A petite, elderly lady finished her transaction, made eye contact with Frank and smiled before she strolled through the revolving door. A subtle lavender scent lingered in the air.

    At least one person is in a good mood. Frank glimpsed down and spotted a New Testament on the floor and bent to retrieve God’s Word. The small Bible laid open to a page in Philippians. A verse highlighted in yellow read, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

    Frank closed his eyes and shut out all the noise. “God, is this scripture a sign or a mere coincidence?”

    He detected a glimmer of optimism as God spoke into his spirit. “Believe in me.”

    The buildup over the previous months finally drove him to the edge. Somewhere along the way, he lost confidence in God and himself. But a smile from a kind woman and a misplaced little Bible became the means God used to bring peace to his troubled heart. God’s divine intervention kept him from the biggest mistake of his life.

    He left his place in the queue and headed toward the exit. Through gritted teeth he muttered, “Your lucky day” and gave a cool nod to security. Outside, he paused and looked up. The evening sun warmed his face as he walked back to his truck.

    Frank slipped the little Bible inside his jacket and touched the cold barrel of his revolver.

    “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJ).

    Because of Jesus, there is always hope. Regardless of how desperate the problems appear, God is greater. Trust him and never lose faith.

    I love you but Jesus loves you more.

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