A Salvo En Casa, Capítulo treinta y uno (Excerpt from Safely Home)

A unque había frío afuera, A la celda de Quan estaba cerca del calentador. Cuando estaba encendido, la celda cambiaba rápidamente de congelante a caliente. El sudor corría de Quan, quemando sus ojos.

El toser alto a unas pocas celdas lo despertó. Sonaba como tuberculosis. Sin embargo, eso podía ser una bendición para un prisionero, sabía Quan. Los guardias no estaban ansiosos de interrogar o pegarle a prisioneros con enfermedades contagiosas.

Quan escuchó a Tai Hong y se estremeció. Su voz tenía un tono desconcertante, un sonido feroz, áspero con una resonancia fría, como del otro mundo. Ahora Quan escuchó un grito, después un gemido bajo. Como siempre esto despertaba sus oraciones. Al principio los gritos y gemidos no se podían distinguir, pero después de un rato comenzó a reconocer las voces y hasta los gemidos. Les dio nombres a las voces, estimó a cuántas celdas de él estaba cada uno. Oró por ellos con los nombres que les había dado.

Pero esta era una nueva voz. Y, sin embargo,… sonaba familiar. Era voz de barítono, distintivamente áspera. ¿Dónde había él escuchado la voz de Silas?

Oyó el golpe seco de una porra pegando sobre carne seguido de los gemidos de Silas. Quan oró por él. Pero no podía soportar pensar que el hombre pudiera morir sin haber escuchado de Yesu. De repente, Quan se movió hacia la apertura y gritó: «Cree en Zhu Yesu Jidu y serás salvo».

Escuchó al guardia moviéndose por el maloliente corredor. Alguien trató de abrir la puerta, maldiciéndolo. Quan tosió fuerte, escupiendo mientras el hombre entraba. Él miró fijo a los ojos de Tai Hong.

—No me engañas con esa tos, Li Quan. Tú no tienes una enfermedad… ¡excepto tu religión enferma!

Tai Hong movió su rostro a tres centímetros del de Quan y gritó casi sin mover los labios. Hong levantó una porra gruesa de roble, después la volteó y movió el brazo por debajo, pegándole a Quan en el estómago. Mientras Quan aún estaba respirando con dificultad, Tai Hong lo pateó en la ingle. Después le pegó debajo de la cintura.

El rostro de Tai Hong era terso, sin defectos, el rostro perfecto, plácido de la maldad.

Cuando Quan miró a ese rostro vio un enorme hoyo negro, como la boca de un túnel de ferrocarril que desaparece en la oscuridad. Li Quan le tenía temor a la muerte y estaba avergon- zado de su temor. El grito que ahora escuchó era el suyo.

Solo dos docenas de hombres podían escuchar su grito. Cinco de ellos oraron por Li Quan, incluyendo el de la voz profunda y áspera, llamado Silas por Quan, en el otro extremo del grupo de celdas.


—Ellos no conocen a la persona por quien están orando —dijo Li Tong.

—Pero conocen a Quien le están orando. Eso es lo que importa—dijo Li Manchu.

Li Ton miró al Carpintero, a treinta metros de ellos, las manos con cicatrices, levantadas hacia el portal, lágrimas corriendo por su rostro.

—¿Pero quién enjugará sus propias lágrimas?

—Cuando las lágrimas de sus hijos desaparezcan, también las suyas desaparecerán.

Li Manchu susurró:

—¿Hasta cuándo, Señor, hasta cuándo?

—Mientras más tarda la noche—dijo Li Wen—, más sueñan los hombres con el amanecer.

—Zhen jin bu pa huo lian —dijo Li Tong—. El oro verdadero no le teme al fuego. Mi hijo es oro verdadero.

Cayeron de rodillas, de frente al Hombre de Sufrimientos que era su Rey. Hablaron a favor de su siervo Li Quan.


Tai Hong rondaba sobre el cuerpo quebrantado de Li Quan.

—¿Crees tú que le tengo miedo a tu Dios? Si no cesas de hablar sobre tu religión, veré que te pongan en las celdas más abajo, incomunicado, ¡donde puedes hablar contigo mismo!

Antes de salir de la celda, echó hacia atrás su pesada bota y pateó a Li Quan en las costillas una vez más.

Una pregunta se repetía en la dolorida mente de Li Quan.

¿Es este el día en que muero?


—Bien, Won Chi. Ya que parece tan importante, te devolveré el auto para el sábado. ¿Supongo que no tienes otro auto que pueda utilizar?

—Todos los otros autos necesitan en PTE.

—Había suficientes y de repente todos se necesitan, ¿no es así? No hubo respuesta.

—Mira Chi, no voy a retroceder en esto. Hablé a la oficina del alcalde e hice docenas de otras llamadas. Si tengo que llamar a los recogedores de basura, lo haré. Así que, sí, puedes tener tu auto de regreso. Yo rentaré uno. Pero le puedes decir a cualquiera con quien has estado hablando que no estoy abandonando a Li Quan. Tengo una nueva serie de metas en mi vida. La núme- ro uno es sacar a mi amigo de la cárcel.


Extracto de A Salvo En Casa (fuera de la impression) por Randy Alcorn, capítulo treinta y uno.



Safely Home, Chapter 32

Though cold outside, Quan’s cell was near the boiler. When it was on, the cell jumped quickly from frigid to hot. Sweat poured from Quan, stinging his eyes.

The loud coughing a few cells down yanked him awake. It sounded like tuberculosis. Yet that could be a blessing for a prisoner, Quan knew. The guards were not eager to interrogate or beat prisoners with contagious diseases. He prayed for Eli, his name for the coughing man.

Quan listened to Tai Hong and flinched. His voice had an unnerving ring to it, a fierce, grating sound with an ice-cold, otherworldly resonance. Now Quan heard a scream, then a low moan. As always, this triggered his prayers. At first the screams and moans had been indistinguishable, but after a while he’d begun to recognize the voices, and even the moans. He gave names to the voices, guessed how many cells away each might be. He prayed for them by the names he’d given them.

But this was a new voice. And yet . . . it sounded familiar. It was baritone, with a distinctive rasp. Where had he heard the voice of Silas?

He heard the dull thud of a stick being beaten across flesh, followed by Silas’s moans. Quan prayed for him. But he could not bear to think the man might die without having heard of Yesu. Suddenly, Quan stepped to the opening and cried out, “Believe in Zhu Yesu Jidu and you will be saved.”

He did not stop. He yelled Scripture after Scripture until his voice was hoarse.

He heard the guard moving down the smelly corridor. He sat down. Someone fumbled at the door, swearing at him. Quan coughed hard, spitting just as the man rushed in. He stared into the eyes of Tai Hong. Quan’s bones turned to water.

“You do not fool me with coughing, Li Quan. You do not have a disease . . . except your diseased religion!”

Tai Hong calmly removed his shiny Rolex watch—a bribe that had purchased someone’s freedom or torture, Quan did not know which. Tai carefully put it in his front pants pocket.

He moved his face an inch from Quan’s and screamed, lips barely quiv­ering. Quan could not believe the voice was Hong’s own. It sounded more like the voice of the Lamaistic priest who’d thrown Ben to the ground, but higher pitched. Hong raised up a thick oak stick, then turned it and swung his arm under handed, punching Quan in his stomach so hard that he could not breathe. While Quan was still gasping, Tai Hong kicked him in the groin. Then he stripped off Quan’s pants and beat him below the waist, again and again and again.

Tai Hong’s face was smooth, flawless—the perfect, placid face of evil.

When Quan looked at that face, he saw a black yawning hole, like the mouth of a railroad tunnel that disappears into the darkness. Li Quan was afraid of death and ashamed of his fear. The scream he heard now was his own.

Only two dozen men on earth could hear his scream. Five of them prayed for Li Quan, including the one with the deep, raspy voice, though none knew his name. They knew him only as “the singing man”—called Silas by Quan—at the far end of the cell block.

“They do not know the one they are praying for,” said Li Tong.

“But they know the One they are praying to. That is what matters,” said Li Manchu.

“This PSB chief is infuriated by the word of King Elyon,” said Li Wen.

“Yes. Because it has the power to set men free, even within their cells. Those who live by power cannot stand to have their power taken.”

“But soon all their power will be gone anyway. And all the suffering of Elyon’s family, forever gone. He promises to wipe away the tears from every eye.”

“He always keeps his promises.”

Li Tong looked at the Carpenter, a hundred feet from them, scarred hands lifted out toward the portal, tears streaming down his face. “But who will wipe away his own tears?”

“When his children’s tears are gone, his will be too.”

Li Manchu whispered, “How long, O Lord? How long?”

“The longer the night lasts,” said Li Wen, “the more men dream of the dawn.”

“Zhen jin bu ba huo lian,” said Li Tong. “Real gold fears no fire. My son is real gold.”

They fell to their knees, facing the Man of Sorrows who was their King. They spoke on behalf of his servant, Li Quan.

Tai Hong hovered over Li Quan’s broken body. “Do you think I am afraid of your God? If you will not stop talking about your religion, I will see that you are put in the lower cell blocks, in solitary confinement, where you can talk to yourself!”

Hong put his Rolex back on. Before leaving the cell, he drew back his heavy boot and kicked Li Quan in the ribs one last time.

One question repeated itself within the aching mind of Li Quan: Is this the day I die?

Reader gazed through the portal and spoke passionately:

Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. O righteous God Most High, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. In his pride the wicked does not seek you. In all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty. He sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me.” He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account.” But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Li Tong looked at Li Manchu. “Day and night the watchers cry out to our King, but still he has not moved his hand.”

“He has moved his hand every moment of every day and in the darkest passes of the night,” Li Manchu said. “But not as we always wish, nor in ways clearly visible to us—and certainly not visible to them.”

“But his is a throne of justice. How can justice be so long postponed?”

“His is also a throne of grace. The grace is not only to the persecuted, but to the persecutors. If the postponement of justice for one more day brings more image-bearers—whether persecuted or persecutors—to grace, so be it.”

“You are right, of course. Even here, the waiting is not easy. But it is far harder for those still trapped in the Shadowlands.”

“Yes. But with the King a thousand years is as a day. Ask the earth- dwellers a million years from now if their momentary suffering was an acceptable exchange for eternal glory.”

Li Tong nodded. “As inhabitants of the true country, it is our privilege to already know the answer to that question.”

“Okay, Won Chi. Since it seems so important, I’ll get the car back by Saturday. I don’t suppose you have another one I can use?” “All other cars needed by PTE.”

“There were plenty before, and suddenly they’re all needed, huh?” There was no answer.

“Look, Chi, I don’t know what people are telling you, but my friend should be released from jail. I’m not going to back off on this. I’ve talked to the mayor’s office, and I’ve made dozens of other phone calls. If I have to call the garbage collectors, I’ll do that. So, yes, you can have your car back. I’ll rent my own. But you can tell whoever you’ve been talking to that I’m not giving up on Li Quan. I’ve got a new set of life goals—number one is getting my friend out of jail. This isn’t about Getz anymore. This is personal.”


Excerpt from Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn

 

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries

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