Leonard was orphaned to the streets at 5. His family lived in an archipelago in the Bermuda Triangle and one day their boat never came back. The rest of his life he worked for that love he lost.
The thing about living in the Bermuda Triangle was that a lot of boats crashed there. And the residents saw opportunity to pilfer wealth from them. Leonard saw a desire and he met it. He begged for enough money to rent a boat. He offered to ferry people where they wanted. He worked hard, for he had no family to go to, and because he longed for people to love him. People did love him, for his quick and die-hard attitude to get them where they wanted.
And soon he was able to purchase a bigger boat, with oars (it seemed he was always fighting where the wind wanted to take them when he put up the sail). And after that he bought a bigger one with a basic motor. In ten years he had one of the biggest on the island. And a reputation that he would do anything the bloodthirsty thieves wanted to the crashed boats.
A rich banker saw his desperate desire to please and invested in him. He got him a big boat with a huge engine. And he brought to Leonard all the rotten businessmen from all the surrounding islands. It appeared he had finally found the love he had lost at his youth, and riches to prove it.
They drank and smoked and got Leonard started on those as well. They saw how willing to please he was and made a joke of him. "Dance like a monkey! Ha That's it!" Or "Come here monkey boy. I spilled my beer and want to wipe it up with your hair. Haha! It worked!"
He stored all the gold in the belly of his big, chugging boat. And all his hurt in his heart. He tried to use the three sails but the wind always seemed to be pulling him away from where his clients wanted him to go.
But one day a storm rolled in and broke his masts. He yelled at the storm. "God, why are you taking this away from me? This is all I have!" And then the same week someone started a rumor about him, and he lost much of his business. "Now, why this too, you sadistic God!?" And the following week a drunk boat captain ran into his boat. And as it was sinking he cried, "God! How can you do this to an orphan! I have nothing else!"
He got into his original tiny sailboat he used as a lifeboat as he watched his fortune, and many of the men sink into the ocean.
"I worked for all of that, God! How could you take everything I have?"
He heard a tiny voice, "Raise the sails."
"No way! It always takes me away from the islands and toward the open sea!"
But he heard again, "Raise the sails."
"Alright, well it appears you truly are a sadistic God. You are taking me to my own suicide." He thought, what else is there to lose. He raised the sail and fell asleep in the bow.
He woke up to a thump. His boat had hit land. He sat up and saw people coming toward him. It was... it was his father and his brother! Then came his mother! "Leonard!"
They embraced him like none others had since they had left. He burst into tears in his father's arms. "We're so glad you're here Leonard! We've missed you so much!"
"I have no more wealth! I have no more business. I have no more boat. God took it all away."
His mother put her hand on his shoulder and said, "Leonard, that stuff doesn't mean anything to us, here. We have each other. And now we even have your boat, if we ever wanted to go back."
He slowly stopped crying and looked around. They had made quite a paradise there on the island. Treehouses and waterfalls and gardens. It was all so different than the sooty streets of the other islands. He remembered the people that schemed and fought in the streets and eventually said, "I don't think we wanna go back. This actually looks much better."
And his father said, "We love it here. We have everything here, that is, except for one thing."
Leonard looked around at the verdant jungle paradise, and then looked up at his father. "What is that?"
His father pointed up at the tallest structure they had built on the island.
"It's a lighthouse. It just needs fire to light up the top."
"What's it for?"
"It's to tell boats there are islands here so they don't crash into them in the mist or at night."
Leonard thought of all the dirty men who waited like sharks to strike at the next crashed vessel. They would hate this. He thought for a moment. He reached into his pocket and held out a little metal lighter. He opened it with his thumb and flicked it a couple times. A flame danced from it.
"Hooray!" Shouted his little brother! Together they climbed the stairs in the lighthouse and set the big oil wick ablaze. Never again would a boat approach and be unaware that a dangerous archipelago was before them.
Leonard's mother took him into her arms and said, "I'm sorry you lost your fortune, my boy."
Leonard began to cried hard, though he didn't understand exactly why. His whole family held him until it was done. And he replied, "I thought I had a fortune before, but I was wrong. This is what I longed for all along."
Perhaps when God takes everything away, it is pointing us to what we really want. In Matthew 5 Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell everything he has, and then to come follow him. The ruler couldn't do it and walked away. But sometimes, perhaps, God takes everything away from us because He knows that is the only way we will turn to him.
When have you been in a season where it seems your life is being taken away from you. And what can you see God forming in you during that time?
- Raw Spoon