Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Words for Lent: Forgiven by Mandy Baker Johnson

I'm doing a word-a-day challenge through Lent, using a word prompt set by Rethink Church. Today's word is Forgiven, and I've written the post as an imaginary excerpt from Rahab's journal. Enjoy :)

What a week. I don't quite know what to make of it, really. At least we're all safe and together, me and my family.

Not long after the spies escaped, we saw the Israelites camped outside Jericho. The king closed the gates and prepared for a siege. There was an odd stillness in the air, as if the very presence of God was here. Quite unnerving.

One week ago today, we heard trumpets blowing. My dad and brothers and me ran up onto the roof of my house to see what was going on. What a sight met our eyes. The Israelite army marched along followed by seven priests blowing trumpets, sunlight glinting off the instruments. Behind, was the famous and much-feared Ark of the Covenant as their rear guard.

Aside from the trumpets, there was absolute silence. Not one of the soldiers spoke. It was eerie.

Although I'm a grown woman and a prostitute, I felt for my dad's hand and held it fast.

'You're sure the spies will keep their word, Rahab?' he said.

'If they are like their God, they will,' I replied. I slipped downstairs and double-checked the scarlet sash was visible in the window.

For six days, the same thing happened. The army marched around the city walls once in silence, with the seven priests blowing the trumpets.

Everyone in Jericho was terrified. I wished they would listen to me so they could be safe too, but they continued to pray to the useless gods of Jericho for salvation.

This morning, the army and the priests with their trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant walked in
silence around the city walls seven times. I noticed some of the soldiers looking up at the scarlet sash in my window, and my heart beat fast. I was certain something was about to happen.

As they completed the seventh lap, the army let out a great shout. And - I'm still shaking from the shock of it - the huge, thick walls of Jericho went crashing to the ground as though something powerful had struck them.

At once, the two spies I'd hidden, came looking for me and my family. They took us to safety, to their camp.

As I'm writing this, I'm overwhelmed with the enormity of it. My mum can't stop crying, it's all been a bit much for her. I know how she feels. The whole city wall collapsed, just like that. But my house and the part of the wall it was built on stayed standing.

The only thing I'm sure of right now is that the God of Israel is my God. I reached out to Him in faith and He heard the cry of my heart. I know I am forgiven, and I'm determined to leave my life of prostitution behind.

Mandy Baker Johnson is a private medical secretary and freelance writer. She enjoys blogging and has recently co-authored her first book, Drawn from Words. She volunteers with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry.


  1. Wonderful retelling of the story, Mandy.

  2. Very powerful. My husband uses this method sometimes instead of a sermon. Well written and beautifully drawn as a story with fresh meaning.

    1. Thanks Deborah. Nice to know I'm in good company (with a preacher) as well :)

  3. I love the way you tell these stories from the bible, Mandy. It brings it to life for me.

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement Agatha. I love reading other writers who do this with Bible stories, I particularly like Patricia St John's 'The Victor' which brings the time of Jesus in the Gospels to life. I really appreciate your encouragement x

  4. I'm a member of a local Christian writing group and we often have something like this as our writing challenge. I love the creativity inherent in bringing an old story alive and getting inside the head of the characters in the Bible. Sometimes, it takes just one line. I think I read that 'The Red Tent' was based on one brief reference to Dinah.