We both moved behind a big stack of hay to hide. We heard the voices of two men whispering rapidly. I couldn’t hear much of what they said, but I know that one had a lantern and the other had a rope. Both men William and I had never seen or heard of before. They kept on whispering a long while, when suddenly William grabbed ma and pulled me closer to him.
‘Jubilee, I was listening to what those men were saying. Those guys are going to burn the whole barn down! We need to get out of here and warn everyone else!’ he whispered anxiously.
‘Why are they going to do that?’ I asked him, feeling more and more insecure.
‘I’m not exactly sure, but they did say something about what the Browns and somebody else did just to ruin their lives. I know the Browns would never do anything to hurt other people, but I guess they took it that way. Now we need to get out of here!’ his voice growing more urgent. But it was too late! The men had just set fire the hay nearest the ladder. I saw them take the rope and swing out the window. As soon as they both disappeared out the window, William jumped up and raced toward the window. I followed close behind him. Looking out we both saw that there was no way out! The men were able to use the rope and the barrels outside to get down safely, in the meantime knocking the barrels all over the place. Fear started to grip my heart as I looked up into Williams face. The look that passed between us was almost indescribable as the reality set in.
‘I’ve got to get you out of here…and quick!’ he was close to panicking, but amazingly he stayed calm. His tone of voice alarmed me greatly so I instantly fell to my knees and began crying out to God. Meanwhile smoke and flames began to spread like lightening. William went from one wall to the other, looking for something to aid us in getting out. Below us we could hear screams, cries, and yelling as everyone became confused and panicked. Nobody knew we were up here! Suddenly, I heard a huge crack! I looked up at William with fear definitely evident in my eyes. He came running towards me.
‘Jubilee there’s no way out! You must jump out the window,’ he urgently explained to me. Jump!?! How could I make myself jump! We were about eleven feet above the ground.
‘But William I could die jumping out the window! And what about you?’ I cried, tears pouring down my face.
‘I know it’s risky, but better to get out of here than to be burned alive!’ he pleaded with me. But I couldn’t leave him!
‘I won’t leave you! I’ll die with you then!’ I shouted to him. He came and grasped me in his arms. That moment was unforgettable! That’s when it happened. The floor collapsed underneath us sending us flying. William managed to hold onto me the whole time. While I was screaming , William just had a face that I couldn’t explain. He seemed ready to face death if that was what God's will was. That moment, time seemed to go in slow motion. The next thing I knew I saw a blur of bright flames and then blackness. I’ve been told what happened next. William, by the mighty protection of God, didn’t pass out like I did. With his left arm broken he was able to drag me out of the burning barn, barely being missed by a falling beam. He got burned all over his arms, but miraculously not his face. Outside I do remember opening my eyes and hearing tones of cheers and cries of joy. I saw William collapse and our parents rushing toward us. Then blackness again. I remember waking up a day in a half later feeling a bit of pain in my head and a few bruises. Mama told me that it was a miracle I was still alive! I only looked at her and managed to say, ‘William! What about William?’ Mama burst into tears. My heart sank! No! He wasn’t gone was he? I began shaking my head and saying, ‘No! No! It didn’t happen! He is still here!’
‘Oh Jubilee! He is still alive but he isn’t conscience. He has a broken arm and both of his arms of severely burned. And the doctor said his legs aren’t too good either,’ Mama cried to me. Many days later he miraculously awoke. I was sitting next to him, grasping his hand.
‘William! How can I ever thank you?’ I asked through the tears streaming down my face.
‘Don’t thank me, thank God!’ he hoarsely whispered, smiling his awesome smile.
‘But why didn’t you just’… My voice failed me.
… ‘Leave you?’ he finished. I nodded. ‘Because, I couldn’t leave you. God was still with me and gave me strength. Remember His word says ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ I was going to use every ounce of effort to get you out of there, even if it meant giving up my own life. But overall, I did it because I love you!’ he looked deeply into my eyes. Just like Jesus, William was willing to give up his life for me! Instantly I remembered that passage in the Bible where it says, ‘Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friend.’ William’s eyes met mine and I could see he was thinking of the very same thing.
‘I love you, William! Forever and ever, I’ll love you!’
Eventually William was healed. But his arm was never the same. He also had scars all over his arms.
Now, remember, my dear friend, how much love can impact one’s life. Keep on loving others in a way that no matter what happens you will be ready to give up your life for them if need be. Love them the way Jesus did and that is unconditionally. I see you need to go. I’m glad you came and visited me today! Here is your hat and coat. Yes, you have a wonderful evening too! Your very welcome! See you again soon! Good-bye!