Chapter 30: The Meager Shelter
The LORD is your security. He will keep
your foot from being caught in a trap.
PROVERBS 3:26 NLT
Not long after the boys’ arrival in Solomon’s throne room, Kester found himself in a unique position. His seat was in the usual place—a cushion beside the king’s footstool. And his responsibility was the same as ever—to play quietly upon the lion’s head harp. But Lemuel was with him. Or more correctly, behind him.
“Are you afraid of Mauler?” Kester asked quietly.
The prince huffed. “I’m not afraid of anything.”
Kester recognized the untruth, but not some of the other feelings welling up inside. They were distractingly complex and difficult to categorize. He’d never been another person’s shelter before, and the weight of the unaccustomed responsibility unsettled his soul. I was not made to guard or protect. Does this boy not realize that I am meager shelter?
Never before had Kester been more aware of his fragility. If attacked, the enemy could pluck him more easily than a harp string. Lemuel had guardian angels, but all Kester had was an equally ill-equipped mentor.
Well, perhaps not all.
Several of his Flightmates were cherubim. And Benaiah watched out for him here in the palace. As did Ichi. Kester might be new and inexperienced, but he was far from alone. A child of light, he belonged to God Most High. All things were most assuredly in His keeping.
So Kester’s reeling thoughts ebbed into more peaceful rhythms, and he focused on the things he could do. For he was made for song. And there was a harp in his hands. But as he spun melodies and harmonies, he thought to wonder if these stirrings were similar to how Asaph felt about him. Did a mentor’s wings tremble as they offered shelter? Kester’s gaze flitted along the edges of the throne room, but Asaph wasn’t present.
Did you need something, apprentice mine? His mentor’s tone was light, almost teasing.
Kester asked the first question that came to mind. Are you afraid for me?
Kester shifted uneasily in the silence that ensued.
Then Asaph gently posed, Can faith and fear coexist?
Could they? Kester’s fingers drifted through David’s composition as he considered an answer. Yes?
Kester wasn’t sure if his experience amounted to truth, but one thing was certain. I have been afraid, yet I am faithful. I remain one of the Faithful.
Amen and amen. Yes and yes. Asaph hummed softly in his apprentice’s thoughts. Your presence in my keeping has changed my perspectives in unexpected ways.
A fresh series of emotions trickled through Kester. Are you afraid?
Not at the moment. Are you?
Kester blinked. Not at the moment.
Good. Calm permeated Asaph’s tone. There’s no reason to fear the unexpected. In my experience, God Most High likes to make things new. Watch for them.
Watch for … what?
At that moment, the tune Kester had been playing came to an end. It was time to choose a new song, but before he could, a ruckus broke out at the far end of the room. Servants and guards hurried to quell the disturbance, which drew everyone’s attention. Even the king’s.
Solomon sat forward, then lifted a hand.
A woman broke from the crowd to approach the throne. Clearly, she wanted to get to the Solomon, but not with any trace of respect or awe. She was too busy haranguing the woman who stumbled after her, arm outstretched. Kester had spent enough mornings in the throne room to know that their race was pointless. Solomon would hear both sides in a dispute. He never ruled in favor of the one who talked fastest, yelled loudest, or reached him more quickly.
As they drew closer, Kester tried to make sense of their shrilling. The wails of the baby in the first woman’s arms echoed off the walls, making it hard to hear.
Suddenly, Lemuel shrank against him, his hand fisted in the back of his shirt.
“Why are you hiding?” whispered Kester.
“I don’t like them.”
Kester sat taller, doing his best to shelter for Lemuel while trying to figure out what had frightened the prince. The grim-faced palace guards? The squabbling women? The crying baby?
No … babies. He’d not noticed the second infant.
Probably due to the child’s silence.
♦ Raise your hand if you know where this story is headed. : )
♦ Have you ever been responsible for someone else’s safety?
♦ Let’s pose Asaph’s question. Because it’s a tricky one. Can faith and fear coexist?
Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] and updates on Thursdays. More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page. Sage and Song, © Copyright 2015 Christa Kinde, all rights reserved. If you want to receive an email whenever my stories update, subscribe to this blog. You can also watch for notifications on Twitter.