JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
A tale by Johny Noer
THE SECURITY CARD
"But the just shall live by faith" (Hab.2:4)
"Dad! I have got something in my eye."
It was my oldest daughter Charlotte. We had camped with our caravan outside a little forest, and while dinner was being prepared, the children played under the trees. One of the boys hit an old tree with a rod, and millions of small particles exploded in the air. Charlotte happened to be near the dangerous cloud of dust and got something in her eye. She went on playing for a while, but soon she started to have pain; now she came complaining, "Dad! I have got something in my eye!"
How many fathers, through generations, have not heard this same song of tears from their small ones, "Dad, I have got something in my eye!" and how many ‘dads’ have not tried with different means to help beautiful weeping eyes to get rid of little particles causing the tears.
That day, however, I could not imagine the dramatic chain-reaction of events, which soon would take place because of such a little grain of dust. I did not know that a small hard seed had forced its way into my secure family life in order to overthrow my existence of worldly guarantees.
Or did I?
Before we left on this particular journey an inner voice had certainly spoken to me about my ‘safety-net of security’. I sat at my desk arranging some insurance papers. Especially those who offered to cover everything possible in one great packet of ‘protection’. I like to be protected against theft and fire, accidents, dogs, water, violence, sickness and death. "Modern society is a jungle", I said to myself, "and as a responsible family father I must pay insurances." It was therefore with satisfaction that I arranged these papers, and I didn’t like at all the thought which kept creeping into my mind: "Who is your security? Am I not, says the Lord, thy fortress and thy shield?"
And now I was standing outside that forest with Charlotte’s tearful eyes, the one of which was getting small and red with pain.
"Let’s wait one hour and see what’s happening", I said to Charlotte. "If the eye hasn’t got better, we will go to the hospital."
An hour later the eye had not got better, and we went to the hospital.
"Your security-card", the nurse asked kindly, when we arrived. I showed her the little yellow card, which is the legal right of every Danish citizen. Denmark is the nation number one in the world in regard to a state-sponsored security system, which covers all persons from birth to grave including every possible hospital treatment. I sorted out my card and the nurse had first a quick look at the yellow paper before she turned to Charlotte’s eye. "Don’t worry", she said. "We will take care of that eye. I will call the doctor."
Charlotte was placed in front of a special telescope. The doctor examined her eye for a long time. Then he called other doctors. They all looked seriously into the telescope and said something in Latin to a secretary. Now and then they threw quick regards towards me. I didn’t like those regards. The whole atmosphere told me that something was wrong. Then one of the white-coated men approached me. "My name is Dr.Hansen", he said, stretching forward his hand. I stood up to greet him, but he asked me to sit down again. "I want to talk with you", he said seriously. "We are not quite sure, whether we are able to rescue the one eye of your daughter. She will be at the operation table at 4.00 o’clock this afternoon. We will do what we can."
I looked down at my hands. I was still sitting with the yellow security-card between my fingers. Perhaps, I thought, somebody would ask for it. Anyhow, it couldn’t help me now. That card would never be able to bring back the beautiful eye of Charlotte. Its registration number could do no miracles. Only God does wonders. Somewhere far back in my mind I had the feeling, that one day I would have to throw that six-digit card with its birth-number away…
Next day we visited Charlotte at the hospital. She was alright. The operation had succeeded and the young lady was lying in her white bed with a big smile. Somebody had just visited her and left a box of enormous sweet-drops at her table. 4-year old Thomas never paid attention to the white bandage on Charlotte’s eye. He was staring at the big sweet-drops on the table.
While we were talking and jokingly expressing our relief, I suddenly heard an inner voice repeating the same question, "Who is your security?"
I went outside the hospital-room and sought a silent place, where I could pray. "I don’t want to be radical", I said to God. "I just want to be a normal Danish citizen living a normal Christian life with my family. It’s normal to be covered by the system. It’s normal to have insurances. Everybody has…
"Johny! Johny! Help!" I heard Gisèle screaming from the hospital ward. "Come and help me! Quick, Johny: Help!"
I rushed into the ward and saw Thomas hanging lifelessly in the hands of a disturbed nurse. His face was as white as the hospital bed and there was no more breath in him. "The drops", Gisèle sobbed. "He has eaten one of the sweet-drops. It was too big for him. Now it is stuck in his throat."
I could see the boy was dying, and I heard once more the inner voice, "Who is your security? What can your insurances do for you now?" – "Nothing", I whispered, "and I give them up. I won’t have any other security than You, Lord!"
At the same moment the big drop left the throat of Thomas and shot over the floor like a coloured marble stone. The boy started to breathe again, life came back in his limbs and colour to his cheeks; shortly after he ran around playing.
That day I went home and tore all my insurance papers in pieces. With a few letters I cancelled policies of accidents and fire and theft and whatever was not ordered by the Law. I only kept what was necessary to legally drive a car… and the yellow security card, which I could not get rid of immediately, because I was part of the system.
I didn’t know that this little yellow card should bring me before a judge where I was to be condemned as a criminal. I couldn’t imagine that the little six-digit code would hang a millstone around my neck with a claim of more than 25,000 dollar, and it never occurred to my mind that this little sign of worldly security would prevent me from leaving Denmark in the next 20 months, and that it would drag me at last to the dump hill…
The ‘dump hill’ is a beautiful place outside Copenhagen. The fields are vast and green, and in summer the wild flowers are throwing a thousand colours over the endless pastures. Perhaps it is the old name, which keeps people away, for the dump hill is a beautiful but lonely place. One can stroll for hours without meeting anybody. The dump hill is, with its singing larks, a high cathedral of prayer and with its humming bees, a silent chapel for worship and meditation. Your only neighbours at the dump hill are the gypsies, who crowd around the open fire at night to listen to the words of the Book and to have prayer for their sick and oppressed. Perhaps the dump hill is the most wonderful place of ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’. Only in a very far distance you hear the noise of the city and the bells of the huge tower of the Town Hall, but in the nearby prairies you hear the wind and the birds and the bees. Who can paint the sunset of the dump hill? Who can count its millions of stars at night? Who can explain the breathless silence and the crowd of expectant eyes of the gypsy-families around the fire? Who can measure the beauty of the dump hill of Copenhagen? Because of my yellow security card I lived there for three months, and I fell in love with it.
I thought that the story with the yellow card had ended with the accident of Charlotte’s eye. That was however far from being the case. Evidently I had to learn a lesson about God being a jealous God, and I had to understand that He wanted me to quit the system. I was reading much in those days in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Especially chapter thirteen dealing with ‘the coming beast’. Slowly it dawned upon me, that according to the Holy Scriptures some evil world-ruler was waiting somewhere in the horizon: a man seven times worse than Adolf Hitler! I began to grasp the idea behind the puzzle of his name, which had something to do with a six-multiple number. Anyhow, I had a clear feeling that Christians everywhere would have to prepare to meet this man. It was certainly against my former theology, but I couldn’t get around some clear references in the New Testament, which stated that there would be a terrible confrontation between the church of Christ and this vile and wicked person.
While I was meditating on these things I was most peculiarly chased by an unseen hand because of my six-digit yellow security-card.
One day I was stopped by the police.
It was in the centre of Copenhagen, and it was hard for the car with the blue light to get my American-registered Toyota-Land cruiser to the side. "May I see your license, Sir?" The policeman had a stern look at my Virginia registration plate. I handed him my driving license. He looked surprised. "You are Danish, Sir?" – "Yes, I am Danish." – "Why is it then that you are driving an American-registered vehicle?" I explained to the policeman that we were travelling people with no fixed abode, and that we as such had legal right to drive a car with foreign registration plates. "May I see the papers of the car, please?" The policeman looked suspicious. I opened the folder with papers and the yellow security card fell out.
"Aha, you have a yellow security card?" The policeman grabbed the card and read loud my name and the six digits of my birth-number. "You have no right to have this card, Sir."
"What do you mean by that?" I asked. "Of course I have a right to have that card. Everybody has the right to have that card. It’s part of the system. You can’t do without that yellow card."
The policeman waved the security card, and there was some sort of triumph in his voice. "If you have no fixed abode, you have no right to have this card, and if you have a right to have this card, you have a fixed abode. And if you have a fixed abode, you certainly have no right to drive around with this foreign vehicle. I will have to ask you to follow us to the station."
Three hours later two of our land rovers were brought into custody, all registration plates from our living-wagons were confiscated and we were facing an enormous fine of 25,000 dollar and would be brought to the court within a short time for having trespassed custom-regulations. All this because of the little yellow six-digit security card.
I began to feel that I had something in my possession, which was displeasing God. Was it not enough to cancel all insurance papers? Would I have to get rid of that six-digit card too? Even if it meant that I would drop out of the system?
Was God speaking to me that He wanted to be ‘my only security’?
The following weeks made some of these questions more clear to me, and the years which have passed since have made me understand, that God not only wants to be our ‘only security’, but He wants to be our ‘only source’ of surviving. I had however to pass through a few hard lessons, before I was ready to acknowledge this fact.
It was around that time that we were brought to the dump hill. An enormous lorry towed our 10m long trailer out to the ‘gypsy-paradise’. I heard the lorry driver call his boss over the radio, "I bring them to the dump hill", he reported. I didn’t like those words. But they were true. Nobody else would have us. The reason was that I had now started to preach everywhere that Christians had to be prepared to meet that ‘man of sin’ and his wicked registration-system, which was descried in detail in the Book of Revelation, 13th chapter, and I was even foolish enough to print a small booklet with the title, ‘Must the church of Christ prepare to meet the Antichrist’?
In that little booklet I warned my fellow-believers that one day they would all be persecuted by a coming cruel world-ruler. "The Holy Book says," I wrote, "that no one will be able to get a job or buy anything in the supermarket, if they haven’t got the registration number of the beast. He is going to command everybody to be tattooed with his mark. It’s up to the individuals if they want to have the number marked on their right hand or in their forehead. But they are going to accept the mark of the beast if they want to survive!"
But like that rod banging the tree during my children’s play in the small forest months ago, these words now caused an explosion of small sharp particles cutting into the eyes of some of my best friends. "This is a false doctrine", they stated. "The church is not going to meet the Antichrist. When he comes, we will not be here any longer. We are going to be raptured away. This wicked world-ruler is appearing in Revelation, chapter 13, but the church is according to our belief only present on this earth until Revelation chapter 4", and with these words my friends closed the church-doors to me, and having now no fixed address at all, there was only one place left for my family-trailer: the dump hill…