Even to your old age, I am He, and even to grey hairs I will carry you. … I am God and there is no other.
Isaiah 46:4, 9
Clearing out a drawer, Gerald comes across an old school photograph. Seventy years have expired since the day it was taken in the village school playground. He was eleven or twelve at the time. He remembers Father Marcel disappearing under a black cloth covering the old-fashioned bellows camera after making interminable adjustments to the focussing – an excuse for causing unrest!
The boy beside the teacher, smiling and in short trousers, is himself. Next to him is Ferdinand, then the inseparable pair, Maurice and Arnold. None of them returned from the war. How many of the fifteen boys in the picture are still alive today? Only five.
Gerald reflects. Supposing he is the next? Well, he is ready to go. More than sixty years ago that problem was solved for him. The Bible gave him a certainty that he never doubted since: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” ( 1 John 5:1). “You who believe in the name of the Son of God, … you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
The ten boys who are dead – did they seek and find Jesus Christ, the Saviour?
These reminders make him aware of the immense grace of God who has watched over him since his youth. He is fully convinced that that will be sufficient for him right to the end of his life.