Becky wondered how long it would take Bill and Homer to get there. It had already been a few hours and her position on the floor, with her hands behind her back, was becoming more uncomfortable.
With a sigh she glanced toward the man at the other end of the small cabin that she sat in. God, help me.
She once again twisted her hands to try and free them, it was no use. It only brought her wrist more pain. With another sigh she stretched her legs out before her. If she had learned anything from her years of living, it was to stay calm...and if you're not on the inside, at least appear that way on the outside in a situation like hers. But most importantly she learned to lean on God and let Him give her His peace and calm.
A sound made her look up to see the man, who was supposed to be her prisoner, walking slowly to the other side of the small cabin. Becky couldn't help but feel a pang of sorrow for him. She knew what might await him if he didn't give up now. She had seen it happen too many times to want to go through it again.
He glanced out the dirty glass that served as a window before propping his foot on a chair, and looking in her direction. With a deep breath he laid the rifle he carried upon his arm, as though he were cradling a child. "A sheriff, huh? That's unusual for a woman, ain't it?"
Becky raised her eyebrows with a slight nod. "Yes, I s'pose it is...to most people." Lord Jesus, give me the right words to help him.
"Then why'd ya become one? Do ya enjoy havin' people lookin' at ya strange in your pants and gun?" His face showed his confusion.
She smiled. "God called me to it." For a second her mind remembered the different looks she'd received over the past years. "And as for people lookin' at me as though I have three heads," she shrugged, "everyone gets that sometime in their life."
He glanced down at that, his change in expression showing that he had received plenty of looks in his time. Becky cleared her throat lightly, wanting to just reach out to him.
"Toby?" She spoke his name with a frown, showing that she had a question for him.
"Why did you start stealin'?"
His head jerked back up at her, eyes narrowed. Becky watched him for a moment, trying to see any sign that he might want to change, to start his life over-with Jesus.
Toby didn't say anything for a moment. After a few minutes he glanced back out the window before looking back at her. And when he did, she could see that his face had softened.
"My brother. He's the one who started me on it all before he died. Said that's all he knew how to do and that there wasn't another choice for me, so..." He shrugged as his words trailed off.
Becky glanced down. "There's always a choice...there's one for you now."
She looked back up. "Give yourself up." Jesus, move on his heart. Please.
Toby returned his foot to the ground and took his gun in his hand, turning to face Becky. "Give myself up? Only a sheriff would suggest that." He shook his head.
Becky leaned forward, scooting her left leg under her to be more comfortable. "It'll go easier for you, Toby. Please."
"You're only askin' that to save yourself."
"No, I'm askin' that to help save you. You're only facin' a few yours in prison right now, but when the rest get here and if you end up shootin' someone, you'll be facin' a noose."
Toby's face flinched. She knew he wasn't all heart-of-stone as he had tried to act when had gotten the drop on her a few hours earlier. "I won't kill anyone."
"But you don't know that." Her voice sounded pleading in her own ears. "Please, Toby. Give God a chance to help you turn you life-"
"God?" Toby's voice took on a harder tone. "Ya sit there askin' me to turn myself in so I can go to a place where they beat you, lock you in chains and put you in a hot-box if your bad, and you dare mention 'God'? Well none of that sounds very godly to me."
"Do you think God wants you to go through all that? Do you think I do? No! I hate the very thought of what people go through just because they make a mistake-prison's and hangin's, I hate it!"
Toby pointed to the badge pinned to her shirt. "Then why do wear that? Why do somethin' that has ya drag people back to go through those things?"
"I wear it to make a difference. To try and show people that there's a better way. So I can tell people like you about Jesus. So I can tell you that you can be the one to show law people that you're not animals like they think you are." Becky's voice took on passion as she continued. "Accept Jesus into your life. Then if they send you to prison you can share Jesus with all those men in there. And when you come out, you live right, show everyone who thinks that you're no good to society, that you are just as human and have just as much right to live an normal life as they do. Show them that nothing is impossible with God."
Toby stood completely still, his eyes looking at her, but she could tell that his mind was somewhere else. It was a few seconds before he spoke, his voice husky. "You really believe all that? About us being just as human?"
Becky nodded. "God made you just like He made me. I've made mistakes too, Toby, and He changed my life. He can do the same for you. Just let Him."
He frowned slightly. "Sheriff's usually up-hold the law and think nothin' of it. Why do you seem to be against it and still be a sheriff?"
Becky sighed as she leaned back against the knocked over table. She glanced around the abandoned cabin before she spoke. "When I first answered God's call to be a sheriff, I didn't think about everythin' that a sheriff is required to do. I arrested a man once and the Marshal that came to pick him up told me to do what was required, think nothin' 'bout it. Just do it." Her voice became husky as her eyes watered. "Then came the day when I was s'pposed to lead a man to the gallows. I kept tellin' myself over and over to just do it. I couldn't understand why God called me to a job when I was against a lot that it stood for. But when the lever was..." She swallowed hard. "After the man was died, that's when I understood. I was there to make a difference. I was there to help others see that there was a better way. It's not our place to take someones life from them, it's not our place to lock someone away from others." Becky looked back up at Toby, then realizing the tears that were on her face. "But it is our place to make a difference."
Toby looked down as he shifted his feet. He blinked a few times before he leaned up against the wall near the door. "God don't want me," he mumbled.
Becky smiled. "Oh, yes He does. So much so that He gave His only Son to die for you. And do you know what?"
Toby looked up quickly, his eyes longing to hear more. "What?"
Her smile widened. "After everythin' ya think ya've done, if you had been the only one here, God still woulda sent Jesus down to die just for you." Her voice spoke with passion.
Toby turned and looked out the window, his back toward her. She watched him a few minutes, praying that God would touch him before shifting her eyes to look before her. Within a few seconds her mind was drifting to how she had gotten to where she was in that moment. Toby had robbed an important bank and Becky was one of the sheriff's called on to help search for him. Only two of her deputy's, Homer, and her husband, Bill, came with her and the other sheriffs. She didn't want to stay behind and wait for the telegram they were hoping to receive in the small town of Crested Peak. It was supposed to contain further information on the supposedly whereabouts of Toby Keets. Becky wanted to go with them to check out the nearby ranches, but the sheriff in charge, Sheriff Neel, didn't like the idea of a woman sheriff and assigned her to stay and wait for the telegram, then join them.
Becky leaned her head back as she remembered receiving the telegram, although it didn't have anything more for them, and then heading to her horse at the livery stable to ride out and catch up with the others....
Becky led her horse out of the stall and rounded to it's side to mount. Her foot was in the stirrup when she heard a gun cock behind her, causing her freeze.
"Take it easy, sheriff. Turn right 'round slowly."
With a deep breath she lowered her foot and turned around to be facing Toby, standing a few feet away. He motioned for her to raise her hands and she slowly obliged.
"Toby." She acknowledged him with a nod.
He glanced around nervously before nodding his head toward her gun-belt. "Take off your gun and throw it over toward me, real slow like."
Becky reached down easily and un-tied the strap from around her leg, then un-latched the belt from her waist. She gently tossed it toward him, not seeing any other choice, what with the gun pointed directly at her heart.
She raised her hands again without being told, knowing that he would remind her if she didn't. He kicked her gun-belt to the side and took a step forward. "Now, just walk where I tell ya and ya won't get hurt." His voice was firm and he motioned her out the back of the livery.
Becky looked in that direction. "Can I ask why ya want me?" She asked as she looked back at him.
"I need a hostage since the posse is so close and you're the most available person, now go."
Becky turned and began to walk. God, help Bill to come quickly. Let our tracks be easy for him to follow. She knew it was just a matter of time before Bill and Homer would come to see if she was alright, and they would find her gun and horse....
"Toby Keets! Come out with your hands up!"
Both her and Toby jerked to attention at the words yelled from outside. Becky knew that it was Sheriff Neel's voice. She could only imagine Bill and Homer's anger at him yelling that, the two knowing that they could get the drop with only one against many. Toby stood behind the door and glanced back at Becky. She clumsily made it to her feet, looking pleadingly at Toby.
"Please, Toby." She begged. "They could kill you."
Toby paused as he looked back at her, tears on his face, letting her know that he had been crying before the interruption. "God really cares?"
Becky nodded through her own tears. "Yes, He does."
"Toby Keets! Come out and bring the lady with you, alive, or else I'll start shootin'!"
Please, God, don't let them start shootin', she prayed inwardly. Toby lowered his gun and propped it against the wall, Becky letting out a sigh of relief. He stepped forward, Becky meeting him half way, and pulled a knife from his boot. He cut her loose then stepped back, dropping the knife. With a firm nod he bowed his head. In a few heartfelt words that touched Becky's heart, he gave his life to God. When he lifted his head, a smile was spread over his face.
"Welcome to the Kingdom," she stated as she reached out and shook his hand. He smiled with another nod and then stepped to the side.
Becky smiled and went to the door, opening it and stepping out. "Bill, Homer, it's alright. He gave himself up."
Bill immediately appeared, Homer right behind him as they rushed to her. Bill pulled her into his arms as the other men emerged. "I was worried. Thank God your alright," Bill spoke into her ear.
They pulled back as she nodded. "Yes, thank God."
Homer nodded to her, his eyes showing relief. Toby stepped out then and Sheriff Neel immediately pointed his rifle at him.
Bill stepped next to Toby to help him, if need be, as Becky spoke quickly. "He turned himself in, Sheriff Neel."
Sheriff Neel frowned as he looked at Toby and cocked his head. "You turned yourself in, is that true?"
Toby nodded as stepped forward and held out his hands toward the sheriff. He frowned at Toby before he turned to one of the other men and told him to retrieve him a piece of rope.
Bill pushed his hat back from his eyes. "I don't think that's necessary, Sheriff."
The sheriff paused as he looked at Bill closely, then at Toby. His gaze shifted to the other sheriff's who were looking at him unfavorably, then he turned to Becky and Homer before looking back at Toby. It was a few minutes before anyone spoke.
"Let's go, Keets," he muttered as he motioned him on.
Thank you, Jesus.
Toby exited the courthouse and stopped when Bill, Becky and Homer stepped forward from where they had just stepped out of the building and was waiting for him. He smiled at them. "Thank ya for comin'."
"I'm sorry you have to go to prison. I wish there was somethin' we could do." Becky stated as she folded her arms.
Toby nodded. "It's fine; it's only for five years."
"Thank God you got off with only that," Bill added as he put his arm around Becky's shoulders and spoke again. "We'll keep in contact, okay?"
"We'll be over to say goodbye tomorrow. And as ya get out, ya know where to find us." Becky added.
Toby smiled as he looked at the three, Homer nodding his agreement as Bill and Becky's words. "Thank you."
Sheriff Neel switched his rifle to his other hand as he prepared to take Toby back to the sheriff's office. "I only have one question for you, boy."
Bill cocked his head as he looked at Sheriff Neel as Homer shifted. No one knew what to expect to come from the sheriff's mouth.
"Yeah?" Toby asked with a frown.
Sheriff Neel's features softened as he looked at him, a frown on his face. "Why did ya turn yourself in back there? Ya could've gotten clear away usin' the sheriff there as a cover. Why didn't ya?"
Toby glanced at Becky before he replied. "To make a difference."
"Well, you're certainly doin' that." With a nod Sheriff Neel motioned toward the sheriff's office and the two started in that direction. "And when we get to the office, why don't ya explain to me 'bout the change that happened to ya, 'cause it certainly is invitin'."
Becky smiled as the looked up at Bill, then glanced over at Homer, both of them smiling.
"Only God," Becky spoke as she put her arm around Bill.
Bill kissed the top of her head before nodding, the three looking in the sheriff's office direction. "Yup, only God."
*This story cannot be copied without permission from the author. Thank you!*
Let us all strive to make a difference-for JESUS!
Thank you for reading and I hope that you enjoyed!
Have a blessed day and God Bless!!!
Is.53:5, Phil.4:13, Is.55:8-13 (KJV)