Jose had to keep walking. However, he needed another minute to rest. He wiped his brow with his soaked, red handkerchief and looked up at the blazing sun.
Shaking his head, he put his hat on and began to trudge forward.
He had been walking for hours. Soon, the day would begin its descent into darkness. Yet, his throbbing feet kept moving. Crows circled above, waiting for him to die. He tried to ignore them while his own stomach growled.
He had to get to Valencia. His muscles waged war against his will, but Jose still moved toward Valencia, his hope and strength.
His father raised him to work, teaching him that God demanded it. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, KJV). That was one of his Father’s favorite sayings.
His father would often say before Jose went to bed, “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. (Proverbs 10:5). Jose was afflicted by calluses and a bad back, but he had made his late father proud.
His Dad taught him persistence and the power of prayer (2 Peter 1:5-7; Matthew 7:7-11). Scripture was in his heart because he watched his father live it during his life. His father would say, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Jose prayed as he struggled to walk. Valencia, his love and his Lord were the only reasons he could still walk. Without them, he would be lying in the dust. He must not lose his grasp on them. They were all he had.
Jose shook his head to clear his vision, spraying the parched earth with his sweat. He suddenly realized she was close. Adrenaline rejuvenated his body. She was near!
All of the days since he had seen her flew before his eyes. All of the pain melted from his body as he saw her on the horizon. He began to walk faster.
“Valencia!” He tried to yell, but his parched mouth would not cooperate. Exhaustion fought against his renewed energy and he stumbled as she turned toward him.
“Valencia!” He went down and she was upon him in a flash.
“Papa!” The young woman bent down, wiping his red face. She called for others to bring water. “Papa!”
Later, Jose woke up on a pallet inside a hut. His eyes searched to find her.
“I’m here, Papa.” She placed her hands on his scarred face.
“Daughter, I missed you. For miles I walked. For you.”
“Why, Papa? I would see you after harvest.”
“I couldn’t wait. I had to talk to you about important things.”
He took a sip of the water she offered and with the strength left in his body, he took her hands and told her how he had neglected her, to work the land, after her Mother died. All he knew was work for his precious daughter. His sweat and blood was his love.
Yet, amidst all his labors, he had not given her God. He had to rectify his mistake before his life ended. He had shared all his father taught him, except the most important thing.
Over the next few days, Jose shared with Valencia from his father’s worn Bible, the story of Jesus. After prayers and tears, Valencia had her sins remitted.
The greatest hope of his heart came true. Jose had saved his dear Valencia. His life was now complete and he could go into the life beyond, waiting for his baby’s hand.