That first day seemed to take forever. I washed dishes, chopped vegetables, baked bread, and stood for hours. By the time Martha and I were allowed to go to bed, I was exhausted. My legs ached, and I was glad to slip on the nightgown Martha gave me and drop into bed. Martha didn’t seem as tired, though, and wanted to talk.
“How old are you?” Martha asked as she lay down in the bed beside me.
“That’s the same age I was when I was kidnapped,” she said softly.
“How old are you now?”
“Where were you taken from?”
“Israel. That’s why I speak Hebrew.” Martha’s voice had a faraway sound to it.
“Did you have a family?”
“Yes. My mother, father, two brothers, and a sister.” She was quiet for a moment. “I miss them so much. Sometimes it still hurts to think about them.”
I could feel the pain in her voice, because it was in my heart too. I missed my family so much. I would give anything to see them again. I closed my eyes as a tear slipped silently down my cheek.
“But I try not to think about them.”
Martha’s words startled me. “Why not?” I asked.
“Because it just hurts so much, and it makes me angry.” The girl’s voice was harder than normal.
“At the people who took you?” I said softly.
“At them and everyone else who brought me here and keep me here. I’m angry at the men who kidnapped me, at the man who let me be taken to this house, at Master, and at all the other people of Aram.”
I listened silently. The vehemence in her voice surprised me; I had never heard someone so upset before. Yet…deep down inside…I felt that I could be as angry as her, if I let myself. When I thought about the men who kidnapped me, I felt a stirring inside me. And each time I remembered how the skinny man had turned away unfeelingly when I begged him to help me…
“But isn’t anger wrong?” I asked, more to myself then Martha.
“They deserve it,” Martha answered. “They’re the ones who have done wrong. They’re the ones who kidnapped you and me and took us away from our families. They deserve all the pain in the world.”
I stared up at the ceiling, pondering Martha’s words. Wasn’t she right? Those people had disobeyed God. Didn’t they deserve to be punished? After all, they took me away from my family.
My family. Oh, how I wished I could see them. “Martha?” I whispered.
“You said earlier you would tell me how I could get home.” Martha sighed but didn’t answer. “How can I get home?” I asked her again.
“Twice, two loyal servants were allowed to leave. But that has only happened twice. There’s not much hope of being set free. Even if you’re the most loyal, faithful, obedient servant, you will most likely stay here the rest of your life.” My heart sank. “The only way servants leave is when their master dies. Master has agreed that when he dies, he will allow every servant who was taken captive and brought from another land to go free, if they want to.”
“Oh,” I said softly. My heart was heavy. Was that the only way I would ever leave? Would I be trapped here forever? “God,” I whispered, “Please help me go home.”
I turned to face the wall. I couldn’t understand why God had let all these bad things happen to me. Why was he doing this? What was his plan?
As I worked through my chores the next day, I found plenty of time to think. While I chopped vegetables, washed laundry, and cleaned the floors, I recalled stories I heard as a child about great Israeli men and women. Of course, there were the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Before them there were people like King David and his son Solomon. Other familiar names were Samuel, Samson, Gideon, and Deborah. Names like Joshua, Moses, and Abraham fluttered through my brain, and I pondered the struggles and difficulties they all endured. Finally, I settled on one story, my favorite one, about Joseph. Ever since I could remember, I had liked Joseph’s story best. Now, I suddenly realized our lives had a few similarities; we had both been taken from our homes to foreign lands and forced to serve strange masters. I found I could better imagine what he thought and felt during that time. “Did he ever wonder why God let those bad things happen to him?” I thought. “Did he wonder what God’s plan was?”