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The Redemption of Jedidiah Pinkney

By J R Pitts

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THE HOWLING OF THE WIND blowing against the small wooden framed home sounded eerily akin to a pack of wolves about to de- scend upon their prey. The deadly storm had arrived at the Pinkney homestead in Tupelo, Mississippi, rather violently, sounding much like an approaching freight train.
Cowering in the darkness of the small cellar, Winston Pinkney used the only option available and prayed for the life of his wife and unborn son. “Oh God, I pray for your mercy this night. Our lives are in your hands. Please protect us from this terrible invasion of our home.”
The storm appeared to immediately rebuke his fervent prayers as it hit the small home with the full force of its fury. The couple watched in fear as their home began giving itself to the deadly tor- nado. First the roof, then the walls were all sucked into the vortex of the monster storm.
Winston quickly checked the leather straps securing him safely to the sunken beams anchored deeply into the floor of the cellar. He could feel the powerful suction of the storm pulling him upward toward the huge funnel directly overhead. It was at this moment he realized there was nothing between him and certain death except


the strength of the leather straps. He was so thankful he had tightly secured his pregnant wife, Sandra, before himself.
When she suddenly began to rise upward, he reacted in horror, lunging forward, straining against his own straps to grasp any part of her. Failing that, he screamed, “What’s wrong? Why are you moving away from me? It’s impossible. I secured you before myself when we entered the cellar.”
Sandra began weeping as she struggled to remain beside her hus- band. “I’m sorry, Winston. The leather strap was so tight I was afraid it was going to hurt the baby. I knew there was a good chance the storm would not hit us directly, so I released myself.”
Winston lapsed into uncontrollable agony as the full strength of the storm insisted on claiming his wife and unborn son as victims.
Now alone in the cellar, Winston quickly freed himself, hoping the storm would take him to wherever it had taken his beloved wife. I will either live or die with her, were his thoughts as he stood, unfettered and ready to meet his fate.
This gallant attempt to join his wife was also rebuked by the storm. Just as suddenly as it had arrived at their homestead, the storm departed.
He began screaming Sandra’s name in utter desperation, hop- ing by some miracle she would answer. In his desperation, he began searching beyond the rubble of what had been their home. Moving his frantic search across the wind-damaged cotton fields, he soon en- tered into an uncut and still forested area of his unprosperous farm. After searching through the debris-laden landscape, he made his way around fallen trees and limbs left scattered by the violent storm.

The despondent husband continued his supplications to God while loudly shouting out for his beloved wife. “Please, dear Jesus, let her answer my calls.”
Except for the occasional crack of a wind-damaged limb finally surrendering to the storm’s fury, the small wooded area had become eerily quiet. Winston already knew the futility of his search and, un- able to continue, he fell to his knees amidst the drenched mud and debris of the forest floor.
“I will do anything, O Lord, if you will bring her back from where ever she has been taken. I vow to you in Christ’s name that whatever you ask of me, I will do.” He continued praying on his knees without regard for his great financial loss, focusing only on his great love for his wife and unborn child.
This should have been the end of the story. There was no way his pregnant wife could have survived such a terrible ordeal.
Today’s storm was not the sequel to the musical fantasy Wizard of Oz, so aptly portrayed by Judy Garland eight years prior. Tornados are deadly, and they frequently snatch up their victims and shred their bodies so completely that nary a trace is ever found.
There was, however, on this day, a sincere prayer to almighty God. Winston Pinkney was a poor farmer with a simple faith. He prayed for a miracle, believing even this great mountain could be removed. So in this devastation, he found fertile ground on which to plant the seed of his most ardent plea.
The roof had been blown off the top of the small chapel al- most one mile from the Pinkney farm. Mariam Barnes was an old woman who lived next door and had crossed the road to see if she could salvage anything from the ruins. Imagine her surprise when

she entered through an undamaged front door to find nothing amiss inside. Incredibly, the only thing missing from the small church was the roof.
By the time the pastor arrived, Mrs. Barnes was standing trans- fixed beside the small baptismal, gazing in rapt attention at what her brain kept telling her eyes could not be.
Putting his arm around Mariam, Pastor Williams looked at the scene that had intrigued her so reverently. There below them was Sandra Pinkney sitting on the stairs leading into the baptismal. She was wet, not only from the storm but also from what was consid- ered the holy water of baptism. She was holding a newborn baby and humming softly the old Christian song “Rock of Ages.”
Later she would recount to Winston what she remembered of the event. “I passed out when I was taken from you in the cellar. When I awoke, it was as if from a dream. I was under water and our son was being born there in the baptismal. I was sitting on the stairs holding our child when Pastor Williams called out to me.”
There was no doubt in the minds of Pastor Williams and Miriam Barnes that August 10, 1947, was a very special day. They had been witnesses to the miraculous deliverance of the child of Winston and Sandra Pinkney. Not even the twisted crooked foot of the child could detract the appreciation Winston had felt upon learning of his be- loved wife and child’s survival.
The news coming out of the Tupelo area that stormy day in August was of death and destruction in the small city and outlying areas. There was no mention of the incident at the small chapel in- volving a pregnant woman and newborn child. Winston and Sandra Pinkney would go on with their lives unnoticed and unappreciated

in the great scheme of things. They held tightly to their privacy and country life that sustained them ever more steadfastly after their concurrent voyage into the supernatural.
The name they would give their blessed infant revealed their deep appreciation of an all-powerful God who reached down from paradise to save two lives. After much prayer, Winston and Sandra de- cided on Jedidiah, an old Hebrew name given to the infant Solomon, meaning “Beloved of God.” By the time Jedidiah Pinkney was walk- ing, Winston and Sandra, as many parents will, had opted for the shortened version of the child’s name. Jed was much quicker and easier to say and seemed to suit the youngster just fine.
When Jed was two years old, a new addition was welcomed into the family. He seemed intrigued at how tiny his little sister was but gladly accepted her into his life and generous heart. Kate Pinkney would bring the rare element of joy into his young life. Although Jed shared residence in that city with the king of rock and roll, he never seemed to possess any talent that might lift him up higher, than that of a poor crippled country boy. His crooked foot plagued him through childhood, and he would drag it sideways as he struggled to walk upright.
Sandra Pinkney hated the thought of an operation to correct the abnormality. Winston Pinkney agreed with his wife. “If the Lord wants him to drag his foot, then by golly, he should. I’ve known some who wished they had never gone under the knife, swearing the op- eration did more harm than good.”
Sandra felt relieved when she was told there would be a better chance of a successful operation once he was through growing. She loved her son very much and prayed nightly for his healing. Jed did

not share his mother’s great faith and believed he was saddled with a lifelong handicap. He lived in a dream world from a young age, using his imagination to escape the reality of his situation.
When he began the first grade, he was the only child attending class barefooted. His mother could not keep a shoe on his lame foot and decided wearing one shoe could do more harm than good.
Laughter greeted poor Jed when he entered dragging his foot. His classmates were quickly admonished by their stern teacher, Mrs. Mitchell. After she was through scolding them severely for making fun of him, she felt better, but it set up Jed for many years of resentful behavior from classmates not as kindhearted as their teacher. Most of them blamed Jed for the reprimands they received when observed mocking and taunting him. Ridicule and teasing were his torment as he began his public education.
Everyone in the class greatly enjoyed the hour spent outside dur- ing recess. Games were played and everyone participated except Jed. He usually sat on the sideline and watched the others kick the ball or run races with each other. Jed was envious of the other boys, who continually got admiring glances from the girls.
George Young became Jed’s best friend—and only friend—out of the group, simply because he wanted to avoid any confrontations with Mrs. Mitchell. George was the fastest runner and usually ex- celed in whatever game was being played.
The first year of school passed with Jed making no lasting im- pression on anyone except as the crippled son of a poor dirt farmer.
During the summer when most of his classmates were playing in the park and going on vacations with their parents, Jed hobbled

around his family’s run-down farm and did his best to assist his fa- ther with chores.
Winston Pinkney was a patient man and loved Jed very much, but was frustrated by his inability to help his son. He longed for a better life for his family, but his lack of education limited the possibility of that ever happening.
Jed’s next few years of school were as bad as or even worse than his first. Yielding to peer pressure and desiring popularity, George had decided it was not in his best interest to remain Jed’s friend. In a reversal of behavior, he had become one of his harshest and cruelest critics.
While Jed was struggling through the fifth grade, his father suddenly died of a heart attack. He was devastated, having sud- denly lost one of the few human beings who loved and appreciated him. Winston had been a good husband and father to his family. His death caused Jed to realize there are worse things in life than a crooked foot.
Sandra Pinkney was equally devastated by her beloved husband’s sudden death and gathered her two children around her like an old mother hen.
Uncle Jack, Sandra’s older brother, moved in with the family to try to salvage what he could out of their dilapidated farm. It took him all of a week to decide the family needed to sell the whole property and find a better place to live. After months of searching, Uncle Jack located the perfect place, a five-acre plot of land out in the nearby forest. It had a natural spring that would keep them in plenty of fresh water. Wildlife was abundant, which would aid greatly in keeping the cost of groceries down.

After giving it much consideration and talking it over with Jed and his young sister, Sandra reluctantly decided to follow Uncle Jack’s advice.
Within a year, the family moved to the new homestead, making Jed very happy. It was not the two-hundred-acre farm he had grown up on, but had tall majestic oaks and lots of deer and turkey. He liked the new place and was much happier hobbling around there than the farm he had been raised on. The overwhelming chores he endured trying to keep the old farm up had been replaced by simple and easy tasks, which gave him more time for his daydreams.
Jed and Kate were happy to see their mother finally shed her sorrow. Her quick smile returned and she was ready to begin living again. It came as a surprise to Jed and Kate when their mother began dating a man from the church they attended. He was also widowed and seemed to genuinely enjoy being with their mother. Still, it felt strange to see their mother laughing and enjoying the pleasure of someone’s company other than their father.
When Jed entered the eighth grade and Kate the sixth, they found themselves seated in their little church witnessing their mother be- come the wife of Zachary Collins. The couple had dated for a reason- able time and the wedding did nothing to alarm the two Pinkney siblings. They were hopeful this new man in their life would exceed their expectations. Their stepfather became a welcome addition to the family.
Mister Collins was a decorated US Army veteran. He was one of the few soldiers who survived the first wave of the invasion of Normandy. His testimony was inspiring. He secured a position with the United States Postal Service after his discharge from active duty.

Jed had always been impressed by the compassionate nature of Mr. Collins. In the church congregation, he was one of the few who had shown Jed acceptance and friendship.
Jed sincerely hoped the void left by his father’s untimely death could be filled by his stepfather. As he moved into his teenage years and entered high school, his lack of popularity did not change. He was ridiculed and teased whenever he attempted to join his class- mates in the various sports events. Football, basketball, and baseball were all out of the question. His handicap had only gotten worse over the previous eight years.
George Young remained his biggest critic but was the one class- mate he envied the most. There was a young girl named Julia Caplinger, who Jed had a crush on since the start of the seventh grade. To Jed’s dismay, George became her steady boyfriend. To have a steady at this age gave a boost in popularity to the two of them. There was hand holding and walking with each other to class, and it was rumored they had kissed outside the lunchroom. Jed was green with envy but knew his chance of having a girlfriend like Julia was very small. Still, he continually daydreamed of dragons slain and damsels rescued by a tall and athletic Jedidiah Pinkney.
Kate became one of the most popular girls in the seventh grade. She thrived and could not understand the bullying constantly harass- ing her older brother’s life. She loved him very much and knew he looked out for her in his own way. Fourteen years old was a great age for most young boys, but for Jed it only served to deepen his rut.
In the midst of his inner turmoil, the King of paradise threw Jed a lifeline. While attending their small Christian church, he found some hope for his life. It was a small church and the pastor, Elwood

P. Gantry, kept his congregation aglow with wonderful stories he had witnessed while a missionary in Africa. The miracles Jed heard about from the preacher impressed him greatly. He began to imagine him- self becoming the recipient of his own miracle. A tiny seed of faith began to grow larger as the days and weeks went by.
His freshman year of high school was a rerun of his tormenting experiences of the first grade. East Lake High was a new experience for Jed. The school drew its students from all the smaller elemen- tary schools in the area. Jed felt more out of place than he did at the smaller school he had attended for eight years. It seemed to him this larger peer group set him up for even more bullying. He became the butt of many jokes. But there were two main differences between his initiation into the first grade and his first year of high school. There were lots more classmates to show intolerance of his handicap, and the father he had loved and trusted was no longer there for him to lean on. But Zachary was an extremely good man and God willing would someday become the loving father Jed still grieved over.
George Young remained the most popular guy in his freshman class and continued the close relationship with his dream girl, Julia. Jed tried his luck at the football tryouts and was laughed off the field. The coach showed absolutely no sympathy as he told Jed he did not think the young man could handle the rigorous physical aspects of the game.
Kate adjusted well to the seventh grade and remained the direct opposite of her older brother, popular and athletic. Jed joined the FFA and library club in a futile attempt to better himself in the eyes of his classmates. Julia became the only ninth grade girl elected to the cheerleading squad and George was the star of the junior varsity

football team. Jed was going down the same road in high school he had traveled his first eight years of elementary education.
Life for Jed was a drag, and his handicap only helped to increase his inability to change his direction. He digested each night the events of the day, and dreamed of a better life. The small seed of faith he discovered at the little church was nurtured by a strong inner per- sona seeking to break free of the hard shell of ever present self-doubt. All the negatives piled upon him over the years by his peer group had erected an invisible barrier of inferiority around Jed.
Jed’s life improved when he found something his left foot did not affect. He had a good voice and joined the choir at the small church. His joy at being included in a group gave his family hope his life held some promise of better days. Jed was happy to be doing something where he was appreciated by those around him. His excitement grew when the choir was set to sing at a weeklong revival. A popular local evangelist from Tuscumbia, Alabama, led the services.
Jed was horrified when the Reverend Jackson Lee called him out for healing prayer. His humiliation continued when his foot remained the same. Jed was crushed and his youthful faith took a step backward. Sandra Pinkney was not going to keep quiet any longer. After the service, she approached Reverend Lee. “You need to know something about the young man you just prayed for. He is my son and I can as- sure you there is more to him than you could ever imagine.” Gaining his full attention, she carefully related the details of Jedidiah’s birth. Afterwards she asked the visibly shaken pastor to never reveal to any- one what she had just told him. “Jed doesn’t need to have another heavy burden on his young life. Remember, Reverend, there is much more to Jed Pinkney than just a crippled boy. There may come a time

when it would be right for him to know about the sacramental na- ture of his birth. For some reason, I feel you may be there when that time comes. Until then, please remember to honor his privacy.”
That night a forlorn Jedidiah Pinkney searched his soul for the answer, wetting his pillow with tears of desperation. While he slept, a comforting voice reassured him his body would receive healing in time. This small seed of faith remained dormant as his life continued to roll downhill as the bad continued to outweigh the good.
His sophomore year was more of the same with only his partici- pation in the choir to nurture his aching soul. His left foot kept Jed off the dance floor and killed any chance of a romantic relationship. George had made the varsity team as a running back and drove to school each day with Julia snuggled up beside him.
Jed and Julia shared one class together and the day came when he managed to raise his courage up enough to talk to her. She turned her back and rudely ignored him. This miscalculation on his part created laughter among her friends when she joked about his clumsy attempt to speak. The lowest point of his tenth year of school caused him to withdraw from further attempts at cracking the cliché of his more popular classmates.
The summer after his sophomore year he spent time with his stepfather fishing and enjoying being with someone who appreci- ated him just as he was. The last couple of years, he had drawn close to Zachary and had grown to love him almost as much as he had loved his own father. His mother called her husband Zack, and Jed and Kate respected him enough to also use the affectionate handle. Zack and Jed went on a lot of fishing trips over that summer, and the simple act of catching a fish gave a slight nudge to his self-confidence.

Summer was a welcome respite and the thought of it ending filled him with dread.
His junior year of high school arrived and as always, he ap- proached it with cautious optimism. He remembered the comfort- ing voice of promise and always held tightly to that divine hope. That football season saw George Young continue his heroics on the gridiron. Jed, though, was more interested in the upcoming hunting season, as Zack had promised to take him when the season started in November. Small game was all Jed had bagged up to then and he relished the opportunity of taking a big buck. Zack always got one or two, which kept them in venison for the whole year. Jed hoped to enjoy the pride that year of adding one to the freezer himself.
That Halloween came and went with nothing of note happen- ing except for the fame of George Young as he led East Lake into the top of their conference. Julia was head cheerleader and doted on the football star. She seemed to enjoy making fun of her handi- capped classmate.
When November arrived, Zack and Jed, like a true father and son, headed into the forest to hunt. They each had a tree stand next to small plots of planted corn and red clover. They were in their deer blinds before daylight, ready for the day’s hunt. There were no ant- lered bucks grazing across the food plots at sunrise. Disappointed, each had to endure the insects feeding on their blood as the aroma of the repellent disappeared with the passing day.
Just before noon, Zack approached Jed’s stand and called out, “Let’s go grab some lunch.” He didn’t have to repeat himself, and was quickly joined by Jed, who listened eagerly to Zack’s agenda for the remainder of the day. “After we eat lunch, we’ll take a short nap to

refresh us for the evening hunt. I think we’ll have better luck; dusk is usually the time when one of the big fellows will saunter out into the food plot.”
That afternoon, the two hunters returned to their respective blinds, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the big one. Jed patiently sat in the tree stand, admiring his surroundings. A pair of mourning doves and a flock of turkeys were feeding on the tender red clover. Squirrels and crows were more interested in the kernels of corn scat- tered about on the ground.
He had a brief surge of excitement when a bobcat pounced on one of the grazing turkeys. A puff of flying feathers and the cat had his meal. With great effort, the cat slowly dragged the big bird off into the underbrush.
By now the sun was getting very low and shadows were crawling slowly across the area. Soon it would be too dark to shoot anything. Disappointed again, Jed was afraid all they would take home would be some fresh insect bites. Better late than never, thought Jed, as he heard a gunshot from the direction of Zack’s tree stand. Chances are good Zack has bagged some meat for the freezer.
Jed had climbed down and was headed in Zack’s direction when a bright light suddenly flashed across the sky. It looked like a meteor and shook the ground when it appeared to crash a short distance away. He looked in the direction he saw it fall and could see a faint glow. The crash site was in the opposite direction of his stepfather’s location. He began to debate within himself on which way he should go.
Curiosity won, and he set out in the direction of the unusually bright area of the unknown object. He hurried, for darkness was fast

approaching and he wanted to check out the thing before it got too late. He moved as fast as he could, but his progress was slow. Hooking his crooked foot under an occasional vine tripped him more than once, but he eventually closed in on the mysterious glow.
As Jed drew closer to the strange light, he became more cautious, fearful of the thing that came crashing down out of the evening sky. He pushed his way through a small patch of thick brush, where he saw the glowing object in the middle of a small clearing, surrounded by a dense forest canopy. By some miracle, the object had missed the surrounding trees and landed perfectly in the middle of the clearing. Jed shaded his eyes with his hands and squinted. The mysterious light seemed to draw him forward like a moth to a flame. He allowed his curiosity to pull him forward, where his attention was quickly ignited by movement in the sky above the object. Whatever it was, a radiant glow had the whole area lit up. Jed’s heart was about to beat
out of his young chest.
Something fluttered directly above the object. Jed calmed a little when he realized it was some type of bird. Was it injured when the meteor crashed into the clearing? Again, he shaded his eyes from the brightness hoping to see more clearly. What a strange thing! Out in the clearing, he saw a beautiful white dove hovering directly above the glowing visitor.
Jed was bewildered when the bird appeared to descend onto the unknown object. He made his way slowly across the clearing, for he had a tender heart and desperately wanted to help what he believed to be an injured bird. As he drew close to the glowing object, he could see the dove was unharmed. Hesitantly he moved even closer and

saw what looked like a golden cross sitting on top of the luminous rock. What on earth?
The bird was sitting regally on top of the cross. Then Jed watched in disbelief as the cross and dove slowly transfigured together into an incandescent image of a man. When the evidence of crucifixion be- came apparent, Jed knew he was in the presence of his Savior. There was no braid of thorns, but a beautiful crown sat majestically over His brow. It was twinkling as if filled with a thousand stars.
Jed fell to his knees and could scarcely breathe as a comforting voice suddenly filled the clearing. “Fear not, Jedidiah Pinkney, for I have come to ease your pain. I raised you from the womb the day of your birth and have returned to give you relief from your suffering as I promised.” Loving hands pulled him to his feet. “I am the Rock of Ages. Give your burden to me; I will gladly bear it for you.”
Jed could feel incredible love and warmth as his body fell upon the Rock. He sensed himself drifting as if on clouds of the purest love. His thoughts were calming. I have never known such peace. He slipped into a deep and euphoric sleep.

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