Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Encouragement( 02/23/12)
Losing My Job
By Amanda Brogan
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I’ve tried – believe me I’ve tried to understand the Divine purpose behind it all. Surely God knows best, and how can I possibly accept good from His hand and not evil? How can I praise Him for His blessings and rave when He takes them away?
A whirlwind of questions rages through my tired, sleepless, sore-infested head, but chief among them all is ... why? Did I hold to these things too tightly? No, I thanked God every day for what He had given me. My children, my livestock and land, my place of influence in the community.
When people stopped me in the streets and went on and on about how my life encouraged and inspired them to serve the Lord, I couldn’t help but marvel that He would choose me. That He would appoint me as the advice-giver, the go-to guy for anyone struggling with their faith. My heart swelled with joy at the knowledge that I could uplift others with the testimony God had given me.
What I wouldn’t give now for someone to be a light in this vast darkness.
Oh, wait! Let’s not forget my angelic wife. What a woman. You can guess how she responded to this misery. Grieved with me over the death of our children ... prayed with me over our depleted finances ... gently dressed the festering wounds that now cover my body.
Yeah, you can guess that. But, uh, you’d be off just a little.
Here was her ray of sunshine: “You idiot! Why on earth do you continue to call God 'good' after all He’s done to you? You should curse His name and end your suffering.” (She was careful to maintain her distance while saying this ... wouldn’t want to catch my disease you know.)
Thank you, dearest, for not allowing me to give up.
What about my friends, you ask? Ah, yes, my friends. Buddies to the end, they are. Hearing about my troubles and wanting to repay me for the times I’ve helped them through rough spots, three of the guys traveled quite a distance to come see me. For an entire week they sat with me in sympathetic silence.
Were it not for my bottomless pit of pain, I would have greatly appreciated their thoughtful presence. But alas, like the shattered shards of pottery that surround me in this heap of ashes, the silence was broken. And out of the jar of pent-up ponderings flowed their glowing words of comfort:
“You must have done something to deserve this. God is obviously punishing you.”
“How can you tell others to be patient with hard times when you yourself are impatient?”
“Stop whining and just confess your sin to the Lord! He will heal you immediately.”
If only I could tell them how they eased the unspeakable bitterness in my soul ...
Why do I continue to hold on? Why am I clinging to life when death encircles me like malnourished vultures? I’m not.
I’ve given up. Given in. Accepted my fate.
But as strange as it seems, a part of me is still waiting. Waiting for a word from God. Waiting for a sign, an answer ... proof that He has not forgotten me and that all this, no matter how crazy it may seem, is somehow not outside of His control. If only I had a word from Him to breathe new life into my dying heart.
If only I knew that some good could come out of this. That in the years to come, my story could still be a source of encouragement for the downtrodden to hold onto their faith and hope in God.
But I don’t see how that could happen. Not now when my world has spun off its ax– hey, what’s that? It feels like the wind is picking up ...
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