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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: The Garden (i)
By Dennis Fletcher


Hanston hadn’t run this fast in quite a while. His sides were hurting so much that he was having difficulties just breathing and moving at the same time. The constant jarring made his sword slam into his calf and was beginning to cause cramping there, as well. He knew he couldn’t go on much longer, but he also knew he was close to the garden.
He remembered the last time he had spent time in the garden. It was the only place he could find solitude and rest from the city. It was also the only place he felt he could really meet with God without being interrupted. He remembered God’s majesty showing itself upon every plant and flower; even the smallest insect seemed to show the glory of God. He remembered the quietness of the place, sitting in the middle as he usually did and he remembered how he could just sense the presence of God.
The pain in his side brought him back to reality as it forced him to fall to his knees, his sword being driven into the hard ground, shoving the hilt into his side causing even more pain. His breathing was labored to the point of almost not being able to breath in and his leg throbbed from where it met the sword during his running. He could hear them coming, faster and faster, through the woods towards his garden. If they made it there before him, there was no chance, the garden would be destroyed and he would be with the Lord. He couldn’t allow the garden to be destroyed, he had to fight.
Slowly, painfully, he got to his feet and forced them to move again. He forced his lungs to work again and focused on the garden. He was close, the entrance was just ahead. He could smell the fragrances wafting through the air with each labored breath and it seemed to heal him. He struggled to run again, being able to slowly trot, then he was there, at the entrance.
He fell again, but this time in relief. His sword seemed to move to the side allowing him some comfort. He could see his spot, almost as if it were waiting for him to come. He began to crawl towards it, going around a rose bush and some ground shrubbery. He found his little bench and knelt at it, looking up.
“God,” he screamed, tears beginning to run down his face, his breathing still spastic at best. “God, help… me…stop…them.” He stopped, he could hear them, he could sense there presence, he could feel them reaching for him.
“God, deliver me….from….this….evil!” he shouted with all the power and strength he could muster. “Do…not…allow…them…to…defeat…me!” he cried, tears streaking to the ground. They were getting closer.
Then he saw them. Angelic beings were there in what looked to be a military formation. They were brandishing swords and shields and moving quickly towards the entrance. Hanston turned just in time to see the demons that were chasing him get forced out of the garden and saw the fear on their faces as the army of the Lord bore down upon them and then he remembered no more.
Hanston woke, lying on the soft ground of the garden, the place he most dearly loved to be, and wondered for a moment if what he just dreamed was really a dream, or was it real. He hoped he would never know. He sat up, turning, looking over his garden and smiled, the presence of God was still here and he knew that he was safe.

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Martha Seeley09/15/06
The suspense kept me reading, and the ending was a surprise. Good message too, the forces of good ready to defend the child of God - especially in the garden of prayer. Martha
Carol Gray09/15/06
This was a very good article. You are writing like an advanced writer. Keep it up. This article helped me to recall that we have angelic protection that surrounds us. Great job. Carol G.
Donna Powers 09/17/06
Great description of spiritual warfare. How wonderful to be reminded that God is battling for us against the enemy. Nicely done!