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

TITLE: The Gift of Grace
By Larry Carter


Outside the house, anticipation inclined its ear to not the outside, but rather, inside to the commotion that stirred vigorously. All were mingling and waiting for the moment. The cloud of urgency instilled in the minds of the friends and family grew as high as a cumulonimbus to the atmosphere. The guests were munching and crunching on the appetizers, at the same time making sure not to eat a morsel too much in light of making the most of the grand course of cooking to come. The mothers were politely bragging of the tuna salad that they made themselves, along with the eight other mothers who know how to add no other dish to the party menu; and the fathers were talking of the latest upset in college football while, mistakenly, admitting that they have no idea what they bought the birthday boy. The decorations were in place, the lighting perfectly emitted, and the people in place for the “big surprise.”

All was fine and well; the breath of each friend or acquaintance alike was the only thing audibly heard as the phone call was retrieved from the plotter of the scheme. But the scheme had been already thwarted in earlier circumstances. As everyone crouched behind objects, some hidden more than others, the Bible that no one looked at lay on the bookshelf, dusty and worn (not from use, but from age). No one read this Bible in that day, the devotions had not been in place and the lessons unlearned. And God was intervening. It seemed as though the plan would be undermined, but only because not one had invoked upon the Lord in study this morning.

Sure enough, the arrangement had been perfectly executed, so far. The man whose birthday it was approached the door. His friend opened the door for him, and a roomful of friends yelling “SURPRISE!!!” happily greeted him. They were so happy that the disclosure of detail had been so perfectly hidden. Not one knew at that party, that the divine grace of God spared the surprise. It was His mercy and love that allowed the party to proceed as planned, in spite of the lack of devotion to His Word.

Conclusively, the event continued. The main course meal was served, and the mothers watched as their friends passed by their salads to look at the myriad of others; while the fathers cautiously stood at the back of the room, watching the birthday boy open their presents and inside hoping that they wouldn’t ask them of why or how they managed to get it. All the while, God looked down on His people celebrating the festivity and graced us with his grace that is often overlooked. And that, is a surprise in itself.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/14/07
I really, really like your writing style--it almost reminds one of an earlier era.

I was confused by a few details--namely, was it a man or a boy whose birthday was being celebrated? And how did the dusty Bible figure in?

Perhaps a second read will make it clearer...your writing is certainly pleasant to read.