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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Heart Murmur
By Nancy Bucca


The flesh said, “No!” But the Spirit said, “Go!” After a vicious struggle, the heroine within overcame the wimp without. And so it was that Esther bravely approached the suffering soul, offering sweet prayer as healing balm... only to be flatly rejected by the physically emaciated young woman whose bold exterior sharply clashed with the hopeless one inside. What paradox was this sorrowful Joy! For though her glossed lips outwardly proclaimed, “My soul is well,” every fiber of her being screamed, “God, how could you do this to me?”

Her quiet groans bounced loudly off the walls of Esther’s inner ear, compelling her to seek a hidden chamber of the Father’s heart, the secret medicine chest of holy wisdom. From that chest she drew a diamond, bright, clear and transparent, the perfect instrument for piercing surface wounds and pinpointing the true source of Joy’s mysterious, chronic, and at times unbearably painful bone disease.

The problem turned out to be quite serious, its cure nearly unpalatable. But though the antidote might prove a bitter pill to swallow, Joy’s life depended on it.

Esther administered the remedy gently, saying, “Listen, girl! My internal stethoscope declares God wants you whole. But you have a heart murmur raging against Him, and the only way to mend it is to praise Him through the pain!”

Her words provoked a growl from Joy’s offended flesh, which disagreed wholeheartedly with the diagnosis. “Surrendering to God’s sovereignty is not the same as grumbling!” it protested, putting up a rigid front to block what it perceived as condemnation. But underneath it all, the spirit longed for freedom.

And so, at Esther’s nudge, Joy mouthed her thanks to God through gritted teeth, clenched fists, and stiffened neck. Fiery darts inflamed her heart at every mention of His name. But listening to Esther sing about the precious blood of Jesus caused a warmth to well up from somewhere deep inside her soul, softening her neck, opening her hands, lubricating her jaws, and penetrating every layer of deception.

Suddenly the dam broke. Streams of living water, gushing from the center of her belly, brought to the surface of her mind a clear picture of her true heart condition.

Squeezed into a filthy white-washed cage contaminated with decaying meat, she scratched the floor, searching for an exit. Her fingers found a skeleton key; a lock caught her eye. Then out of nowhere came a pitchfork, slamming shut the door. The vibrations jarred her rib cage with a thousand excruciating lightning bolts. Gasping for breath, she looked up to see a lovely yet mournful woman with golden hair and blue eyes, dressed in sparkling emerald green and holding out to her a silver chalice labeled “soothing.” Joy was just about to take the cup when suddenly everything became transparent. The woman’s outward form faded away to reveal a shriveled hag with pointy hat and warty nose, fangs poised for the kill. Looking through the cup, Joy discerned the rotting marrow of envy, hatred, greed, revenge, and selfish ambition. As for the cage itself, it was made of bones - unyielding bones of contention, formed by her own unforgiving pride!

The vision rocked Joy to her core. With shocking clarity she realized that God had not willed this illness on her. Rather, it was her own ill will that had hemmed her in, inviting tormentors to inject her with the dread disease. She shuddered to recall how often, in an attempt to dull her pain, she had received their witch’s brew of ingrown pity and self-made martyrdom, mistaking it for the wine of mercy and compassion.

With tears of deep repentance she asked the Lord to forgive her heart murmur and set her free. Responding to her sincere cry, He cast out the angry devil and spoke His word into her heart. Every pain inside her body disappeared. Her spirit soared.

Esther rejoiced to see another victory for the Great Physician, the One who searches hearts and minds, bringing every hidden thing to light.

Scriptures (all KJV): Psalm 8:2, 35:10, 37:4 & 139:23-24; Proverbs 3:8, 14:30, 15:30, 16;24 & 17:22; Matthew 18:23-35; John 4:14 & 7:38; II Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 6:12

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
You used such vivid examples of the MC's inner self, it was quite easy to picture her turmoil.
Nichole Hall09/17/10
Yes. I definitely could tell this girl's pain was real. A daily struggle for her. I like that you added the struggle between the physical pain and the spiritual pain because when you have physical ailments, the two almost battle, between doing 'what you should do' and doing what your body will allow you to do. Good piece!
Christina Banks 09/20/10
I loved this line: "After a vicious struggle, the heroine within overcame the wimp without."
Judie Stone03/12/11
I have a chronic illness and the message in this story has been something I've had ups and downs with. The struggle between the inner person that is strong, courageous, hard working, hard playing, jovial and full of life, wanting to escape this body with the outer dabilitating body shutting you down as quickly as the healthy mind starts it's day. The flesh saying, "no you can't, I won't obey, I am too weak, the pain is too intense, is something that is an intensly, confusing and a daily, minute by minute at times battle. Only Jesus can soothe the pain within, even when taking
Judie Stone03/12/11
OOPS! Hit the wrong button.Lol I meant to finish with, taking pills was something that was so hard for me to accept as a daily task. I kept begging My Savior to heal me and help me to overcome my illness so I could be a mother, wife, freind and functioning person. He finally hit me with, "I've been trying, but you won't take your medicine." God has given great men of faith the gift of making medicines that do help. We can't let our stubborn will miss some of the things that can help.