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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: He Loves Me Not
By B Brenton


Numbers 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it.

A windy, spring days and an inviting hill that stood in front of her.

Susan was overjoyed to get away from the house for a moment. With the home telemarketing and cleaning, not to mention clubbing and Internet chat rooms, she hadn't had any time for thoughts lately.

Now, stretching her legs and reaching the top of the small hill, center stage in the local park, she felt young again, free.
Unlike the last 15 years of her life.
Days passed when she'd study the Bible at school and play in the park with her dog.
She never had many friends; none that really cared for her, and again it was the same.

'Jesus was the closest thing to being a man in my life', was her paradoxical conclusion and collapsing onto the grassy mound she picked a daisy beside her.

She hadn't had proper time for Him in years. Not in hours anyway. She'd been to church a couple of times in the last six months (Christmas and Easter) but to be honest; her heart wasn't really in it.

What did it matter? Her life would still be pointless 'What could Jesus do?' She thought bitterly.

She'd paid her lip service.

But a wicked idea sprung to mind. To challenge her deeply buried guilt... or at least have some fun.

"He loves me."

She tore off the first petal softly letting it fall between her legs. Her conscious immediately sprung up with an answer to her verbal statement.
'1 John 4:19 - We love him, because he first loved us'

"He loves me not."

'The time I was raped last July at the club. You didn't love me then, did you Jesus?' her mind scoffed.

"He loves me."

'Ephesians 2:4 - But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us', the other side fought back.

She shook her head as if to rid it of a certain mental unpleasantness.
"He loves me not."

'When I got hit in the eye with my brother's baseball during our family reunion and everybody laughed. Real merciful...' she almost snorted aloud.

"He loves me."

'Romans 5:5 - And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.'

"He loves me not."

'I haven't had a boyfriend in five years!'

"He loves me."

'Romans 8:39 - Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

Just two more delicate petals left. The kind of ironic thing God would do, always mocking her.

She snapped off the second last one and made her vicious last self-defense.

"He loves me not."

'Ok. June 2004. Hospitalized for three weeks with a case of severe mumps. I actually prayed and you did not show up once. Top that!'

"He loves me."

'For it is written: you shall not tempt the Lord your God'

'WHAT? No!'
She racked her brain for some other scripture but nothing came.
'I'm not tempting anyone! It was just a stupid joke!'

No time for another viperous retort or another false defense.

Her thumb and forefinger that were holding the remaining stem immediately burnt up. The stem wilted in between them. She watched as it went from gray to black to ash, until it was too hot to touch.

The ash went floating on the wind once she released it. Fingers now mildly blistered, a salty discharge from her eyes gently cleaning them.

"I'm sorry Lord. Forgive me. Forgive me." She wept.
Though however loud her pleas, they fell on deaf ears, as the words still hadn't reached to the depths of her blackened, withered heart.

Matthew 13:15
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Sickler10/11/05
Very interesting ending!
Anita Neuman10/12/05
Ah yes, I found the ending intriguing as well. In fact, your whole premise is very thought-provoking. Keep honing - you're headed in the right direction.
Jan Ackerson 10/12/05
You're a very good writer, but the ending puzzled me. Were you speaking metaphorically about the stem burning up in her fingers? Because if that REALLY happened, I don't understand how she could still be hard-hearted about God. Well-crafted story, just puzzling.
Brandi Roberts10/12/05
I'm confused too. Or maybe not. Perhaps you could PM me to let me know what it is you were trying to portray in the ending with the flower. Perhaps her burnt fingers were just an added reason to be mad at God? Would like to know. Thanks for sharing!
Alexandra Wilkin10/13/05
Very well written and I like the construction of it; but again, the ending is a puzzler. Its clear that God is trying to reach out to her through all her little, and rather larger, hurts. Very thought provoking stuff. God bless.
Suzanne R10/17/05
So so so so very sad......!

The way you linked the first part and the end with the passages was good. It was like a modern day version of the Old Testament saga of Israel's rebellion and return to God. Except that Susan didn't return, despite God's Word to her.

I like the way her wizened hardened heart was withered like the daisy.

Yet He IS a God of mercy - hence speaking into Susan's life through Scripture and the daisy. May it be that her heart again softens to Him.

And yet you leave us with the haunting certainty that He is a God of judgement ... you could have brought in the verse from Hebrews too about those who've tasted of His goodness but turned away, can they again turn back ... ooh ... too scary! Seriousy scary.

A good piece, anyhow. Well done. Takes a bit of brain power to process. But it is GOOD!