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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)

TITLE: A New Zest for Life
By LaRue Kendrick


A New Zest for Life

“Bone tired, just bone tired; that’s what I am”, thought Cliff. The day hadn’t been any different than the past many days. Maybe that was part of the problem. All the days were running together. Would his life ever be any different? He was so tired of it all.

Cliff had grown up going to church with his family but had fallen away during college. After a painful divorce he had given up the idea of a loving God all together. Now he wondered. Anyway, he had gotten himself into this mess, and he should get himself out of it.

These thoughts kept rumbling through his mind like a slow moving train. While working a job doing some remodeling, Cliff met another out-of-work, part-time fixer named Jim. Jim had been looking for a real job even longer, and he had a wife and three kids to provide for. Jim was always whistling a tune, though, and Cliff couldn’t understand how Jim could whistle, and all he could do was think how weary he was of the life he lived.

One very warm day, late in the afternoon, Cliff and Jim both sat down to wipe the sweat from their brows and drink the last of their water. Cliff asked Jim how he could whistle when life had dealt him a hard hand. Jim swished the water around in his mouth and then swallowed it. He rested his elbows on his knees as he rolled the empty water bottle in his hands. He turned his head to look at Cliff who was sitting beside him. “Do you know Jesus, Cliff?

Cliff turned to look at Jim. “Well, I used to go to church. But I haven’t done that for a very long time now.”

“No, I’m not talking about going to church”, said Jim. “I mean, do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? There’s a big difference between going to church and having a personal relationship with Jesus. Do you know what I mean?”

Cliff looked through the screen door and thought before he spoke again. “I’m not sure I have ever known the difference. I thought if you went to church, that was all there was to it. Tell me more.”

This gave Jim the opportunity to explain to Cliff how he could whistle even though he wasn’t happy with his work situation, and he and his wife were having trouble making ends meet. Jim said, “God is the rock that keeps us going. We know he is our provider, not the job. He doesn’t always work in the time frame we would like him to, but he is never late, and we trust him. God is faithful. In fact, he is the only security there is in this life.”

Both men were silent for a time. A cooling breeze was blowing in through the screen door. Jim spoke first. “Cliff, I don’t know where you live, but I would like to come and pick you up Sunday and take you to church with us. Would you agree to that?”

Cliff puffed out his cheeks with a big breath and said, “I guess I don’t have anything to lose.” Then he explained to Jim how to get to his home.

This became a weekly habit, and Cliff was beginning to understand that he needed to ask Jesus to be his Savior and Lord of his life. The pastor talked about God as a living, loving Father who was willing to forgive past wrongs and wanted to bring all people into fellowship with him through the blood of Jesus.

After several weeks, Cliff told Jim he was ready to ask Jesus into his life to forgive him and take control of his life. A great smile broke out on Jim’s face as he put his hand on Cliff’s shoulder and said, “You won’t regret this Cliff, ever. It’s the most important thing you will have ever done.” The two men knelt where they were in an empty room. Jim prayed the words, and Cliff repeated them.

Several days later while Cliff was working at another repair job he realized he was whistling a tune he had heard at church. He had a real friend in Jim. He had a Savior who had forgiven him and would guide him daily. And he realized he wasn’t bone tired anymore. He had hope because God had a plan for his life.

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/12/12
This is a great story of hard times and what fighting and faith can do for such a situation.

Double check your punctuation, the commas should go inside the quotes. The only thing I wished you had added was the prayer to invite Jesus into his heart. It's a simple thing, but some readers may have never done that and showing the prayer would help them learn to talk to Jesus.

You did a nice job of staying on topic. The ending was a tad predictable because of your title. However your message is so clear. Having Jesus in our lives doesn't mean our problems will disappear, it just means we can count on God to give us the strength we need.
C D Swanson 05/12/12
Loved it. Beautiful job of showing what is important in life. And, how Jesus will help us all in everything we do.

Well written, and very powerful in meaning.

Thank you.

God Bless,

Margaret Kearley 05/17/12
This is a wonderful story to read and (with a little variation!) is the story of many, praise God. You told it in a lovely style that was both heartwarming and encouraging. Thankyou