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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: More Precious than Platinum
By Trina Courtenay


I came to live on the streets of Chicago due to my alcoholic mother and her many boyfriends who’d sneak into my room at night. While I was on the streets of the windy city I’d walk by Trophies Jewelry almost daily. I’d gaze in the window and dream about owning something, anything from within. Then one day I noticed a simple cross. It was laid out on an old burlap sack. Made of rusted nails, bound by barbed wire the cross hung on a thin black rope. Beside it was the tiniest price tag I had ever seen. One so small I couldn’t make out how much it cost from the window.

Instantly I felt a wondrous attraction to the cross. The cross and I, a homeless teenage girl are both representative of suffering and shame to those who do not understand. God understood. He quiet literally used the cross to bring me to the saving knowledge of His Son.

From the first moment I laid eyes on the cross I started saving every penny I found or was given. I longed to have the cross. To me it had become more precious than platinum. When at last I thought I saved enough I dared to walk through the door.

The clerk looked up, smiled and asked if she could be of any assistance. Imagine asking someone like me if I needed assistance. I must have smelled like dead fish for lack of a shower or clean clothes for over two months. I thought to myself, if she could stand my stench without even a flare of her nostrils then I would inquire about the cross.

The clerk said I could go on over and get a closer look. Nervously I walked up to it and with shaky hands I flipped the price tag over. In hand writing so small I had to squint to read what was written in red; I was able to make out that it said, free plus bonus with purchase.

Free? But I saved my pennies to purchase it. I went days without eating or going to the shelter. I sacrificed my own wants and needs. I was almost to the point of being angry but instead of boiling over I asked how the cross could be free and inquired as to what the bonus gift was.

She explained to me she could not sell something she did not pay for. I was beyond confused at this point. She went on to tell me ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me. It was not she who sacrificed herself on a hill far away but Jesus Himself who bought and paid for what the cross represented as well as the bonus gift of salvation. Then she told me if I wanted the cross and all that it represented I could have it. All I had to do was ask and so I did.

As I lifted the cross above my head and placed it around my neck I felt love and acceptance wash over me for the first time in my short life. An overwhelming desire to know more of this Jesus overtook my being. I turned and asked the clerk if she would be willing to tell me more about Jesus and why He did what He did.

For the next two weeks I spent my afternoons with Sarah, a Christian and the store owner as she told me how the dear Lamb of God left His glory above to bear it to dark Calvary for a world of lost sinners just like me. I also learned to cherish the old rugged cross, for He died for me. And one day He’ll call me to my home far away, where His glory forever I’ll share. Until then I will cling to my old rugged cross, for through it I can see a wondrous future.

Words in italics are taken from the hymn, The Old Rugged Cross.

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This article has been read 889 times
Member Comments
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Pat Guy 08/24/06
Oh wow! This is fantastic! I hope it places - it should as far as I'm concerned! I LOVED this gem! :)
david grant08/24/06
Yes! Marvelous gospel! Nice work! I'd make this into a gospel track and put it in every pawn shop I could find.

Rita Garcia08/24/06
Touching, heartfelt and His Spirit shines through!
Ann FitzHenry08/24/06
This is beautiful! Congratulations on a well-written and inspired story. Thank you for touching my heart today.
Pamela Rosario08/24/06
This reads as if it came from a place way down deep. It feels authentic, raw, and real. I loved it.
Cassie Memmer08/24/06
This is beautiful. And a fresh, new way to proclaim the gospel. Very touching.
Joanne Malley08/25/06
I almost have no words. Just know it's priceless; just like the cross. Jo :)
Joanne Sher 08/25/06
Amazing! You will not be in intermediate for long! This is an astoundingly beautiful and moving piece. WOW!
Shari Armstrong 08/25/06
I think this is one of the best things I've read in a long time - well crafted, lovely way to weave in the words of that wonderful hymn!
Valora Otis08/25/06
Ann is right, this is beautiful and inspired. Bless you for this gem of a story.
Edy T Johnson 08/25/06
Such exquisite writing, haunting, beautiful, and right on topic. I love the mood your wordsmithing creates. Makes me want to keep on reading and reading, and reading. A story for my favorites collection!
Linda Watson Owen08/26/06
Perfect title for a perfect piece! I felt I was right there with your main character. I could feel that cross in my hand. So skillfully written! Thank you for this gem, indeed!
Jan Ackerson 08/28/06
Absolutely gorgeous, the way you worked in the words of that lovely hymn. Great job.
T. F. Chezum08/28/06
Excellent - from the title through the end. I like how you weaved the song through the story.
Jen Davis08/28/06
A great story! You've created such an endearing character and shared a wonderful message. Very nicely done.
Joanne Malley08/28/06
Beautifully and skillfully written. It left me with a feeling of wanting to read much more. Wonderful job...I hope it earns the recognition it deserves! Blessings.:)
Jan Ross08/28/06
Beautifully inspired and touching! Definitely one of my favorites this week! :)
william price08/29/06
I will gladly join the crowd of wonderful comments praising this entry. Excellent story that was told very well. You captured the power of the cross, and how it gives its power to those who are saved. Very, very good job Trina!!! God bless.
Brenda Craig08/30/06
Trina, what else is there to say. You have hit the mark. One of my favorites. Simple, yet deep, beautiful and inspiring, Blessings Brenda