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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Looking Up - Looking Down
By John Elliott


As daylight faded, my sense of sight, dulled from the rush and length of the day, awakened to the hues of red, purple and blue that merged in the evening sky. Standing at length and gazing in wonder at this masterpiece of color unfolding before me, I found it hard to feel significant and valuable in this temporary place.

Taking in a sunset over the ocean, pausing to see a rainbow and the birth of a child are but a few of the soul touching experiences that overwhelm us with amazement. These experiences draw us to look up to Heaven with thanks and praise that echo the words of the Psalmist, "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalms 8:4 NIV)

Conversely, the loss of a child is an unbearable encounter with grief. No matter the age of the child or the reason for loss, in a moment of time, the wound inflicted to the heart is swift, lasting, and immeasurable. The head falls, the knees buckle and tears erupt. We stare at our crushed heart through eyes clouded with salty tears and gasp for air through a throat that is aching from constriction. Experiences such as this tend to overwhelm us with an anguish that draws the eyes downward and inward. This anguish can become a lengthy spiral staircase downward into a pit of despair where the heart and soul again echo the words of the Psalmist, “For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.” (Psalms 88:3 NIV)

One who is grieving the loss of a child does not take comfort easily from one who has not endured the same. I am thankful we have a God who shouldered such a loss. Not that God would have to shoulder such a burden to be able to comfort me, but because He has, my hope is not lost! In the midst of my deepest distress, He is able to come alongside me, with a compassion that penetrates my anguish, and weep with me. His understanding and love are so complete that He is able to not only reach my emptiness, but also fill it and comfort me so that I may once again lift up my eyes to Heaven.

God is able to reach down to hearts crushed by despair. God is able to lift those same hearts up to Him. It is comforting to know that God can take something so heinous and turn it into a mysterious and wondrous love that fills the empty spaces. It is a love that requires sharing for God wants no one abandoned in the pit of despair. Hope comes from the reconciliation won by Jesus at the cross and His resurrection. Love, God alone, is the restorer of this Heavenly Hope and bringer of great joy. Therefore, whether you look up or down, Love holds you. All else is temporary.

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This article has been read 641 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/09/09
Very moving, and a beautiful use of the topic.

The first paragraph, written in past tense, almost seemed to beling to a different piece.

I think this will be of great comfort to anyone in similar circumstances. Well done!
Beckie Stewart04/09/09
The pain of the author is here, but so is the hope of the Savior's love and comfort in the loss of a child or the many other difficult times life throws our way.
Norma-Anne Hough04/09/09
Very powerful and moving.
We are truly blessed to serve such an awesome, compassionate God.
Mary McLeary04/13/09
Powerful piece on suffering that could speak to a broken heart and give hope.
Good piece. Sometimes we are up. Sometimes we are down. We pray God will take us up and keep us up always. Cheers!
Norma-Anne Hough04/16/09
Well done on your placing. It was a beautiful piece of writing.
Lollie Hofer04/16/09
Only someone who has walked in your shoes could write so eloquently from the depth of such pain. Your words have a poetic quality to them. Well done!
Coleene VanTilburg 04/20/09
Thank you personally, for this piece. What you have said, I echo and confirm. As we give our grief over to the Comforter, He sustains us beyond what we can imagine; and inspires in such personal ways, as to allow us a special insight to the Glory to come. Such Hope enables me to continue to breathe and in turn have even more of a fervency for Eternity.
Congratulations on your first place win.