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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Postcards (08/29/05)

TITLE: An Unbelievable Postcard From Heaven
By Ryan Barnhart


I often think about my friends and family and the possibility of them going to hell, but not nearly enough. I truly love God and follow Jesus and believe in heaven with all my heart and soulómost of the timeóbut I donít talk to people about Jesus as much as I should. I want to witness and share my faith more, but work and doubt and fear usually seem to get in the way and I end up sitting on my beliefs and only talking about them when it is comfortable. I have no problem telling others about Jesus or saying ďGod bless youĒ when I know the other person or group of people will respond in a positive way, but if it is unsafe to be religious, I usually just hide my faith in the back of a drawer with all the letters from ex-girlfriends and old high school yearbooks.

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus Jesus painted a horrific, but beautiful picture of someone dying and then desiring to cross the thresholds of hell to inform their loved ones about their regret in not choosing to follow God. I donít want my worst enemies, let alone my brothers and parents eventually asking to be cooled off from an eternal heat in hell by someone touching their tongue with a wet finger. I think that would be horrible, but even after reading that for the tenth or eleventh time I still havenít acted.

My grandfather was a great God-fearing man and I truly believe he is in heaven praising God with the angels, or doing whatever else people envision heaven as. I do know that after he died over a year ago I missed him because he was probably my favorite person in the world and I began communicating with him as if he was right next to me, or as if he was an imaginary friend only I could see. Iím glad my grandfather doesnít respond and talk back from heaven though because if he did people would think I was crazy and put me in an institution.

After my grandfather passed away my family was kind of like America after 9/11; we all temporarily changed and began seeking for more meaning to life and someone who could save the day. That eventually wore off and now my family could use another reawakening. I often wish my grandfather could send me a postcard or something tangible that could be viewed by others and serve as proof to the existence of heaven.

I dream of one day opening my mailbox and discovering a postcard that would say, ďDear Ryan. Iím having a wonderful time. You cannot imagine how rewarding your faithfulness and diligence is going to be once you finally get here. Godís presence is much more beautiful than I ever imagined and Jesus is a riot. We play cards twice a week and you wouldnít believe how patient and loving He really is. I gotta go but make sure you tell others about this place so that they can join us. See you soon. Love Grandpa.Ē

I can imagine my reaction. I would probably sit on the front lawn by the mail box for hours just smiling, crying and praying about what he wrote. I would think about sharing the story with others, but I probably wouldnít though. I would be scared of what people might think. I would be afraid they might laugh at me if I told them I truly believed the postcard came from heaven and was not a practical joke created by some stranger to fool me. Even though I donít want anyone to go to hell, Iím not sure if even a postcard from heaven would get me to share the good news more efficiently with those who appear to be going south. Iím actually not sure what it would take to make that happen. Whether it shows up in my mailbox or if it is just a simple change in my heart, I donít care; I just hope it happens soon. The postcard from heaven would be pretty cool though.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Julianne Jones09/07/05
Wow! There was some pretty honest sharing going on here. Remember Jesus' reply to the rich man: even if the dead were to return the living wouldn't be convinced. We have the Word and we need to share it so that others have the chance to know the truth also. But as you've pointed out, this can be hard. Keep praying for your family and be faithful in all things.
Jan Ackerson 09/07/05
The best paragraph was the one with the actual text of the postcard: "Jesus is a riot." This essay was written with authentic voice and lots of honesty. Thanks.
Shari Armstrong 09/09/05
A good lesson here that all of us need to learn/be reminded of -we need to share Jesus all the time, just not when we feel comfortable.
Val Clark09/12/05
Written from the heart, echoing the cry of a heart for unsaved family who have hurt so bad with their rejection that there seems to be nowhere to go in witnessing Ė except to keep loving them and praying.