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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)

TITLE: No Returns Accepted
By Kristi Huseby
06/14/11


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I hate to have to return things. Iím one of those people that never keeps good track of their receipts. So if I have to return anything itís a huge chore! And of course I complicate matters by never seeming to have the receipt and the item I need to return with me at the same time.

But I have to say it is a nice thing to be able to return something - itís kind of like absolving a mistake, if Iíve bought something I couldnít afford or if somehow the thing I purchased doesnít work correctly. Returns come in handy when you change your
mind. . .

Wouldnít it be nice if we could return the things in life that we donít want to face? What if we could take back a poor decision and exchange it for a better one? What if we could return a difficult relationship? What if there was a checkout counter that would allow us to trade in a difficult experience for an easier one?

Sometimes I think we wish we could do this with God too. We want his love but would prefer to return His justice back to the shelf. We want his forgiveness but struggle with His righteousness. We want to tell Him what we want Him to do; we donít want Him to tell us what we should do.

A friend of mine had a horrible thing happen to her son while she was worshiping God in church. He was sexually molested by a teenager. It left her reeling with pain and anger. How could God allow this to happen to her innocent child? She felt betrayed by her God and the anger grew and festered within her until it be became a raging inferno. And she told God she was done! She wanted to return her salvation; she didnít want it any more. She was checking out of this Christianity thing. So she set her Bible on the shelf and wanted nothing more to do with God. But the interesting thing was that God did not accept her return. He refused to take back His salvation from her. She told Him multiple times to get away from her. When she was on her daily walks she would cuss and swear and say horrible things to Him but He refused to leave her. This is how she described it, ďHe was just there. It was a quiet presence, not a condemning one. No matter what I did or said to Him (and I said some pretty terrible things) He would not leave me alone!Ē

As she told me her story Psalm 139:7-10 (NLV) came to my mind, ď I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.Ē

His unending presence slowly began to melt the ice around her heart and as a lover pursues the one he loves so God drew her gently back to Himself. And then one day it happened! She picked up her Bible, that had sat dormant on the shelf, dusted it off and began to discover a whole new God, a God she realized she had never really known.

What was her greatest disappointment led her to her greatest discovery Ė GOD!

When things go wrong, when life takes a turn we donít expect, there is a yearning to checkout, to stick our head in the sand and hope it all goes away. But what if Godís plan is to use our greatest disappointment as our greatest opportunity? What if He is revealing Himself to us in a way He never has before? What if these struggles are really His blessings in disguise?


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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/23/11
This is a great devotion. I really liked the fact that you talked about a personal experience it helps the reader get to know you and beadle to trust you. Your message was right on, often unthinkable things happen and many wonder how God could allow such a thing. Your tackled a difficult topic with a great Bible verse and an important message.