Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)
TITLE: Abundant Life
By Dave Walker
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I had reached the pinnacle of my career, had all the mod cons, people at my beck and call and money to burn. I was respected – even admired - at work and at play. Then, early one morning, while admiring, from my executive suite, the mist wafting around the skyscrapers of Singapore, I realised although I had everything, I had nothing. I saw, for the first time, my life as a flat line. Everything was comfortable and controlled, but as I ironed out the valleys of discomfort, the peaks flattened. While surrounding myself with comfort, I no longer enjoyed any real highs. Sure, there were momentary thrills, but no deep satisfaction. A self-indulgent lifestyle, smoothing everything for my own ease, like the flat line of an EKG, was killing me spiritually.
The greatest man who ever lived promised abundant life to those who followed him. Then he modelled what that looked like. There were soaring peaks as he rejoiced at the ecstatic reports from those returning from a mission trip, as he communed with his Father in heaven, his countenance reflecting pure glory and as he felt the extravagant love of a wanton woman washing his feet with her tears. Then there were deep bleak valleys. He was misunderstood, reviled and accused of blasphemy. He wept for a dear friend, and for a whole city. He was tired from a dusty, hot journey, and frustrated by stubbornness and obtuseness. And finally flogged and killed.
The life he promised was abundantly joyful and abundantly painful and now, from the top floor of a hotel far from home, I understood what he demonstrated. All around me pain and deprivation, heartache and tragedy intertwined with heroic acts of compassion, mercy and self-sacrifice. It was into this teeming life Jesus immersed himself to touch and heal. Yet here in my six star hotel I excluded myself. Cocooned in my comfortable complacency, neither a caterpillar nor butterfly, I was asleep and dying.
Two weeks after my epiphany the other company directors faced me smouldering with ‘civilised’ rage. My resignation was not accepted. If I insisted, there would be no severance package. It was very uncomfortable. I rejoiced. The abundant life was beginning.
One month later, I was living in a run-down part of the neighbourhood, getting to know the drug addicts, pimps and prostitutes in the area. I am still involved with them. Life is hard. I am financially insecure. I have been through deep valleys seeing them relapse and overdose. I am frustrated and angry at their stubbornness. Yet I have soared with the successes – the lives restored and healed by Jesus. He was right. What he offered was abundant life. More than I imagined, for it is not just on the peaks where I am filled with joy. Even in the valleys sometimes I am so filled with a love for my Saviour and a love for these beautiful folk hurt and ensnared, as they are, by the enemy that I break into spontaneous song. Would I go back to a flat, comfortable life? Never! My spiritual EKG pulsates strongly across the cosmic screen for all in the heavenly realm to see. It has bounced back from a flat line to lively vigorous health and, though I sometimes long for a bit more comfort, I would not exchange this for anything.
(Based on a true story)
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