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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)

TITLE: Today I will be in Paradise
By Dave Walker
02/26/13


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"Today I will be in Paradise!" Ali spoke quietly as the men strapped the explosives to his body. His father watched, with pride, this prelude to martyrdom. Ali knew his mother was in her room, weeping quietly at the harshness of Allah, but his father wanted this. And Ali honoured his father. With the explosive belt fastened in place, he spoke with a firmness that belied his inner turmoil, "Allah al Akbar" "God is Greater" and, rifles raised in triumphant salute, the shout reverberated round the room, "Allah al Akbar! Allah al Akbar!"

He walked down the hill toward the crowded square where men, women and children hurried about unaware of the destruction Ali carried toward them. A young boy greeted him with a bright smile and Ali suddenly had a flashback to his childhood in Lebanon. His best friend, Mikhail belonged to a Christian family and sometimes Ali slept over at their house. Love and kindness, permeated that home. What happy times those were, before his father became obsessed with Jihad. On leaving, the family gave him the Injeel (New Testament) which he read to this day. Of course, he knew about Isa (Jesus) from the Quran, but what Isa said in the Injeel captivated him.

He hastily looked away from the young boy, pushing from his mind a vision of his dismembered body flying through the air at Ali's hand. "Allah al Akbar!" he muttered to himself.

"Strange" he thought, "how the chant was 'God is greater!' and not 'God is Greatest', as though He was being compared to someone else. Greater than who? Greater than Isa?" Ali was sweating with fear and the words of the Injeel came to him "Perfect love drives out fear." Isa had an antidote for fear. Allah instilled fear. Did that make Isa greater? He walked closer to the people whose lives would be taken, and with them, his own. The Injeel whispered Isa's words, "I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly." Which was greater? To take life, as Allah demanded or to give it, as Isa promised?

"Who are you Isa?" "Who are you, Allah?" The questions pounded in his mind as he walked toward the crowded square.

Missionaries had stayed, sometimes, with the Christian family in Lebanon. He knew they were Americans by their accent. Now a crazy thought came to him. Could you distinguish God by His accent? In the confusing language of the Quran and Injeel, could one look behind the words to the tone and inflections? Which accent was God's, that of Allah or Isa?

He remembered his father, unapproachable, filled with hate, drawn into radical Islam and Jihad. Then memories came of tumbling about with Mikhail and his dad on the living room carpet, laughter ringing through the house. Which accent was God's? That of hatred or of love?

"Allah al Akbar!" he muttered again. Or was he? His mother had come last night and wept on his bed. Submitting herself to the will of Allah brought her pain for the rest of her days. Was this the voice of God? Was His accent one of harsh ruthlessness? Isa's words from the Injeel whispered, "Come to Me all who are burdened and I will give you rest .... I am gentle and humble and you will find rest for your soul." How he would prefer that accent of gentleness and approachability for his mother.

Suddenly a rumble came from behind. Turning, he saw a runaway truck tearing down the hill toward the crowded square. Soon it would plough into the people, crushing, crumpling, destroying as it went. He had seconds to decide. "Who are you God? With what accent do You speak?" He knew the answer before he asked the question. Murmuring, "Jesus, You are the truth. I give You my life," he ran towards the truck.

Those recounting the story told it with shocked admiration.

"A huge truck came down the hill straight for us. People were scattering everywhere but it was coming too fast. Suddenly a young man ran towards it shouting "Isa al Akbar! Isa al Akbar!" He leapt in front of it. A tremendous explosion all but demolished the truck leaving a huge hole in the ground and stopping it in its tracks. Who was that man? And why did he die to save us? Whoever he was I am sure he is now in Paradise."


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This article has been read 767 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Francie Snell 02/28/13
I loved your description of the MCs inner conflict and his resolve with the truth. This had me in suspense the whole time. Great Job! Keep up the excellent work.
Francie
Judith Gayle Smith03/03/13
This literally leaves me breathless. The suspense, the passion, the growth and the unexpected but fantastic ending is so worth the reading!

Loving you in through and because of Jesus, the Christ . . .
Virgil Youngblood 03/04/13
The title captured my attention and your story did not disappoint. You did a fine job of building suspense and conveying spiritual truth. The ending was handled well. Good writing, here.
Mildred Sheldon03/06/13
This was a very powerful article. It held great truth and was very well written. I thoroughtly enjoyed this from beginning to end.
Pam Ford Davis 03/07/13
Congratulations!

Wing His Words
Alicia Renkema03/07/13
Your MC and his childhood friend became so real to me. Somehow though in your fantastic story telling and the MC wondering which was God's accent, I forgot that he had explosives strapped to his body and I was thinking if he had come up with the right answer all would be well. But he did give his live to the One true God so all did end well. Too bad his mother couldn't know, but maybe she will find Isa too. However, did you come up with this story? It was exciting and gripping from beginning to end. But more important it held biblical truth. Thanks you for this wonderful piece. I am so glad this one first place in your level. Congratulations!
Alicia Renkema03/07/13
I was pretty sure you had a second place over all win too, but I wanted to double check... Fabulous, I am happy for you. This really was an extraordinary piece!
John Huckstep03/07/13
Congratulations Dave I really enjoyed reading your story.
Judith Gayle Smith03/07/13
Thank you for glorifying God with your true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy winning entry! God bless you.

KJV Hebrews 10:26 "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Lynn Moses03/07/13
Congratulations on your win. This is a wonderful story. I was sad that the man had to die, but how he did it was beautiful and Jesus will be waiting for him. Great job.
Linda Berg03/07/13
Your title drew me in to this read but your development of your characters and the truth of the message kept me involved.

Congratulations on your win.
Bea Edwards 03/08/13
I am stunned at the amount of emotion your story stirred. I have goose bumps, crocodile tears and my chest is all tight.
WOW your piece is stupendous in its powerful message of how Truth will set a person free.
Thank you doesn't describe my gratitude for your piece!
CD Swanson 03/08/13
Congratulations! Blessings~
Jack Taylor 03/08/13
Congratulations. you capture the inner jihad of those who live in the lands where Isa and Allah engage in spiritual conflict. Knowing friends from this area made this come alive.
Claudia Thomason 03/08/13
This fast-paced story took me deep into the workings of minds I don't begin to understand. Thankfully, God reaches out to them, as in your story. What a gripping piece.
Congratulations on your EC.
Olawale Ogunsola 03/10/13
I love the comparison. This is a well deserved second place EC. Congratulations!
Noel Mitaxa 04/01/13
Congratulations on a brilliantly descriptive and incisive entry. You have packed so much within the word limit, without making it look like you were trying too hard. Great work.
Norma-Anne Hough04/01/13
Hi there,
Congratulations on a well deserved win!
What a powerful story.
Very well done.
Norms
Charla Diehl 04/02/13
The questions in the MC's mind made this a gripping story which moved this reader along at a pace equal to the quickened beats of my heart. Excellent.
Congratulations on winning with this deserving entry.
debbie edwards06/02/13
wow that is amazing!!! it appears of course that you are well versed in muslem cultures. i love it