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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Achoo (04/11/13)

TITLE: A Temporary Setback
By Chris Goglin


A Temporary Setback

It is allergy time in Arizona! The cottonwood, cypress and juniper tree pollen explode into the air encircling the entire neighborhood. The symptoms are irritating and sometimes debilitating, and affect each person differently. Itchy eyes and throat mixed with sniffles and congestion make an annoying cocktail of gloom. However, as soon as the spring renewal of foliage has diminished, everyone can finally catch a breath of fresh air.

Challenges in life can give us temporary setbacks, such as a job loss, illnesses, relocation, or even a death in the family. They take hold of us just like a startling sneeze erupting from within with a mind of its own. When we temporarily surrender to our defeat, God is there to embrace us. His Holy Spirit will guide us as we struggle through the hard times.
“...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26 NIV). We forget that He lives inside us ready to take over the minute we lose control.

Just as a silky tissue comforts our tender noses, God soothes our broken hearts. He compassionately brings us through our trials in such an amazing way, that we can serve others going through the same problems. “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:4 NIV).

Many years ago, I suffered five consecutive miscarriages, wondering whether I would ever bear children. Waiting through each painful setback caused me to forget God’s passion for His children; and almost gave up. Through God’s grace over the years, He not only gave me five healthy children, but allowed me to witness to others in the same dilemma. His timing is perfect, and although it is sometimes irritating and difficult, God rehabilitates us to serve Him once again with a renewed devotion.

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lynn gipson 04/19/13
What a beautiful testimony! God does answer our prayers when the time is right. Thank you so much for sharing this fine story with us. Great Job!
Christina Banks 04/19/13
Thank you for sharing this thought provoking article with us. I found your use of "an annoying cocktail of gloom" original and refreshing. Sometimes the lessons we've learned through pain are the ones that stick with us the longest. I too have struggled with infertility, and wondered if I would ever hold my baby in my arms, but just as you said in this entry, God's timing is perfect. My toddler rests in his crib even as I comment here.
Lori Dixon04/19/13
Great job in tying together allergy season to seasons in our life. Wonderful that you were so transparent and shared your own loss with us readers.
Well done and thanks for being brave to bare your soul. :)
Judith Gayle Smith04/19/13
May God truly richly bless you. You are one very brave gal - and will be an inspiration to so many. I love what you have written. Thank you.
Alicia Renkema04/22/13
I liked this devotional very much. It was very well written and you had a nice parallel going of our noses being comforted with the soft tissues in life and God helping us in our weaknesses as well as comforting us in our distresses. I don't know if it would have been possible to have continued that theme in the last paragraph with the allergies / sneezing and God helping you with your miscarriages (I felt so bad for you when read that yet was so glad to hear about your 5 children now). I too live in Az. and they say that everyone who lives here eventually gets allergies because of all of the transplanted trees. You have a knack for devotional writing. I hope you continue. I really liked your word choices. Many blessings to you.
Cheryl Harrison04/22/13
"Just as a silky tissue comforts our tender noses, God soothes our broken hearts."

I enjoyed reading your devotional. Setbacks are part of life, the take-away lesson of your devotional is spot on. Thanks for writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/23/13
This is a powerful devotion. I really like how you started with something everyone can relate to. Your opening paragraph is an excellent example of showing and not telling. Some argue that that concept can't be applied to nonfiction, but you clearly show how it draws the reader in and helps clarify the message. This is a well-written piece that is spot on as far as topic and delivering an important message.