Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)
TITLE: An Evening in Paris
By Julie Michaelson
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But, I knew that, whatever the food was, it was going to be excellent.
We were, after all, at a 5-star restaurant - again.
In a good Parisian restaurant, one has to be patient. It's not considered
even civilized to rush any of the six, or seven courses - including the
appetizer, sherbet (with which to cleanse the palette before the entree),
coffee, and cheese selections (to go with dessert).
My husband was always impeccably dressed. His silk tie would glisten
with the candelight, and his diamond tie pin, against the silk, was a nice
touch. Of course, I was well-dressed, also, and enjoyed feeling like a lady
of leisure. We were living a life of leisure, and abundance. It smelled of
fine wine, French cologne, and the pungent, cloistered air of overseas
flights. Problems were not having the newest, most popular novel to read
on the 747.
Sadly, this life was too abundant - with the pleasures of the world - to leave
much time for humbleness. As my abundance grew, so did my pride.
And, I didn't give much thought to my Creator, or kneeling before Him.
Wasn't kneeling, after all, a sign of humility? I couldn't be part of any of
that; I was just too, too proud.
When I was a little kid, at synagogue, I used to hear that our God was a
jealous God. He was, I was told, jealous of other gods, or idols.
"Well! That's never to going to concern me! I'll never turn to worship
any idols of Baal!"
But, that's just what I ended up doing. And, it was such a gradual thing,
that I wasn't even aware of it.
The Lord is very patient, however, just like a Parisian diner at a 5-star
restaurant. He waits, and waits for you to turn back to Him - and
away from Baal.
Until one day, He says, "Enough is enough!" With one swipe of His
Mighty Hand, all of the false idols come crashing down, all around you.
And, that's just what happened to me. One day, I walked into my hallway,
and looked down to see all Baal's beautifully painted, well-polished
expensiveness, totally smashed on the fine carpet.
It was quite an eye-opener, and a moment that I would not wish to
I found myself on my knees, trying desperately to pick up the tiny pieces
of my adored Baal - only to end up cutting myself quite painfully, in the bargain.
"Oh, God!" I cried like a baby. "Why have you done this to me? How can
you do this to me? You're mean! Mean and hateful! I never intend to
speak to you, again!"
I threw temper tantrums. They did nothing except make me worn-out,
crouching on a corner of the fine carpet - with my head in my hands -
wondering what I was going to do if God refused to give me back my
Then, I would shut myself up in the laundry room. I would spend hours
yelling and screaming at Him. I even slammed doors at Him. No dice.
There was nothing but stony silence. But, unbeknownst to me, it was
a silence filled with gentle, loving compassion, and more patience, and
tenderness than I ever thought possible.
Little by little, I began to see signs of a new life. The more I left
behind my old attitudes, and ways of living, the more I could see of this
tiny, new bundle of life. Gradually, I stopped trying to pick up Baal's
shattered pieces. I was still on my knees, but, I was no longer bowing
to my old idols of money, Peter Pan, and a self-centered life.
It didn't happen all at once. During the next two or three years, I
realized that my temper tantrums were getting me nowhere. I stopped
blaming Him for all my troubles, and reluctantly began looking at myself.
The other day, I stopped at a drive-through MacDonalds on the way home
from teaching English. I was tired, my old car was a mess of books and
papers, and my once-perfect made-up face was without lipstick. Munching
on hot fries, I veered off, and parked in a huge lot. I waved to some new
I had a Bible study tonight. I had just started to know Jesus, and had
discovered a very different adventure, filled with rich abundance!
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