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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: A Storm's View
By Gary Sims


He was lying on the couch, staring off into the night's sky pierced by flashes of lightening and the steady sound of rain beating against the roof. Other than the vision-blinding explosions of white breaking into the darkness of the home, all he could see were dark outlines of furniture in the room where he sat. He had been awakened by the storm's fury. He could never sleep during a storm. Instead, he held a deep fear and respect for its power.

Another flash pierced the night sky closely followed by a crash of thunder that shook the heavens. He was amazed, as always, by the splendor of God's creation. As with most people, the man usually felt in control of his life, but occasionally God would send a reminder that would cause him to sit back in awe and take notice. This dark and stormy night was one of those reminders.

As the sound of the rain increased in response to the latest rumble, the man closed his eyes and remembered another storm that had burst into his life a few years earlier. It was a different kind of storm, a man-made storm, but its fury had been as devastating as any God-inspired tempest he had ever experienced. This was a storm where words were the flashes of lightening and outrage the thunderous response. It was a time when it seemed as though the storm would never pass.

It started, as most storms do, slowly and with little pretense of the pending fury that was about to be unleashed. As the man reminisced he realized the tempest had been building for several years prior to that one night. It had probably begun when he was still a teen, searching for meaning and purpose in life. A friend had said only a few words in passing but they resonated in the man's heart. "You're a renaissance man," the friend had said. "You have the ability to see things as God intends them to be."

As a youth, he had very little understanding of what being "a renaissance man" entailed but the phrase hounded his soul. His years spent at the university and in Law School passed with little significance. Nothing captured his heart and he enjoyed the party life on campus a little more than he probably should have. He was aimless and simply getting by with as little effort as possible.

Then lightening struck. He was literally blown off his feet. It was as though he were touched by God. Thrown to the ground with a cacophony of sound exploding in his ears, he saw a new vision for his life - a vision of priesthood and teaching.

He came to know God, first as a passionate response to the sudden epiphany of grace and love that burst into his heart and then, as the steady, reliable eternal force that orchestrated the heavens and filled his every breath. The vision seemingly was always there but the words to describe and the clarity of understanding took years to develop.

The church that he had dedicated his life to support had become rigid and authoritative. The bureaucracy was stifling and the availability of God's love to all people was blocked by self-righteous hypocrisy. The problems were many and the vision of a better future was clear.

In the apex of that storm he had written a letter. It was a disturbing letter, a letter filled with frustration, hopelessness, and despair. Where it lacked in love it made up in passion. It was a letter for the ages; a letter for all to read. He posted it on the door of the church so that all who passed would surely learn of its content. It was a letter that could not be ignored.

The storm's fury lasted long into the night - weeks and months passed. Committees were formed and debates held. Anger persisted. Eventually, however, the truth within the letter held up to debate and scrutiny. Many resisted change and held tight to the traditions that had grown important to them. But others shared in the vision of new life and new hope.

Martin Luther awoke and found that the night's fury had ceased. He looked out the windows and saw the promise of a new day dawning as the clouds gave way to the rays of sunlight repeating their glorious arrival as they so often do.

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Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 08/10/06
Wonderful, the way the storm outside reflected his spiritual storm. Great writing.
david grant08/11/06
This is your best paragraph, I think: "Then lightening struck. He was literally blown off his feet. It was as though he were touched by God. Thrown to the ground with a cacophony of sound exploding in his ears, he saw a new vision for his life - a vision of priesthood and teaching." The power of this sentence would have really drawn me into the story if it were the lead, instead of the middle.

Marilyn Schnepp 08/13/06
A great story of THE Great Renaissance Man himself - Martin Luther. Where would we be today without his boldness and his strong faith that led the way to freedom to choose your religion faith instead of being forced to accept theirs? Nicely done, and written very well.
Mitzi Busby08/21/06
This was well done. I enjoy your work. Blessings.