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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: Step In
By Judy Burford



Just one more river to cross and I’d be home. It seemed as if I’d been on this journey forever, but in reality, it hadn’t been long at all.

My paint horse, Dandy, topped a rise, and there it was – the river, with home just on the other side. But what a river it was! No one had told me it looked like this, so wide and swift. Could I ever find a way to cross?

Gazing across the mighty river, I could see the home place Dad had described. I’d been away while he and my older brother were building it.

Lush grass and wildflowers covered the gently rolling hills where cattle, sheep, and horses grazed. The main house was beautiful, its stone walls reflecting the light from the setting sun. Fruit trees, boughs bent low, surrounded the main house, while smaller houses, each a different color, spread in all directions. What an amazing place! Dad and my brother had done a fantastic job.

Now I couldn’t wait to get there. I must have communicated my excitement to Dandy, because he began to prance as we descended the hill to reach the river. Dandy hadn’t shown this much enthusiasm for a long time. The journey for him, as well as for me, had been hard, and fraught with unexpected obstacles – like this river.

I scanned the river’s edge, looking for a crossing, but I saw none. The river banks on the far side were inviting, carpeted with the same grass and flowers as the hills behind them. On my side, however, the banks were uneven and rocky. I began to despair that I would ever cross.

As I neared the river’s edge, I glanced across again. Was that Dad? Of course it was. No one else looked like my dad. He was smiling, and waving, and beckoning me across. But how? How was I to do it?

Then I heard his voice, coming faintly over the thunderous roar of the great river. I strained to hear what he was saying, then shook my head in disbelief. He couldn’t be saying what I thought I heard.

Dad’s voice grew louder, and the words came clearly now. “Step in. It’s alright. You can make it.”

Surely, he wasn’t serious? I couldn’t just step into that raging river. Dandy wasn’t crazy about water, and he would balk for sure if I tried that foolhardy stunt.

There was Dad’s voice again, “Step in. You’ll make it just fine.”

All my life I’d tried to follow the advice Dad sent my way. Admittedly, though, when the advice seemed hard to take, like now, I hadn’t always followed it to the letter. And, usually, when I didn’t follow it, I got in trouble.

Well, Dad’s watching. I can at least try a step or two. Maybe Dandy and I won’t be swept away, and Dad will see that this is impossible.

I kicked my feet loose from the stirrups so as not to be caught beneath the horse if he floundered. Urging Dandy forward with my knees, we stumbled our way down the rocky slope to the water’s edge.

“Just step in,” came the call again.

We stepped, and when Dandy’s hooves hit the water, a most amazing thing happened. The water ceased its rushing, and a path appeared before us. We rode over on dry ground.

I leapt from the saddle straight into Dad’s arms.

“So glad you’re here,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

I looked over Dad’s shoulder and saw my brother, surrounded by all those who had stepped in and crossed over the river before me, welcoming me to my eternal home.

Isaiah 43:2 NIV “When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie09/07/06
Nice twist at the end, and great use of the scripturs you chose!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/09/06
I thought I was all cried out, as I had just finished reading two emotional entries back to back - but here I am crying again! This is just beautiful! I can't think of words to express the beauty I see and read in this story..."Step In". Fantastic read, fantastic writing...I loved it. Great job, God Bless.
Donna Haug09/10/06
Yes, this was beautiful. I had an inkling heaven was the home you were talking about. Not sure what gave it away. Beautiful view of death - how we dread it, and yet such glory beyond.