Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)
TITLE: A Spirit of Love
By Jeffrey Snell
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Sam peered eastward and down over the edge into the ravine and could hear the pines rustling on the other side. No sign of Chris. His view still partially blocked by stones jutting out from the wall, he decided to find a way down. <I>Only way to be sure.</I>
Gripping God's authority and grace, Sam moved around the edge to the south. The terrain ahead was shaded by another cluster of ponderosas and grasses swayed in the breeze. He dropped into a small valley.
"Chris? Can you hear me?" he yelled. Not waiting for an answer, he made his way through the grass and noticed the incline here was less steep. He could hear bees buzzing somewhere down beyond his view. There appeared to be an overgrown path ahead that wound and trickled down to the right with streaks of shade across it. Quickly but carefully, he followed it, threading his way through stubby brush and rocks.
Halfway to the bottom, he stepped on a potato-sized stone and lost his footing, landing hard on his side and slipping six feet down the slope. Dust scratched his nostrils and eyes. While attempting to rise, his right ankle shot pain up his leg, and he fell back. As he massaged it the pain intensified, like flame was burning inside his ankle. <I>Sprained. Perfect.</I> He called out for Chris again. Abruptly and absurdly, it occurred to him that Chris may never have fallen here in the first place. He could be anywhere. This whole thing was getting ludicrous!
<I>What am I doing? Now </I>I'm<I> injured!</I> Craning his neck around it was clear he would not be visible from the top of the path, should anyone be looking.
"God, I don't get it. What am I supposed to do? You told me to do this; please just show me something." After several minutes of silence, Sam found his earlier confirmation from God cracking loose and beginning to crumble. He could feel frustration and irritation boiling over. "I <I>knew</I> this was a bad idea! I <I>knew</I> we shouldn't come out here! But Chris just talked me into it, of course, and now he's probably dead, and I'm laying here with a sprained ankle miles from anything remotely helpful getting ready to join him!"
The crows flitted above his head, and He sagged. "I know... you said you'd provide, not to fear. Then why is this happening?" He grabbed a stone and threw into the ravine. Then he sensed the Holy Spirit smoothing over his thoughts and, strangely, heard his own words echo in his mind. He cringed at how petulant they sounded, but the Spirit's voice was louder.
<I>My son, trust me.</I>
Like blinds rolling up in slow motion, the vision of his heart cleared, and the truth pushed aside fear's attempted resurgence. <I>Who am I trusting?</I> He belonged to God, not himself. Death was unavoidable by <I>anyone</I>; merely a transition to even more intimacy with Jesus, and so not to be feared and certainly not to be the boundary of his love for others!
Understanding washed over his mind, and Sam felt himself nodding gently as the Holy Spirit injected life into his confused thoughts and spoke John 15:13 from within his heart: "Greater love has no one than this, than he lay down his life for his friends."
Wiping dust from his eyes, Sam sat up and looked for something to help him stand. A stout branch rested a foot away in the dirt. He grasped it with a silent "thank you" and stood gradually, leaning on its thickest end. The path bade him downward. Taking a deep breath and glancing toward Heaven, Sam set his jaw and once more edged his way toward the bottom of the ravine.
Copyright (c) 2007
Scripture Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
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