Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: A Woman's Instinct is (Almost) Never Wrong
By Sally Hanan
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The church ground had been broken. Pastor Jeff handed the newly sodded shovel to the assistant pastor at his right and knelt at the edge of the wet soil.
“Lord, thank-you for this land, for this home for your love to flow. We dedicate this first cut to you, and may we all be willing to break ground every day with you.” The assenting crowd then began to talk freely among each other until each member set his heart for home and moved accordingly.
Beth-Ann stirred her tea later that day and poured in the honey. Her mind was a pot of thoughts, all competing for exactly the right words to present to Pastor Jeff, her husband.
“It’s not the land, it’s not the cost of the new building; it’s about this feeling I can’t push away any longer,” she said, for the umpteenth time.
Jeff wiped away the cheese sauce at the edge of his lip. “I know you keep saying it, but you’re driving me crazy. Where are your facts to back this “feeling” up? Where is the exact reason as to why we should not move forward? It’s too late to change our minds. We’ve paid church members’ money to do all of the soil tests; we’ve had the architects draw up plans, and that wasn’t cheap either; we’ve driven around the neighborhood … those families need God! I’m sorry Beth-Ann, but nothing you say can convince me that we’re not doing the right thing.
“It’s more than a feeling. I’ve been hesitant to say this before, but after a lot of prayer, I can’t help but know that this is God trying to tell us to stop. It’s not about the money Jeff; it’s about whether or not we are going to obey that still small voice. Can we at least hold off on moving forward until you get a definite word from him too?”
“You think I haven’t prayed about this a million times? You think that as a board we haven’t prayed about each step we’ve taken? Beth dear, I can’t walk into the church tomorrow and tell everyone to quit giving to the building campaign because my wife has a gut feeling that God is talking!” Beth turned away, silently asking God to forgive her.
The church members stood in their new building after church three years later. The mortgage was in arrears. The new members had not come as expected, expectations based on the prediction charts that had been rolled out so easily in the conference room. The mortgage had been taken out in Jeff’s name, and he was liable for full payment. Outside, a “for sale” sign shook in the gust of wind that raced past the front door. They all walked out in unison, the ones who had been members the longest wiping away tear tracks. They would be meeting in homes for a while, until the building was sold, at which point they would have enough money for a rental deposit on something small.
Jeff put his arm out to his wife’s shoulder as they drove away. “Beth? I know God said that Lot’s wife couldn’t look back, but I have to. I constantly remember you trying to tell me one last time that this was all a mistake, and I wouldn’t listen. I appreciate how you never said another word about it, and you haven’t once said the words, “I told you so.” I want you to know that I have an even deeper love and respect for you for seeing this through and not giving up on me in spite of my stubbornness. Your name, house of grace, stands out in stark contrast to mine, God’s peace. I don’t think I’ve ever really had God’s peace the way you have, but I want you to know that your quiet and gentle support is helping me to get there.” He eyes swiveled back to the road, which was a pity as he totally missed Beth-Ann’s tiny chug of her arm in victory.
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