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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: The Longest Winter
By Ed VanDeMark


The longest winter

I woke with a pain in my low back. Nothing new, Iíve had low back pain since high school. Once or twice a year I head to my chiropractor. He snaps my neck and some how my back follows orders and jumps in line and I march off like a Navy drill team

On December 5th my back didnít follow military edicts. It went AWOL. An X-Ray, a doctor visit, An MRI, another doctor visit, and a referral to a specialist later I discovered I wouldnít be doing Christmas. In fact I wouldnít be doing New Yearís Day and there was a good chance I wouldnít be doing the Super Bowl. I would probably be up for chips and soda in time for the Daytona 500, but I would never be able to pretend I was 25 again.

In excruciating pain and laid out a half step from really being laid out, I felt like the coffin lid would close at any moment. A two plus month recover time felt like an eternity. I was trapped with nothing to do but pay attention to my wifeís recovery protocol and watch hour after hour of mindless TV. At first I chose the TV but soon discovered the networks talk a lot about this medicine or that medicine but Linda delivers.

When Linda went to bed and I silenced David Letterman, DIY and the travel channel, my mind worked over time. Satanís a loud mouth. He insisted on telling me I was down for the count, that I was so bad I didnít deserve to get well and Iíd be spending eternity in his company.

Iíve been a Christian for over 30 years but the pain, the pain medicine and Hellís farmer with the pitch fork make a lot of noise. Eventually I began to hear Godís still small voice. A blip here and another one there but in time I was able to discern his whisper in the midst of noisy my bed ridden prison term.

A number of things about faith have confused me, and Iíd almost given up understanding Godís mind on these matters this side Heaven. As I lay helplessly on Satanís noisy freeway, revelations from the Holy Spirit began to come.

Jesus was fully God and he was fully man for those 33 years he walked among us. Iíve accepted this as a fact but what it means escaped me. When the Bible says he resisted the devil, Iíd say ďof course he did, heís God, he has special powers.Ē When the Bible said he sweat blood the night before his crucifixion, Iíd say ďI can understand that Iíd be terrified too, itís a natural thing for us humanís to do.Ē Then I would add ďbut Jesus is God and he knew that he would walk out of Hell because God can do anything he wants to do.Ē I was missing the enormity of the cross and the dimension of his gift. The revelation is that while Jesus is fully God and fully man, he set aside his privilege as God and lived 33 sinless years solely as a human being. He faced Satan head on with the same tools I face that the legions of Hell, yet unlike me he never sinned, not even once. When he raised Lazarus he used the same tools I have at my disposal. When he walked on water and when he fed the 5,000 he was successful because he prayed and obeyed. I have these options too. When he could have summoned all of Heavens angels he kept silent because he was obedient to his father. Jesus lived his perfect life on earth never exercised his privilege as God. This is the gift of Jesus. He was tempted just as we are tempted. He died as will each of us, when he could have stayed in Heaven and not been born to this earth with a death sentence hanging over him. He could have abandoned his mission at any point, yet he didnít. He accomplished everything God sent him to do without ever stepping out of his human skin. He died as our scapegoat so that we wonít spend eternity in Satanís company. He wrestled Satan and embarrassed him so bad thatís why that old snake is red from head to toe. He did what Adam didnít do.

So shut up Satan. Jesus just gave me control of the remote.

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany03/06/08
I loved your comparisons in the first few paragraphs! Loved the humor and how you gave a great message at the end:) Good voice throughout. Only suggestion(there had to be ..:) break up the last paragraph somewhat for more readability and power in the words! GREAT STORY!
Debbie Wistrom03/06/08
What a tale. Loved this line "As I lay helplessly on Satanís noisy freeway, revelations from the Holy Spirit began to come. "
Keep up the good words.
Shirley McClay 03/07/08
HAHA! Love the AWOL comparison... and this line "So shut up Satan. Jesus just gave me control of the remote."
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/07/08
I was drawn in right away to your story because I've gone the bad back route--just had surgery this January 25th. I recognized the pitchfork and suffered with you. (After three and a half weeks of unbeleivable pain and the awful pain meds, I began to feel the positive effects of answered prayer.)

Then your last paragraph is such a wonderful comfort to all believers. I wondered if you're a preacher. If not, you're a believer grounded in the Word. Just that paragraph alone would make an excellent devotion.