Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: Prison Break!
By Corinne Boback
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“Concentrate!” I told myself angrily. How could I ever think I was going to understand this book? My inability to concentrate would not allow my mind to grasp the meaning of what I was reading. I simply had no motivation to read. I promised the friend who handed it to me that I would read it. How could that happen, when I could not concentrate long enough to do so?
Frustrated with myself for ever having promised to read this book, I tossed it aside. Perhaps if I went for a walk, it would relax me and I would feel more like reading. The crisp night air would certainly wake up my senses. As I walked, I remembered the day not so long ago when my friend told me again how concerned she was for me. She had been with me through my sister’s premature death, an unexpected divorce, a career change, and the death of a teenage nephew within the past three years. She said with each traumatic event, she watched me sink deeper into emotional despair. She tried to help me by always being there, by listening to my endless bitter chatter, and through many times of prayer. She encouraged me to seek professional help. She invited me to church. Nothing helped. Then one day she handed me a book. Looking into her hopeful eyes, I hugged her, took the book from her hands, and promised to read it.
How could a book change things? Reading a book would not bring my sister back. It would not restore my marriage. It would not help me settle into a new career. And it certainly would not bring my precious nephew back to life. I was angry as I finished my walk; angry with life, with my circumstances, and with a friend who thought a mere book would help me.
Settling down in front of a crackling fire with a cup of tea, I picked the book up. Tears began streaming down my face as I felt overwhelmed again with deep depression. I knew it was there, but there was no escape from it. It was like a dark prison cell, with iron bars that could not be shaken. This place of mental torment kept me in bondage day and night.
The book fell open in my lap. Looking down, my tired eyes focused on one sentence. I read it, and read it several more times. It said, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
I closed my eyes, and envisioned myself standing behind those prison bars. In this vision a heavy waterfall began to wash the iron bars away. They melted, one by one, until I stood in open space, a free woman. Looking up to see where the water was coming from, I saw a man weeping over me, and his tears made the waterfall that washed those prison bars away.
Was this man weeping over me the “Son” this book was talking about? Surely it was the Son of God, breaking me out of a prison I could not escape from on my own.
I began to giggle, then to laugh out loud. The room was brighter than I remembered, the tea tasted better, the fire warmer. Nothing looked or felt the same, because I was not the same! I wanted to read more of this amazing story. If one sentence could change my life, in an instant, what would the entire book do for me?
I began reading, and this time, I did not have to tell myself to concentrate. My level of concentration made me keenly aware of the words I was reading. There was no effort to concentrate. I realized that it was my spirit, drawn by the Spirit of the Living God, making the book alive to me. That same Spirit had led me to one sentence, one that freed me from my prison of depression.
I thank God every day for a friend who loved me enough to give me the only book that would change my life for all eternity. This friend tried all she knew to do. When nothing helped, she trusted the power of the written Word and the Holy Spirit’s wooing to truly set me free!
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