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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)

TITLE: Beach Unburdening
By Brenda Kern


At an ocean beach on a summer day in the late '80's...

A quasi-separation has occurred, and the essence of the man stares down, unseen, at his own near-lifeless body. He knew what was happening and struggled against it; he was not ready to leave this earth just yet--not now!

Then the space around him filled with a Presence, and he recognized that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters, just nearby, as He had in the beginning.

My servant, my son: do you see and understand?

"I see that I'm dying: my color changed to ash, and even now is deepening into blue. Why Lord? Why now? Only an hour ago I accepted..."

I know, I am omnipresent. I have another plan for that congregation.

"And my wife--after what we've just suffered, and the situation I'd be leaving her in..."

His conversation with the Divine was briefly interrupted by a stray heartbeat--no more than a flutter, really.

"...what about her, Lord?"

I have a plan for her. In fact, I have a surprise in mind, for several years down the road...

"A man?"

A plan. Trust Me.

"And my daughters, my son. My folks, my brother and sister, and..."

A plan, a design, a purpose, an intent, do you see? They're Mine, after all, not yours. See them in My hand?

"But they'll miss me."


"They need me."

They need ME.

"Lord, I'm still young, and I'm laboring for Your kingdom. You need as many workers as You can get!"

I know. I know your burden. My harvest will continue without you. Billy Graham has many good years left...

--a flicker of a smile--

...and persecution is coming for My church in the far-flung places. Their roots will dig deep, and their faith will become strong. They also carry the kingdom burden, as you have.

People will be sharing My gospel right up until the end, until the very "twinkling-of-an-eye" instant. The work carries on without you; it does in this moment, and will continue tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Lay it down, now, son. Your time of bearing My cross is done, and I am pleased. Stop your fight. Today you will be with Me in paradise.

"I am tired, and the battle seems to be too much for me this time. I cannot win?"

Let go.

"And her? You'll walk with her through her grief?"

Look and see--we have begun that journey together, even now. Her time of mourning will truly be deep, but I am deeper. It will be strong, but I am stronger. It will engulf, but My presence will overwhelm. She is Mine. Trust Me.

An elasticized moment passed, time turned inside itself. The sandy body still did not respond; the frantic ministrations continued, first by lifeguards, then by paramedics.

More questions?

A crooked smile, the beginning of life's final release. "Pretzels? Heaven has pretzels?"

With a shared laugh and the merging of his soul into God's spirit, the man stopped his war against the inevitable, against mortality itself, and slipped away, saying/singing, "Lead on, O King Eternal." The last fraying thread connecting the preacher to his earthly life was a hope that even his death would reach some lost soul for the Lord.

And there on the beach lay his burden, unseen and unknown, waiting to be picked up and carried by a newly called worker.

(Matthew 9:37-38, NIV) Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

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This article has been read 1021 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Germain 07/11/05
Wow! Very creative.
Debbie OConnor07/11/05
Wow! I love this. Powerful writing, wonderful message. Thank you.
dub W07/11/05
Very creative, I could see this done as a playette during a contemporary service.
Thank you for posting.
Shari Armstrong 07/11/05
Very well written -I liked the converstaion style.
Cheri Hardaway 07/11/05
Powerful and moving! I especially like how you have depicted God caring for His servant and the cares of His servant! Thanks for writing.
Suzanne R07/12/05
Whew.......! I wonder if you had somebody specific in mind when you wrote this, given that it was dated in the 80s. Well done!!!
Kyle Chezum07/13/05
Excellent! The conversation seemed so real. What a clever idea. Good job!
Val Clark07/14/05
Hard at any time to place loved ones in God's hands. You make this man's journey of acceptance believable and leave us with hope for his grieving family. A story of a universal experience well told.
Nina Phillips07/14/05
Very well written. Letting go, and the fact that nothing was mentioned about the minister experiencing pain in his body. Very creative, I agree. littlelight
Pat Guy 07/14/05
You made this work very well. Good writing. Good job - excellent!
Beth Muehlhausen07/15/05
A very compelling dialogue. About 2/3 of the way through, I found myself wondering, "Where's the beach?" And then it showed up, so obviously! I loved this line: "An elasticized moment passed, time turned inside itself." Very creative and effective.
Lynda Lee Schab 07/15/05
Very powerful piece. Wonderful, "real" conversation with God. Excellent writing.
Blessings, Lynda
Maxx .07/15/05
This sort of thing can be tricky but you pulled it off well. Congrats on an excellent piece!
Deborah Porter 07/18/05
Brenda, as always, great work - and I just wanted to pop in and let you know that you made it into the semi-finals for the Beach Challenge. Only 21 entries got that far, and you did very well. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)