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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Concrete and Sponges
By Joy Bach


I watched the young man’s face as we talked. I sensed his emotions had been covered with concrete. He obviously felt the need to remain in control at all times.

I listened as Jason’s story unfolded. The challenges he had been through. The current trials he was enduring. And through it all, he had analyzed and re-analyzed the issues and arrived at decisions that were best for all involved. Others had not always agreed.

His world was not right and he was going to fix it.

Having talked with many other people in similar circumstances, I knew Jason was not unusual. Humans (may I say especially men) have a tendency to need to be in control of every situation. Any show of emotion would cause a leak in their dike and they might not be able to stop the flow. So they just never let their emotions emerge. They cover them with concrete.

I used to be “emotion-less”. My feelings were stuffed so far down that I moved through life like a robot. I discovered the physical damage that can do. Stuffing emotions causes all sorts of physical symptoms. Back pain is a common one. I had suffered from colon problems.

Our bodies weren’t made to operate with emotions stuffed inside.

As I continued listening to Jason, occasionally I would ask questions. When I asked, “How is that working for you?” he had to admit it wasn’t working too well. But he would be strong and conquer.

Later I asked, “Aren’t you getting tired of carrying all that baggage around?” I’ve asked that of others and they always say “yes”. But if they lay it down, they have given up control. Too scary! Jason felt the same.

As the days passed, through a mutual friend, I kept in touch with how Jason was doing. The Bible says a “little child shall lead them”. Jason’s son, William, began going to Sunday School. He got excited about Jesus, and asked Him into his heart. And then William wanted to be baptized.

Jason hadn’t been to church for years. He had grown up with legalism and hypocrites. Even though he wanted to be there for his son, he just wasn’t sure he could take that walk through the church doors.

William begged.

And so Jason gathered up all the strength he had, got a good grip on his emotions, and entered the church. It was nothing like his childhood church. People were smiling and friendly. The pastor was just a “down to earth” normal human being who spoke in every day language…language Jason could actually understand.

Then came the moment of baptism. The grin on William’s face lit up the room. He had Jesus in his heart and he wanted everyone to know it. A tiny tear leaked out of Jason’s eye.

That’s all it took. The dike broke and the tears flowed. God had spoken to Jason’s heart. The concrete began to chip away.

I spoke with Jason a few days ago, and I saw a completely different young man. He has laid down his baggage. His heart is hungry. He wants all his answers today. He is like a sponge, soaking up the goodness of God.

He has plans to be baptized.

The concrete is gone.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon04/30/09
Loved the description of men's emotions: a leak in their dyke.
So true. Great story- I think I know a couple of Jasons. Glad he was able to lay it all down. Great job!
Connie Dixon04/30/09
Oooops, I'm sure I meant dike. ha
Margaret Gass04/30/09
Really hard to refuse an enthusiastic child, especially when that enthusiasm not only leaks but bubbles out of the child! I know many parents who've come to the church because of their kids (or grandkids!) May we all be sponges!
Glenda Lagerstedt05/03/09
Ah, the tender, trusting and open faith of a child. Great story of a child leading an adult to a Higher place. Good work!
Lollie Hofer05/06/09
Concrete and Sponges - Even the title fit this week's theme. Yeah for little boys who love Jesus! I've seen this happen time and time again. God works miracles on the faith of little children. I enjoyed reading your story.