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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Special Delivery
By Beth Muehlhausen


Special Delivery

He approached the house and punched the doorbell, then hit the button again. Finally, he knocked politely on the heavy oak door. “Anyone home?” His voice was deep and powerful enough to shake the neighbors’ boots.

His delivery amounted to nine large suitcases.

“Anybody there?”

He left the luggage stacked on the porch, headed down the walk, and drove away.

That evening Erin arrived home first, feeling overwhelmed by runaway emotions. Her mood reflected her disappointments: marriage, work, lack of self-control. Sadly, another stressor had surfaced at work that very week. A colleague, Janet, kept trying to tell her about things going on at her church. “Crazy woman,” Erin said as she fumbled in her purse to find her house key. “Janet’s so sure Jesus is the answer to everything. What does He know about emotionally abusive husbands, financial debt, and eating disorders?” Hot tears stung her eyes.

She raced through the front door and slammed it behind her. There was time – time to hide in the dark closet with her stash of gourmet chocolate-covered cookies. The magnetism of momentary comfort pulled her upstairs, straight to the shoebox full of junk food. She could eat the whole bag of cookies if she hurried, then would intentionally vomit and look perfectly normal at dinnertime.

Ray was on his way home, absorbed by thoughts of his new product line at work that was just about to launch. Sure, it would take lots of work to get the product moving in the marketplace, but he was up for the challenge. This was what he lived for, wasn’t it - success, accomplishment, and recognition?

Then his thoughts shifted to that guy down the hall in his office, and the confrontation that had occurred only moments before.

“Hey Ray,” Roger said with one foot crossed as he leaned against the outside of Ray’s cubical. “Ya know, I’m amazed by the topic of that small group I’ve been tellin’ you about…stuff about what it means to be a man… ‘wild at heart’ is what they call it…I think you’d really like it…you’re welcome to visit this Wednesday.”

Roger fumed inwardly. Didn’t this bozo know his limits? Whenever Roger went off on a limb to talk about his Christian experiences, Ray told himself to tolerate him, but not patronize. He didn’t want Roger to get the wrong idea.

“Thanks, buddy, but ya know, I’m already busy.” It was true. He had a standing evening date with cable TV from 7:00 – 10:00. Erin hated his addiction to TV, but wasn’t a man entitled to a little private recreation?

Road rage defined the rest of his drive home. “Why does Roger always think he has to ‘fix’ me?” Doesn’t he know I’m fine; God made me just the way I am? Why is he always harping about ‘growth’? Why should I even want to change? What’s his deal, anyway?”

Ray roared into the driveway, screeched to a stop behind Erin’s car, and stormed into the house. Erin seemed busily occupied with dinner preparations; he sunk behind the newspaper.

Months later on Easter Sunday morning they attended church with a few of Erin’s extended family members. Circumstances were just right. It was time for seeds of witness to spring to life. The Lord reached down and carefully removed a substantial measure of stony, crippling lies from their hearts, and then softened and prepared them both to hear and receive the Truth.

“I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly,” the pastor said. Life. Security. Forever. Something stirred in Erin…then in Ray…and hope leapt within them. Could it be…was this feeling…authentic? Was belief in Jesus more about trusting Him than mere acknowledgment? Was there a way to live above wishing and worrying?

After the service, Ray and Erin hurriedly retreated to their car in the parking lot. Erin immediately burst into tears. “I just didn’t ‘get it’ before…” Ray’s pulse pounded in his temples. “Is it too late? Can we…is it possible to actually know Him…?”

As they arrived home from church and pulled in the driveway, they both noticed something strange. “Erin, look, there’s a pile of luggage sitting on our porch!” They stopped the car, and Ray hurried up the walk to inspect the tags labeling the bags. Each suitcase contained a specific “fruit of the Spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They carried the bags inside, aware that a new Occupant had arrived to stay.

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This article has been read 1282 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tesiri Moweta08/22/05
Beautiful special delivery.Thanks for sharing.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/24/05
Creative entry. I felt a little like you tacked on the topic at the end but the message was good - we do all get a salvation package when we become born again. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a while for us to unpack it all and put it to good use. :-)
Blessings, Lynda
Phyllis Inniss08/25/05
I wondered at first why neither of the couple noticed the luggage. Then I got it. Quite interesting.
Debra Brand08/25/05
I got confused when the dialogue ignored the cases on the porch but it tied in at the end. Very creative and good message.
Jan Ackerson 08/25/05
I too, was a bit confused by the luggage--was it a flashback? But with some tightening up, this will be a great piece. We could all use a suitcase full of Fruit!
Tammy Johnson08/25/05
Wonderful! I loved the suitcases and the new occupant. So creative and full of hope, too! Thank you so much!
Crista Darr08/25/05
My favorite line: "Was belief in Jesus more about trusting Him than mere acknowledgment?" I love the New Occupant message.
Debbie OConnor08/25/05
Wow! There is a LOT of great stuff in here. Your caricature of the couple and those trying to reach them was very believable. I felt the luggage was a little confusing too, but overall this is well worth reading. Wonderful message!
Suzanne R08/26/05
You never think about God bringing luggage when His spirit indwells us ... you always think about Him cleaning out the rubbish. But you're right ... He does give us the gifts of the Spirit etc etc - an interesting take on the theme - well done.
Maxx .08/27/05
Very nice! A contender! Strong storyline and good balance. Since I like it I will say this one little critique: Watch the adverbs. Choose a stronger verb. That will make the read so much stronger! Let's see if you place with this piece!
darlene hight08/28/05
Great! Very creative. I loved it!