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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Billboard/Poster/Sign (any or all) (12/02/10)

TITLE: Faith Comes By Seeing
By Amanda Brogan


Justin gripped the steering wheel so hard that his knuckles turned white. The scenery outside the vehicle flashed by his windows and he forced his foot to let up on the accelerator. Hurried trees and farmhouses now slowed to a more normal speed. But the pounding of his heart raced harder and faster than his car had a few seconds ago on the country highway.

The conversation from earlier that morning seemed to play out on the windshield before his eyes, taking him back to the moment when he told her ...

She had tried to hug him, to tell him everything would be all right, but he’d pulled away.

“No, Melanie! This is a problem that I have to fix. And don’t give me that ‘God will provide’ stuff, because I’m the one who’s supposed to be providing. I’m supposed to provide for you, and right now I’m failing.”

Pain flashed in her eyes, and he couldn’t tell if it was from his coldness toward her or toward her God. “If you’ll trust Him, Justin, you won’t have to take all this worry upon yourself. Trust Him that your job will open up again or that He’ll help you find a new one.”

Justin had rubbed his hand over his unshaven face, “I can’t trust that He even exists. God’s never shown Himself to me, and I don’t expect Him to start now.”

Now as he drove down the single lane blacktop, trying to outrun his frustration and problems, his words to her echoed in his head. I don’t expect Him to start now.

A long, hard sigh escaped his lips and he stared at the road ahead, the summer sun blazing off its surface.

“Alright, why don’t You give me a sign?” The audible challenge seemed to be the next step, the ultimate cliché. Justin had heard a story before of Jesus telling some religious guys that it was wicked to ask for a sign. How had Melanie explained it? Something about faith being more important than signs of God’s power?

But he needed more than faith.

“If You’re there, why don’t You reveal Yourself in some way?”

A billboard came into view up ahead. Life giving you trouble? God hears.
The background held a close-up picture of a girl with hands folded before her tear-stained face. Across the bottom of the board was the name of a Christian website.

Justin kept his eyes on the road.

“If You really want me to believe in You, why don’t You give me some proof? Show me You’re there.”

He waited for a lightning bolt to streak across the clear, blue sky. Instead, another billboard emerged as he rounded a bend in the road.

The picture was the silhouette of a man with his arms outstretched above his head, a fiery sunset bursting around him. Words covered the sign to the right of the silhouette, “They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” A reference below read “Psalm 65:8.”

Justin wondered why there were so many religious billboards on this stretch of highway.

“I mean, come on! If You exist like my wife believes You do, write me a message in the sky or something.”

The car whistled as it rushed over a bridge. As it thumped back onto the road on the other side, Justin caught sight of a stunt pilot twisting through clouds of smoke. He watched as the stunt plane formed huge, billowy letters with its smoke:
J ... O ... H ... N ... 3 ... 16.

Strange message for a stunt pilot to be writing.

Justin lifted a hand off the wheel and flopped it back again, “Okay, God. I can’t say I didn’t give You a shot. I’m not seeing Your face or hearing Your voice. Guess I’m stuck figuring out my own problems.”

Jabbing the radio on, Justin scowled as the resolute voice of a preacher resonated through the car speakers. Melanie must have changed the station from rock to Christian.

“For the heart of this people has become dull,” the preacher quoted, “Otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.”

Justin changed the station, and as he did, a billboard advertisement for reading glasses came into view.

It read simply, Are You Ready To See?

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This article has been read 483 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca12/11/10
I really love this one. What a great message about paying attention to the signs God gives us instead of always looking for more! It definitely convicts me to be more thankful.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/13/10
God was certainly throwing many bricks at Justin! I get like that sometime when I just don't want to see or listen but God keeps dropping those padded bricks in my direction until I finally yield to his way. Nice story with a gentle sense of humor. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Noel Mitaxa 12/14/10
I enjoy how you have built the story to a clear conclusion without labouring the point too hard. Great closing sign too.
Caitlyn Meissner12/14/10
Now THIS was lots of fun to read. I loved how you kept adding in the signs in a way that made me laugh. I also liked how you kept the ending open. There's still hope for your MC, and for us. Good job!
Lollie Hofer12/15/10
This was fun to read and I found myself laughing out loud. Please don't take this wrong...this story was corny but in a very good way. I loved the progression of the signs. The ending was perfect. I hope this sat well with the judges...if not, it sure is a winner in my book.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/10
Congratulations Amanda. I really enjoyed your story. well done!
Patricia Protzman12/16/10

Amanda, Congratulations on third place.
Caitlyn Meissner12/17/10
Wow! I'm so happy for you. :) You're doing such a great job with your writing. Congratulations on getting 3rd place and 11th overall!