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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)

TITLE: Eternal War
By Carole Robishaw
07/14/11


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Oh, Lord, it's over, finally. Everyday we see more and more men dragging themselves down the dusty roads, heading home. It hurts so, watching them. They are hungry and tired. Some of them wounded so badly they can barely walk. And I can't really help them. I can't help them! Those damn Yankees destroyed everything, they tore up the gardens, and cut down our fruit trees. They tore down our outbuildings and used them for firewood.

I have nothing left to give. Nothing. The war lasted too long, killed or damaged way too many of our men and boys. How are we supposed to rebuild? How can we even survive? The children are the worst, listening to them cry themselves to sleep at night because they are hungry. What am I supposed to do? Is my Ben still alive? Is he walking these roads trying to get home?

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It's been months, now, Lord. Where is my Ben? The weather is turning cold, men are still slowly making their way past. I've dug up every edible root and plant I can find in the fields and woods. I can see Little Ben's bones, he's a walking skeleton, worse even than some of those I see going past.

They keep stopping, asking for handouts, I show them my three hungry children. I share the well with them, I offer a place for them to rest. I wash and bandage their wounds. But I can't feed them.

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Lord, if Ben is still alive, please let the people on his path do at least as much for him as I try to do for those walking past here. Please let him feel your peace after all he's been through. And Lord, please help me find something to eat today. The neighbors boiled their shoes last week. It wasn't enough. We buried them, as you well know. Please Lord, grant us your peace, and help us to survive, or to die quickly. I've already given you back two of my babies. How much more do you want? How much more time can I spend on my knees? Please, Lord, hear me, and help me.

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Lord, tomorrow is Christmas, there is snow coming in through the roof. My precious little Ben hasn't made a sound in hours. I can barely get water down his throat. How much longer do we have to battle the hunger and now the cold. He's the only one I have left. I can't even feel him in my arms any more. He weighs so little a breeze would blow him away. Lord, HEAR ME, please, please, please….

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Rebecca, oh my precious Becky, I'm too late. I tried, but I couldn't travel any faster. I had to keep stopping to aid all those helpless families. Do I have to pay for my helping them with the loss of my own family? Oh, Becky, my love. Becky, please, wake up, please.

Oh, Lord, why couldn't you have given us just another day? Why did you have to take them home? I tried to get here, Lord, you know I did.

Lord, please grant me peace, please help me not to be angry at what was done to us, please, Lord, I can't go on without her. The thought of coming home to my Becky and my three beautiful children was all that kept me going. What do I do now Lord? What do I do? Oh Lord, Lord, why? WHY? Why? Why have you forsaken me?

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Lord, I don't understand, I can't comprehend how it is possible, but I feel your peace. I know you are with me. My family is gone, my home stands in ruins, my land lies fallow, but I will always have you. Thank you, Lord. May I always be your willing servant, no matter the cost. Your Grace is truly amazing.


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This article has been read 308 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/14/11
Wow this was a tearjerker, ~ I think part of the reason that it hit me so hard is it could very well be a real experience that took place over 100 years ago or even happening in several places in the world today.
The ending was a little abrupt but if you had more words I believe you have the talent to really pack a punch at the end.

Your characters were so real and the dialog believable. The despair of both MCs was palpable. I do like that Ben was able to find some hope and peace. I pray that every soldier and their families find that peace.
Linda Goergen07/16/11
You have shown peace that passes all understanding given in such a sad and shameful and bitter time in history, but it only shows that peace can come to any of us in any situation, if we only embrace that God given peace, instead of bitterness. This story was both heartbreaking and joyful in its realism. Good job.
Mariane Holbrook07/19/11
Wow! That was gripping! My folks used to tell me about the poverty and severity of the Great Depression so I had a feel for this writing. There was so much despair during the war so long ago that you wonder why many more didn't die. The scars were deep, as your article shows so brilliantly.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/19/11
Your sad story really makes me stop to think of the sacrifices that are made by soldiers and their families. You painted a dismal picture, but I am glad you showed the peace that God grants.
Glynis Becker 07/19/11
So sad. The last paragraph is a necessary ending because God always does give peace...even if it isn't always the kind we want. Well done.
Carol Penhorwood 07/19/11
Carole, your story truly shows that our freedoms were bought with such pain and sacrifice.
Catrina Bradley 07/19/11
Heartwrenching. The first few paragraphs remind me of reading Gone With the Wind. The change in MC's was confusing for me - I had to go back and see what I missed - who was Becky? I thought Ben was the last surviving child. On the second read it became more clear. Great entry with tons of emotion clearly coming through in your writing. The ending was awesome.
Noel Mitaxa 07/19/11
Deeply heart-wrenching treatment of a topic we (thankfully) know little about. Like a couple of others, I also missed the bridge to the husband's homecoming and did not realise that it was his voice coming through. Apart from that small signposting mishap, it is a very thought-provoking read.
Laury Hubrich 07/19/11
Oh man, so sad. Very, very sad...