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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: There is Always a Purpose
By CJ Raney


The distinct buzzing sound interrupted Shane’s sleep. Gunner shifted his weight where he slept at the foot of the bed and started to whimper. “I know boy, we just laid down.” Shane reached for his clock. When his eyes focused on the red numbers that shown 3:00 a.m., he realized that wasn’t the source of the noise. Panic shot through Shane when the smell of smoke drifted into the bedroom. He jumped out of bed and ran to the door. The handle was hot and smoke was now bellowing under the door.

“Come on Gunner, we have to get out of here!”

Shane opened the bedroom window and shoved the screen out. He stretched as far as he could, dropped Gunner to the ground, and climbed out after him. At the edge of the woods hunched over, Shane coughed and grasped for fresh air. He looked over his shoulder only to see a bright orange glow coming from the window he just escaped from. Shane stood frozen in fear and disbelief as all of his possessions were being swallowed up in the flames.

A nudge on his bare leg from Gunner’s cold nose brought him back to reality. He had to do something. With no close neighbors, no one would be calling for help, and his phone was inside the burning house. Shane started searching for a remedy to his problem. He grabbed the hose attached to his well and began to spray everything down around the house. It seemed to be an impossible task, but he had to keep the flames from spreading. Gunner was right there helping to pull the hose around behind him.

It seemed only minutes until the old wood-frame house was just a pile of rubble. The embers crackled and popped. Shane and his faithful companion walked to the truck knowing there was nothing else he could do. It seemed so unreal. The shock still hadn’t worn off as he pulled into his parent’s driveway down the road.

It was 4:00 am as he rang the doorbell to wake them. His parents opened the door to see their son covered in soot and tears flowing down his cheeks.


“I lost everything. Mom, my house is gone.”

“Oh, Shane.” She pulled him inside and embraced him tightly. “Thank God you made it out alive.”

As daylight broke, Shane, his parents and Gunner stood staring at the devastation of all his earthly belongings and thanked God that He saw fit to spare Shane and Gunner’s lives.

Shane stared through the thick haze and everything became clear. God had rescued him for a purpose. It would take time to rebuild his earthly belongings, but Shane chose to focus his energy on sharing his testimony with everyone. He wanted them to realize that God wants us to lay our treasures in heaven for Him and sometimes He chooses to take them when they became first in our lives.

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This article has been read 342 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart07/21/11
Great beginning holding the readers interest throughout and concluding with a powerful message. I enjoyed this very much!
Joan Campbell07/22/11
Lovely strong message, very well concluded in the last paragraph.
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/11
Very strong message, but I would have liked to see a little further development of the purpose, as you don't appear to have got too close to the limit. One small typo refers to smoke bellowing (should be "billowing") under the door; however the roar of a house fire could legitimise such a typo.
Linda Goergen07/26/11
This short little story would make a great tract, with its important message, because this is certainly the wake-up call no one would want and if Shane’s testimony could spare even one to not make things the focus of their life, how wonderful!

I do agree with Noel that a bit more space could have been given to letting us see how Shane made things his focus before the fire.
Kim Hamlin07/27/11
Powerful and interesting take, nicely done!