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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: Solitary Confinement
By Debbie Roome
02/02/12


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Solitary confinement. 90 days of isolation. Food pushed through a hatch, snatches of laughter down the corridor.

“God!” The cry is guttural, wrenched from my soul. “I’m here because I serve you. Help me!”

The loneliness is intense. I yearn for the touch of a human hand, a conversation with friends, the bustle of a city street. I even miss the menial tasks my job as a pastor involved: cleaning the church toilets, scrubbing the kitchen, washing the communion cloths, shovelling fragrant soil in the garden. It’s almost a physical ache, this longing for something to do.

In the silence, God drops a thought into my mind. “I have work for you, William.”

For the first time in days, a tremble of hope flutters. “What must I do, Lord?”

“Pray as I give you inspiration.”

That’s not what I expected!

“Inspiration? In here?”

“Let me open your eyes?”

“There’s nothing to see, Lord.” I gaze around my cell although I’m intimately acquainted with each inch of space. Rough concrete blocks, cracked floor, stained toilet, my faded blue cup.

“Start with the walls, William.”

I stand and pace. “They’re grey and hard, God. Like stone, unyielding. Designed to keep me from human contact.”

“Look again.”

A picture forms and I see the guards who dragged me in here – grey uniforms, hard faces, cold hearts, rough manners.

“You want me to pray for them?” My voice floods with disbelief.

The heavens fall silent and I know God has answered my question.

Three hours later, I feel like I’ve done a full day’s work. I prayed for every prison guard in the country. Prayed against hardened hearts and rough exteriors. Prayed for God’s grace and mercy to change lives.

As I drift off to sleep, I feel God whisper deep inside. “Look at your blanket, William.”

I touch it, fibrous, stiff with dirt, prickly and uncomfortable. “It’s filthy, God.”

“And what do see in it?”

I lie quietly for a moment and then a picture surfaces. Lost people, hearts filled with sin, stained with life, unlovable and undesirable. I smile as I whisper a prayer of thanks. I know what I’ll be busy with in the morning.


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This article has been read 382 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Thoutenhoofd02/02/12
I really liked this. A simple plot, easy to read, and incredibly encouraging! Nice job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/02/12
Wow this really touched me. Often people say the least I can do is pray. But in actuality praying is a very powerful and important job indeed.
CD (Camille) Swanson 02/03/12
Simple and straight to the heart! This story spoke volumes, as our prayers do indeed. Nicely done.
God Bless~
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/03/12
Beautiful and powerful. I think I'll share this with my friends who are home-bound due to chronic illness.
Danielle King 02/07/12
I loved the simplicity of this powerful message. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
Congratulations for ranking 11th in level 4 and overall! (so close!)