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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: The Way
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Shay collapsed on the couch. “It’s gone. I’ve looked everywhere.”

Her husband, Andy, knelt beside her. “It’s just a Bible.”

Glaring, Shay sat up. “Grandma gave me it. I wrote notes in the margins. It’s irreplaceable.”

Andy cupped her chin in his hands. “God isn't. C’mon cheer up.”

Sniffling, she wiped her nose. “I suppose you’re right, but I just wish I could remember where I lost it.”


Lynn, a young run-away, stumbled to the park bench. She startled at the rumble of a truck. Tears streamed down her face. Blinking, her eyes rested on a tattered old book. She picked it up and read the title, The Way. Flipping through the pages, she snorted when she realized it was a Bible. She started to toss it aside when the writing in the margin caught her eye. God intends that we learn from our problems.

Shaking her head, she read Hebrews 12:10,“Our earthly fathers trained us for a few brief years, doing the best they knew how… .”

Chills tingled down her back as she clutched the book to her chest. Her father tried his best, perhaps she’d been hasty. Something clunked against her foot; she dropped the book as she retrieved a quarter. Fingering it, she tilted her head toward the stars and nodded. Gripping the coin in her hand, she jogged to the nearest pay phone.


Ryan loosened his tie as he walked through the park. This was the 100th time he had dressed in his suit, kissed his wife, and left for a job he no longer had. He slumped on the bench, despair overwhelming him. He’d depleted his retirement account to pay the rent. His eyes darted to the bridge; he’d made his decision. The suicide clause in his life insurance policy was no longer in effect. The tears fell as he thought of his four children. He believed he was contemplating suicide out of love. He was worth more dead than alive.

His foot kicked something, he glanced down. He laughed when he saw the tattered Bible. Lifting his head upward, he muttered, “Being a bit obvious, aren’t you, God?”

He picked it up, and flipped open to 3 John 1:11. “Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember those who do right prove they are God’s children… .” His eyes drifted to the handwritten note at the bottom. The work God entrusts in me may change many lives for the better.

Laughing aloud, Ryan bowed his head. "Dear Jesus, Thank you for reminding me that raising my children is my real job. Please forgive me for not trusting you.” He pulled out his cell, dialed his wife, cleared his throat, and told her the whole story. His burden lifted, he headed home.


Abbey drifted away from the crowd leaving school. Her best friend wouldn’t even walk her home. Maybe she shouldn’t have asked Lizzie to give her the answers on the tests, but what were friends for? Who would it hurt if she’d copied just this once?

She bent over to pick up a book on the ground. The pages were a tad soggy but Abbey focused on a highlighted purple verse. Purple was her favorite color, but usually people used yellow to highlight things. Her curiosity drew her eyes to 1 Corinthians 8:12, “It is a sin against Christ to sin against your brother by encouraging him to do something he thinks is wrong.” Abbey felt the blood rush to her cheeks. In the margin, were the words, Will it cause others to stumble?

Abbey felt someone watching her. Her mouth dropped open when she noticed Lizzie in front of her.

She reached over and grabbed the Bible from Abbey’s hand. “Where did you find this?”

“I’m sorry I asked you to cheat. I’ll never do it again.” Abbey jumped up and hugged her friend.

Lizzie waved the Bible. “Where did you find this?”

Creasing her brow, Abbey pointed to the ground. “There. Why?”

Lizzie’s hand covered her mouth. “It’s Mom’s. She lost it last week and has been in a snit ever since. She’s never gonna believe you found it. C’mon, hurry.”

Abbey dug her heals in. “We’re friends again?”

Giggling, Lizzie yanked her friend forward. “Of course, silly. Hurry, Mom’s gonna flip!” Lizzie placed the treasured book into her backpack and the girls skipped home.


Author’s note: Though the story is fiction, the Bible is real. The Way, a Living Bible translation, was given to me by my grandmother when I was 12. In the next 35 years, I wrote notes in the margins. Each note mentioned in the story is something I actually wrote next to the included verses. I did use a purple highlighter in one section, too.

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This article has been read 686 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ken Ebright 02/10/12
It was a good story I loved it. The only thing I was confused by was Ryan. His life insurance was no longer in effect at the same time he was worth more dead then alive. Otherwise it was a great story.

Theresa Santy 02/10/12
I enjoyed watching God's hand in this one! Each scene, a separate bubble, yet connected by a divine thread.
C D Swanson 02/10/12
Beautiful story...I loved the message in this entry. Subtle and powerful at once.
God Bless~
C D Swanson 02/10/12
Beautiful story...I loved the message in this entry. Subtle and powerful at once.
God Bless~
Allison Egley 02/12/12
:) I love how this came full circle, and touched people in ways the owner of the Bible will never know. Nice job with this!
Hiram Claudio02/13/12
I really enjoyed this and loved how you inter-connected the different scenes together. Really is amazing what God will use to get our attention in our most difficult moments. Wonderful piece of writing.
Amanda Brogan02/13/12
Love how you showed how various notes in the Bible helped each different person! I think this is how each of us hope our writing will affect others -- that no matter how simple, some little thing that we say for God's glory, some thing that we have personally learned from His Word, will change someone's life.

I really enjoyed this story! Hope you place high with it. :)
Amanda Brogan02/13/12
By the way ... the notes you wrote are very powerful! I hope you never really lose your Bible, though I'm sure it will touch lives if you do. ;)
Catherine Maher02/13/12
Amazing the way all our lives are connected to each other in ways we aren't even aware of. I love that it was His Word that was the thread.
I lost my favorite Bible many years ago in a rental car and I often wondered where it got to.
This story moved along so believable. My favorite part was the note that said "the work God entrusts to me may change their lives for better." The he called his wife to tell. POWERFUL! God is good.
Colin Swann02/14/12
A good interesting enjoyable story. Reminded me of a Christian minister I know, who came to Christ in prison when he started reading the thin Bible pages he was using to roll his cigs with.
Karlene Jacobsen02/15/12
While in a group study session, we talked about how one seemingly small thing can send ripples through the world, like a pebble in a pond. God's got an amazing way of creating great things out of His little (size, not content) Book.
Barbara Lynn Culler02/16/12
Congrats on Highly commended! I rarely come over here anymore, but just happened to check out the winners.

Great story and things like that can happen!

Good job, my friend!
Dannie Hawley 02/16/12
Great job and congrats on your ranking!
C D Swanson 02/16/12
Congratulations! God Bless~

You are amazing - it never ceases to astound me how often you win! You deserve each and every one. Great job!
Amanda Brogan02/16/12
Congrats on getting Highly Commended! Well done. :)
Leola Ogle 02/16/12
Yay Shann! YAY!!!! Congrats!
Linda Goergen02/16/12
Congratulations on the HC win! I loved this story...I can imagine it all happening. Makes you think what you might find out when you get to Heaven—that some action of yours did for Christ that you were unaware of. The woman that lost the bible could not know the impact her notes had on others, but in Heaven she would find out. This was a blessing to read and though it was fiction, it seemed truly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Danielle King 02/17/12
Congratulations Shann. What a lovely story. I agree with all those above comments but am puzzled by the 'snit' that mom was in. It spells tins backwards (just for the record)lol. It's probably the same as being in a tizzy? Please enlighten this dumb Brit. x
Kathleen Langridge02/18/12
Beautifully, poignant and full of hope. I am glad I finally managed to read it. Congratulations!!!
Sandra Renee Hicks 05/21/12
Hi -

This is an engaging read. I much enjoyed it. Thank you for how you weaved this excellent and compelling piece.
Lori Dixon10/13/12
I had a 'The Way' bible and gave it to a new Christian one day when I was in my twenties. I too had written notes and highlighted it all over; it was a journal of Christian growth through my teen years.
I'm sure it helped the young mom, but oh how I wish I still had it today.
Loved the story, very well written and the POV switches powerful.
Loved it!