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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)

TITLE: Don't Shake My Cage!
By Susan Gurney


Cynthia heard the giggles before she saw the source: five boys gathered around the classroom gerbil cage. She slipped behind them and said, “What’s so funny, boys?”

Jimmy gave a little jump and stuttered, “Oh, nnnn...nothing, Mrs. Cynthia…just looking at the gggg…gerbils.”

“That’s right, Mrs. Cynthia,” chimed in Tomas. “They’re extra funny today.”

“Hmmm…I hope that’s all that’s going on, boys. You know the gerbils don’t like it if you shake their cage. We’re like giants to those poor little gerbils. You wouldn’t like it at all if a big giant came along and shook your house, would you?”

“You’re funny, Mrs. Cynthia,” giggled Joey. “There aren’t really any giants--are there?”

“No, Joey,” Cynthia said with a smile, “but just image what it would be like if someone much bigger than you came along and rattled your cage…”

“Yeah, guys,” agreed Mike, “I bet you’d all be really scared…I know I would be.”

“I think a giant came and shook my house once a long time ago when I still lived in California,” said Jose with a shudder. “I think it must have been mad at us. Everything rattled in our house and some of the pictures fell off the walls. It was soooo scary! We all ran outside, but the giant was faster than we were, and it was already gone…”

The other four boys looked at Jose with a mixture of awe and skepticism. Cynthia knew Jose had moved from California with his family a few weeks ago, and an earthquake had hit that area just before. Thankfully, it hadn’t been severe enough to cause any loss of life or injuries…just bad enough to make a huge impression on a little boy barely four years old!

“It must have felt like a giant shook your house, Jose,” Cynthia said, “but weren’t there a lot of houses shaken at the same time? Could a giant have shaken them all at once?”

“That’s right, Mrs. Cynthia!” beamed Jose. “I didn’t think of that…but if a giant didn’t do it, what did?”

“I know! I know!” said Joey, as he jumped up and down. “It had to have been God! He can be everywhere at once…and He’s super strong…and He could have shaken the whole world if He wanted!”

Mike replied, “But God had to have been really mad at California to shake all the houses and scare everyone like that…”

“Nah,” said Jimmy, “He was just playing a joke on the people--to see them jump, like I did this morning with the gggg…gerbils. You should have seen them run and jump when I shook their cccc…cage, Mrs. Cynthia!” Just then Jimmy glanced at his preschool teacher and instantly knew he had said the wrong thing.

“Way to go, Jimmy!” said Joey, “now we’re all in trouble! Mrs. Cynthia, Jimmy was the only one to shake the cage…”

“Yeah, but we all laughed at the way they were acting…and they were just poor scared gerbils,” sighed Mike.

“Like I was scared, when God shook my house… Did God do that for a joke, Mrs. Cynthia?” asked Jose.

“Oh, Jose,” said Cynthia, “God never jokes around with people in that way! He loves us each very much and only wants to comfort us when we are afraid.”

Mike interrupted, “Then why DID the ground shake and scare Jose and all of his neighbors?”

“Well, boys,” said Cynthia, as she paused to look heavenward for guidance, “I think the shaking Jose felt when he lived in California was an earthquake. They happen a lot there, and sometimes they even happen here.”

“Why did God let an earthquake shake Jose’s house, when He knew it would scare him?” asked Tomas.

“God made the whole world, and He made it in a special way so people could know His great power, and would see how much they need His love, help and comfort,” said Cynthia. “He made the world so that it very slowly moves and stretches--like you do when your legs ache from growing pains. Earthquakes are kind of like “growing pains” for the world. Sometimes when the world stretches, though, it causes terrible shaking--sometimes so bad that people and animals and buildings get hurt. --And when that happens, God always hears our cries for help and comforts us--because He loves us. One way He comforts us is by sending caring people to help the sad and hurt. Aren’t you glad God never rattles our houses for a joke?”

Note: This is a work of fiction.

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This article has been read 205 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 05/16/13
Teaching moments and a teacher that knew how to use them. The smooth flow of this story and the delightful characters you created delivered a joyful read and a thoughtful message. Well done.
Richard Hicks05/18/13
I'm enjoyed reading this and see the characters come alive. Wonderful choice of words that relates to all ages. Great job!
C D Swanson 05/21/13
Nice job, I enjoyed this entry very much. Thanks.
God bless~
Marsha Barrow05/23/13
Excellent story. I am a teacher (in a public school), and I love the moments when I get to share words of wisdom that God provides; whether they know it or not.

You had me waiting to the very end for the answer the teacher would provide. Nice work!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/23/13
Congratulations on ranking 6 in your level! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)