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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expose (08/22/13)

TITLE: What if...
By Carla Rogers


Hearing the hollow clack of the keys as I page through the jobs listed online, a hard crack in my soul begins to form, spreading hidden spider-web cracks to all areas. The unemployment checks will be exhausted next week, with no job in sight. Thoughts of not being able to pay my bills, of how long it will to get out of debt, of not being in control of anything turn the micro cracks into giant fissures. My eyes well up, silently I ask God why.

What if the only way to know God’s heart is for mine to break into a million pieces?

I think of our adoption that has been put on hold. Having our dream child so close to reality to just have it snatched away, stretches my faith to the Grand Canyon edge. I hear the rocks of my faith foundation slipping into the canyon, bouncing mocking all the way down. Dreams of having money to help with missions or to redo our new child’s room to their liking are mist disappearing in the heat of the scorching Southern sun.

What if the only way to be thankful is to see your cherished dreams wither?

I go through my china cabinets to find something, anything to sale. The cherished old items of my parents and grandparents are downgraded to how much a stranger values my precious memories. Grieving, I look at selling Daddy’s farm equipment, the same equipment that I still use to plant my garden. The sacrifices seem so unfair and downright mean.

What if the only way to gain everything is to lose everything?

Giving up on my human efforts, I search for my old friend; my well worn, written in, highlighted bible. Longing to find some piece of hope, some promise that every thing would turn out the way I wanted, I slowly leaf through the tattered pages.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. “ Psalm 34:18 (NIV). I feel the Lord touching my million little pieces, exposing his heart to heal mine. I feel compassion for others in the same jobless state replacing my self pity. Looking at the sea of people around me, I can now discern the hurting, longing to show them the healing compassion of the great God I know.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV). Hope begins to show her head as God gently leads me to find peace in knowing God’s dreams for me may not be my dreams for me, but his will be so much better. If adopting a child isn’t God’s plan for me, I know that he will always have children in my life. I will be a mentor to so many more than the one we can afford to adopt. God showing me how to be thankful in the midst of withered dreams is something I cherish.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32 (NIV). Jesus gave up the riches of heaven to come to earth with the goal of reconciling us to God. He also gave up every thing he had on earth, even his life, to accomplish his fathers will. I shouldn’t be any different. My love for God should supersede my love for anything material. Everything I have has been given to me by God. If he chooses to take it away, why should I grieve? I have everything I need in him.

Father, I thank you for always renewing and refreshing my spirit when I turn to your word. Your word is like fresh streams of cold water in a dry and thirsty land. Thank you for reminding me of everything I still have and the dreams you have for me that will come to pass. Amen.

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C D Swanson 08/29/13
Loved this entire devotional with powerful messages sprinkled throughout.

Philippians 4:6 one of my favorites. I just love HIS BOOK and HIS WORDS, so I confess I have a lot of fav's! LOL.

Thank you for this piece.

God bless~
Genia Gilbert09/01/13
This is very thought provoking and deeply devotional. I really enjoyed it. God's ways are not our ways, but He is so wise and good. You expressed it well. Good entry.
Brenda Rice 09/03/13
This is such a well written article. It is full of truth and encouragement. You gave lots of food for thought and lots of inspiration.

Thanks for sharing.
Mike Newman09/03/13
You did a great job of conveying a great message. I really enjoyed how you posed three questions, turned to the Bible within the narrative, and then answered the questions in reverse order. I think there is a nifty literary word for that, but I don't have enough fancy book-learnin' to be sure. :)

There are some minor errors (a missing 'take' in the first paragraph, 'mocking' should be 'mockingly' in the third, 'sale' should be 'sell' in the fifth, etc.) that can be distracting to the flow of the story. I like getting my wife to read work aloud to me as a method to catch errors. Works best if it is her first time seeing it.

Again, great job. Thank you for sharing it.
Ellen Carr 09/03/13
This is a moving piece of devotional writing which I'm sure resonates with others who have experienced unemployment or the long wait and delays involved with adoption. You have highlighted the comfort and hope the Lord gives and your Bible references connect well with the story and draw the readers' eyes to God's perspective very well.
Noel Mitaxa 09/06/13
This is positive, practical devotional material. It's so down-to-earth that it will resonate with anyone who is facing morale-sapping challenges like extended unemployment.