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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Exam (09/12/13)

TITLE: Infected
By Samantha Arroyo


I lay still; eyes wide, awake. The tick, tick, tick of the wall clock beat incessantly against the darkness, and the drone of the refrigerator in the next room drowned out the sadder sounds – the whirring and hollow hum of life-giving fluids.

This night, like dozens of nights before it, crawled by. It slithered along dragging my heavy heart with it.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

A loud, steady beep pierced through the darkness. I pushed away the blankets, the rocking chair creaking beneath my weight. I moved toward her bed; the cranky machine, draped in tubing, flashed red. I gently nudged my sweet girl and she woke, pushing back against her pillows and stuffed toys to sit up.


My heart ached. “It’s okay sweetie. Mommy’s here.”

I disconnected the tubing and flushed the catheter running into her tiny arm. The clean fluids pushed the last of the antibiotics through. I kissed her forehead and she slipped back beneath the covers.

I stood there for a moment, watching the sheets rise and fall. My heart broke, bled. Like a cancer, infection had taken over her little body. Trying to cure it was like trying to outrun a train.

Tears stung my eyes; she looked so fragile. From day one I had felt every blow and tasted every tear. Fear squeezed the space between my heart and my throat, tightening and tightening – choking my faith and smothering my hope.

The haunting clang of the IV tubing against the cold metal pole reminded me that nothing had changed.

Chin quivering, I lifted my hands to my face and cried silent tears. Where are You? The tears flowed. Fast. But I managed to muffle my sobs so as not to wake my sleeping beauty.

Do you trust Him? The question hung, mid air. Pastor had asked me over the phone just yesterday.

I never answered his question… I still hadn’t.

Do you trust Him?

I knelt to the floor and placed my hands on my daughter’s plush pink comforter. I ran my hand along the fabric and over the intricate stitching of the quilt at the foot of her bed – the one my mother had given her the day she was born.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

I closed my eyes, tears spilling down my cheeks and dripping off my chin. Memories, sweet memories, filled the dark spaces. The moment we first met, her first steps, that infectious giggle that lit up the dreariest of days. My little girl.

Do you trust Me?

My eyes flew open.

Tick. Tick. Tick.


It wasn’t my imagination. It was Him. I had sensed His relentless pursuit for weeks, but like Jonah, I thought I could outrun Him – hide. Who was I kidding. My spiritual condition, withered and broken, was in plain sight. My strength run dry.

But the question begged to be answered.

“Father, I’m so sorry,” I sobbed. “I want to trust You. But I’m angry – and so afraid. So very afraid. This is my child.”

You are my child.

My body shook with sobs. The same way I broke over my daughter’s condition, His heart broke over mine. I ran my fingers through her golden ringlets strewn across the pillow.

“Jesus, it’s too hard. It’s too painful.” My voice cracked, my brief prayers more raw than ever before.

And then, as clear as day, it came to me. That verse in James. How did it go? The testing of your faith will produce perseverance – endurance... Something like that.

I reached for the worn leather Bible on Heather’s nightstand.

I flipped through the pages, until there, highlighted. The verses jumped off the page and pierced my hard heart: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I fell back against my calves. It was a test of faith.

A test of will.

A test of obedience.

A test of… surrender.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

He’s rescued before. He’ll rescue again. There is purpose – meaning – in every trial. Even if He never wanted it to happen.

Do you trust Me?

He knew my deepest hurts, her wounds, our fears. I knew I didn’t have to say it – but I knew He wanted to hear my voice… just like I wanted to hear His.

“Yes. Yes, I trust You...”

And then – peace.

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This article has been read 351 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Samantha Arroyo 09/19/13
I forgot my footnotes!

James 1:2-4 NIV.

This is not a true story.
Brenda Rice 09/19/13
Incredible! Very touching with lots of human nature sprinkled about.

Well written. Good job all around.

Thanks for sharing.
lynn gipson 09/21/13
Wow...what a powerful story. I was sure it was true. Had me from the very beginning to the final surrender. Yes, we trust Him in all situations!
Thanks for sharing this moving piece.
Danielle King 09/22/13
Captivating and powerful with a great message. I was hooked from the beginning. This will surely be a winner.
Lois Farrow09/24/13
Beautiful story and so well-written. Well done.
Linda Goergen09/26/13
Congratulations Samantha on your level and EC wins--this was such a touching, well done story, so deserving of the wins!
C D Swanson 09/26/13
Congratulations! God bless~
Judith Gayle Smith09/26/13
Wonderful! Congratulations!
Mike Newman09/27/13
Congrats Samantha, a great story wonderfully told.
Bea Edwards 10/06/13
Heart-wrenching and the real deal which many believers have had to struggle through. Excellent compassionate yet gritty piece of writing.