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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)

TITLE: The Option
By Steve McClure


“I’m at my wits end.”

“I can see why.”

“I’ve nowhere else to turn.”

“Well, as you know, Greg, we’re a small church. There’s only so much we can do.”

“I understand, Pastor.” The middle-aged man lowered his head, despondent. “I’m just out of options, that’s all.”

“Well, I can ask around. By the way, how’s little Amy doing, now?”

“She’s hanging in there. Never complains. She’s home, right now, but likely will have to go back in for another treatment.”

“We’ll keep praying for her…and for you and Anne.”

“Your prayers are much appreciated, Pastor. We’re very thankful for all you and the congregation have done for us.”

“That’s why we’re here, Greg. And remember – God does answer prayer.”


Greg pulled his aging sedan into the driveway; the end of a long day. He got out and walked up the steps to the small suburban home. Anne met him at the door.

“Phil Swanson’s here to see you.”

Greg walked into the living room. “Hi, Phil,” he greeted, extending his hand.

“I apologize for barging in like this,” Phil responded, shaking Greg’s hand. “But I’m heading out of town and wanted to speak to you and Anne before I left.” Greg and Anne sat down together and Phil sat opposite.

“I hear you’re out of options.”

“You hear right,” Greg responded solemnly. “Guess you’ve been talking with Pastor Richards.”

“We spoke,” Phil acknowledged. “I’m here to bring you another option…although it may not suit you.”

“Whatever it is, we’d like to hear it.”

“OK.” Phil paused. “I understand you’ve got two mortgages on the house. How much equity is left?”

“Fifteen, maybe twenty percent. But another mortgage is out of the question – we just can’t handle it. And refinancing – if we could refinance – really won’t help.”

“I’m aware of that. I’m offering something else.” Phil hesitated. “I’m not a rich man, Greg, or this would be easy. But I’ve some liquidity available – enough, I think, to cover your equity. But I’m going to ask something in return.”

“What’s that?”

“I don’t do real estate, ordinarily. But I’ll give you the cash, and I’ll take over your two mortgages…. And you’ll sign the house over to me.”

Anne gasped. “Oh, Greg! The house?”

“And then?” Greg inquired, looking intently at Phil.

“You live here…as you have. No payments. Do whatever you want with the place. But it will belong to me.”

“I dunno, Phil….”

“As I said, it may not suit you. I offer it as an option to your impending foreclosure.”

Greg and Anne exchanged glances. Anne began to tear up.

“Think about it while I’m away,” Phil interjected. “The offer’s open – no rush.” He got up to leave.

“We know your heart’s in the right place, Phil,” Greg began. “It’s just that….”

“Believe me, Greg, I understand. I can only imagine what you’re going through. But if I were in your place….” Phil stopped. “Well, obviously, I’m not in your place.”

Greg stood. A teary-eyed Anne remained seated.

“Nevertheless,” Phil continued, “if we proceed, we need to keep our eyes wide open. I’ll ensure the lawyers dot the i's and cross the t’s and make everything on the up and up. But let’s not kid ourselves – this little arrangement could become quite awkward for us in the future.

Greg nodded. Anne wept.


“I understand you and Phil came to an agreement.”

“Yes, Pastor, we did – reluctantly, on my part.”

“How’s Anne taking it?”

“She’s unhappy, of course. For that matter, I’m unhappy. All we’ve worked for….”

“I’m sorry it turned out like this, Greg. I truly wish there were some other way.”

“Yeah. Well, it’s done, now. Have only papers to sign.”

“Regardless, it’s an answer to prayer.”

“An answer to prayer?!” Greg echoed, surprised. “I’m losing my house. How’s that an answer to prayer?”

Pastor Richards softened. In a smooth, even tone he asked, “How else should we look at this, Greg? You were on the verge of foreclosure…or a short sale. Either way, you’d have nothing.”

“We’ve ended up with nothing, anyway.”

“Really?” The Pastor paused. “Let’s look at the ‘nothing’ you’ve ended up with: A place to live. No payments. Cash to settle your current debts. Some breathing room for you and your family. And a friend who’s taking on a debt burden for your well being.”

Greg thought. “I…I guess you’re right, Pastor. I’ve been praying only to save the house.”

“And God has answered by saving your livelihood.”

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This article has been read 233 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Francie Snell 01/23/14
This is VERY well done. What a great blessing the MC and his wife received without even realizing it. Thanks for sharing.
Brenda Rice 01/23/14
Very creative and interesting from start to finish.

Well written. Thanks for sharing.
Judith Gayle Smith01/26/14
Wow. How wonderful to have someone so kind and generous to allow God to work through them. What a creative approach . . .
C D Swanson 01/27/14
I so enjoyed this "uplifting" story that ultimately brought forward an important message. That the Lord always brings about "beauty for our ashes" is confirmed in this well written entry.

God bless~
Francie Snell 01/30/14
Congratulations Steve for placing 4th. Great job!
C D Swanson 01/30/14

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/30/14
Congratulations on ranking 4 in your level and 18 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)