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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)

TITLE: Words
By Brenda Shipman



In the beginning, the news about him was beautiful - words found in a book among those who loved him. It was like hearing about a dear old friend, but one she’d never met. The stories brought great comfort, joy and hope all throughout her childhood.

All was well.

There came a day, however, when other murmurings met her ear - darker stories, that cast a shadow of doubt on the words she held so dear.

Through their reckless lifestyles and choices, some of her closest friends proclaimed they did not believe in the existence of this person.

A college professor mocked anyone who embraced the antiquated “fables”, and said anyone who believed such nonsense was a superstitious fool.

The evening news glut of natural disasters, senseless murders, child kidnappings, governmental corruption, and terrorist plots challenged the good news from her childhood. More grim rumblings presented themselves…“Where is this One who is supposedly in control? Maybe no one is in control, and we’re all on our own.”

The young woman experienced her own heartache and loss, and for the first time, she found herself tempted to believe another black rumor: “This person exists, but He is cruel and not to be trusted.”

Loneliness crept into her soul and for a while, she played with the thought that He was, indeed, absent. That he was out there somewhere, but kept his distance from her.

She lived in a culture with clusters of people, and each cluster believed their own narrative about this person. The tales tumbled about her head like strangers on a crowded elevator – all together, yet divided by their prickly ideological points. However, one common thread united each stranger in the elevator – a restless uncertainty. Only the utterly apathetic seemed, at least on the surface, unaffected and undisturbed.

It came as a relief to know that she did not want to be on the elevator with the others.

Who WAS this person she'd heard about her whole life? She grew cautious and suspect of each new rumor that came across her ears. If the original tale were not true, then the person she’d grown to love and trust was either a liar or a lunatic. Perhaps the “good news” was actually an old folk tale, handed down from generation to generation, shifting in its shape and growing in enormity until, like the old game of gossip, the story told at the end was nothing like its beginning.

Over time, though, the source for all the dark rumors became apparent. The mill that churned out the first distortion was in a garden, with the twisted words, “Hath God said?” Doubt, confusion, and every lie from that point forward gave birth…and countless listeners believed the lies. A shadow fell over the land, and as the first twist of the truth, “Hath God said?” took on many various forms, the world became engulfed in even more darkness.

As the woman’s life unfolded, she was given faith to put her trust in the first story written by the author Himself. She was given eyes to see and ears to hear. The Author gave her a tender fleshy heart and described Himself to her with clarity and beauty through His book, music, kindness, blessing and protection, and through all of His creation.

She heard His beauty in the lovely strains of a piano solo and brilliant colors of a wildflower. He revealed His majesty in the soaring heights of a mountain range. She observed His order with the sun and moon’s rise and fall. His comfort and love enveloped her through her family and friends. She experienced His joy through the gift of laughter.

In the midst of all these experiences, His Word unveiled His image above all else.

After many years of courting her heart and transforming her mind, He finally asked her a question.

“Who do YOU say that I am?”

Without hesitation, she uttered the pure clear truth.

“You are creator, redeemer, king of kings and lord of lords. You are my comforter, shepherd, protector and friend.”

His smile shone like the sun as He drew her into His arms and spoke words from eternity past.

“Yes, my beloved, I AM.”

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/19/14
I enjoyed this take on the topic. You did a fine job of showing how talking and rumors can grow like a weed in one's heart. The only red ink I'd offer is this line:. If the original tale were not true,
needs the noun and verbs to match. Either tale was or tales were.
IIt's a tiny thing, though, and didn't impact the beautiful message in this piece. Your ending was just what I was hoping for, and actually what I was praying for on behalf of all who listen to dark rumors from time to time (including myself). Thank you for blessing me.
C D Swanson 05/19/14
So beautiful and poetic in its structure and meaning.

Well done. I loved it.

God bless~
Phyllis Inniss05/21/14
Words can really influence the listener and the more you hear something is the greater the effect on you. I like the way you presented this idea to the reader and I like the way you overcame the doubts and uncertainties about our Lord and Saviour. With reference to your "If the original tale were true", you are grammatically correct in that the subjunctive is implied here, although no longer taught in schools and can be even found in the Bible. Expressions like 'if it were not so, I would etc.' come to mind.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/23/14
Congratulations on ranking 6th in your level. The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.