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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)

TITLE: There Can Be A New Tomorrow
By Lucian Thompson


“Wake up Barbara, it’s too cold to sleep here any longer.”

“No, please, leave me alone. I can’t take it any more. Just let me lay here and die.”

“Come on now Barbara, you have got to get up. The sun is coming up and the police will be making their rounds soon. Remember, they said the next time they find us here they would put us in jail.”

“What does it matter, Billy, jail or this park bench? Nothing matters anymore, I just want to die.”

“Oh, don’t say that Barbara, I don’t like it when you talk like that. I know we have been down on our luck lately, but Spring is coming and I will be able to find work then. Things will get better, just hold on a little longer.”

“Why should I hope things will get better, Billy? We won’t live to see Spring come. You still spend any money we come by on booze and I can’t seem to stop my addiction to pain killers so what’s the use?”

“Well, it’s too late anyway, here comes the cops. At least, jail will be warm.”

“Okay folks, I told you before that if I found you loitering again, I would have to take you to jail, but there may be something else I can do. I want to share it with you, if you will listen.”

Billy clutched Barbara to him and said, “What is that, officer?”

“I found a church down the way that will put you up for a few days, maybe even till Spring when the weather gets better.”

Billy asked, “Officer, why would you do this for us? You said you would lock us up if you found us here again.”

“That was before I come to know the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You see I was among the vilest of offenders. I deserved to be incarcerated myself for the way I treated my wife and family. I would come home many hours after I got off duty and treat my wife and kids like dirt. I was a slave to my own self-righteousness and believed the world revolved around me. I drank heavily and ran after others’ affection with no conscience.

Barbara spoke softly, “But Officer, you are a representative of the law. How could you be like that?”

“I know, how could I? Well, that was until the several weeks ago when I came home and found my wife and two kids on their knees in the living room. They had been attending church for months and were praying out loud for my soul. In my drunken stupor I heard a voice telling me to drop to my knees and repent of my sins less I be given up to a reprobates punishment. For the first time I realized the harm I had done my family and I was ashamed. I asked my wife and children to forgive me and help me to make the changes I needed to make to be a better husband and father.”

“Wow, Billy said, how can you just change the way you live? I mean, some things just have too strong a hold on us. My addition is way too hard for me to let go of.”

“I felt the same, Billy, till my wife explained to me that I can’t possible change on my own. She told me about Jesus and His ability to forgive me and cleanse me of my sins. After telling me this, she asked me to accept Jesus as my Savior and let Him help. I did just that, right there on the spot and I am now on my way to recovering from my selfish ways. I know I am a work in progress and I know I will face many temptations, but I am not alone in this anymore. For the first time in many years I feel good about myself and my direction in life.”

“Billy, There can be a new tomorrow! I am offering you and Barbara a chance to get off the streets and put your life back in order. Like me, you will face many temptations to fall back into your old ways, but you won’t be alone. I will be there for you and the Lord I now serve will help all of us.”

Billy and Barbara looked at each other and said in unison, “ Can you tell us more about Jesus?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman12/06/05
I love the possibilities that this piece represents, however there are a few details that are a little unrealistic (perhaps the officer could've driven them down to the church and they could continue their conversation on the way, instead of just standing there in the cold that whole time). One thing I really like is that the officer got saved and immediately put his faith into actions. What a great example for us to follow!
Sandra Petersen 12/07/05
I liked the dialogue all the way up to the entrance of the police officer. His testimony needed to be somehow more subtle, not coming at us like a ton of bricks. I agree that some of his testimony could have been given while they were on their way to the church. Also, read your characters' dialogue. Barbara and Billy used contractions like "can't" and "it's" in the opening, which is a more natural speech pattern, then "what is" and "you would" later. Keep their speech natural all the way through.
I also wonder if they would immediately be won to the Lord right there on the spot. Given their state of being (addictions, unemployment, being cold) they would be more likely to listen once those needs were addressed with action. That's the whole principle behind places like Union Gospel Mission and Pacific Garden Mission.
This is a good message, but needs to be more subtle, in my humble opinion.
Trish Thompson12/07/05
I know the Policeman in this story. Much more did take place on the scene and on the way to the church, but 750 words limited what could be told. Like so many submissions, the original testimony would take hundreds of words to be told. It is a beautiful testimony.
Jan Ackerson 12/07/05
Very nice story, realistic dialog. I'd like some exposition in the beginning in addition to the dialog, to orient the reader as to time and place, and who these characters are. And people rarely speak in unison as yours did at the end.

All the same, I really loved your policeman character, and would like to read much more about him.
Beth Muehlhausen12/12/05
Touching. This is the way witness should happen....in the trenches of life.