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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

TITLE: A Shadow - Casting Trust
By Benjamin Stephens


When love eluded me I pondered
“Doesn’t God care that I am alone?”

Lord, You know I’m serving You faithfully. All I have ever wanted was a bride to share my life with. Surely by raising children who may serve You was not too much to ask. Why must I wrestle on alone? Lord, I readily admit I am angry and I am lonely and I am miserable. I wait for Your will, but I think You are deaf. You have locked me out of the satisfaction I could find in marriage. Why?

My Child, you are indeed serving me faithfully and I am grateful. Your obedience is a wonderful gift to me. However, your sufficiency should not, will not, can not come from marriage. I know there are those who will tell you otherwise, but it’s not true. Thank you for waiting and being honest enough to tell me what is on your heart. No, Child, I am not deaf. I have heard your cries. Will you trust Me? When you say I have locked you out, I need you to know that you are speaking truth, but you must first understand what that means. To be locked is to be held safe and secure and that is where I am holding you. Will you trust Me?

When my business failed, I thought,
“Couldn’t God have rescued me?”

Lord, I accepted that I was never to marry, so I learned everything I could about the business world and I gave You most of the profits. Countless ministries were helped by that gift. Yet today that business is gone and so is my ability to help You in the way I always have. How could this be Your will? How could You have left me just when I needed You most?

My Child, you do have a gift for business and when things began to fail you asked me to rescue you - so I did. It is unfortunate that you didn’t recognize My handiwork. It is My will that you trust in Me with your entire mind, heart, soul and strength. The intent of your prayer was to have Me save your business, but I knew that what you really needed was a rescue from yourself. If you search your heart, you will see that there came a point when your trust was no longer in Me, but in the wealth that was escaping your grasp. Once it was gone, you finally turned to Me with your trust - yes, you were angry with me, but you knew I could be trusted. Welcome back.

When I was in pain I wondered,
“Where is God in the hurt I feel?”

Lord, I have served You without a wife and through the loss of my business. Now I lay in a hospital bed. Cancer has eaten away so much that I can not be called the man I once was. Certainly, You could heal me if You wanted. I’m really not trying to complain, Lord. I just want to do what You want me to do and I can’t seem to do it in this bed. I’m sure you have a reason - could you fill me in?

My Child, it was My own Son who suffered for You. I had to turn My back on Him so I wouldn’t have to turn my back on you. You should know that I am so glad that you are committed to my Son. It makes My gift to you all the more special. You are right, there is much you cannot do while lying in that bed; you will be released from the hospital soon. Trust Me.

When death met me I understood
“What a precious God who saves.”

Lord, You are right, I am locked in You. I have been held safe and secure for just this moment - this lock has brought freedom. How selfish I was to look at others, myself, my health and prosperity to define my trust in You. Thank you for saving me from myself.

My Child, the life you lived is simply a shadow cast by My love. Others noticed and were encouraged. Through setback and trial, pain and death, they observed and understood there was a growing trust in the God who loved you so much He locked you in His perfect security. Never what you wanted - always what you needed. Thank you for trusting Me.

Enter into the joy of your Master.

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This article has been read 1210 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dave Wagner03/13/06
I liked the structure - made it a lot easier to read. I liked what you were trying to accomplish as well - for the most part, you were successful. Some good food for thought here, thanks for posting it.

Only quibble might be the inconsistency in capitalizing Me/My when talking as God. Not sure there is a rule regarding capitalization in the first place, actually....I wonder who started doing that?

Thanks again for posting. A good read.
Lynda Schultz 03/15/06
Wow, I really like this. The approach is different. Powerful imagines that the reader can identify with, once, twice, three times (maybe not the fourth quite yet!). I loved this line especially: "I had to turn My back on Him so I wouldn’t have to turn my back on you." Good stuff, great message.
Jan Ackerson 03/16/06
I found this beautiful, heart-breaking, and extremely moving. Your character is so real and so human, but with such awesome faith. One of my all-time favorites.
Pat Guy 03/16/06
A Masterpiece! Thank you!
Jessica Schmit03/16/06
Wow, so much to this story. It's truly beautiful.
Helen Paynter03/16/06
Yes, I really liked this. My only quibble was theological - in 2nd (main) paragrapg, Gd describes himself as grateful. Not sure that is quite the right word. But..small quibble, great piece.
Shari Armstrong 03/17/06
Some great lessons packed in here. Well done.
Suzanne R03/19/06
Beautiful - just beautiful!
Beth Muehlhausen03/20/06
Creative spin on the topic - nicely done, Ben! Good message for all of us - to sell out to God and not sweat the circumstances. Congrats on placing w/ this!! :-)
Kate Wells03/20/06
Great writing! Congrats on your win! Kate~