Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
TITLE: He Discovered Joy
By Steve Rush
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As he listened, the sermon reminded him of the child he used to be and the man he became. Six months earlier, Arnold Freeman had a good job. He was a good provider for his wife, Linda, and their two children, Stephanie and Cory. He invested in stocks. His bank account thrived. He believed things that made him happy meant he had a life of joy.
Then it happened. Arnold lost his job, followed by his assets. Friends he relied on wanted nothing more to do with him. His family fled in fear. In his mind, relief treated him as though he were a leper. Arnold Freeman felt abandoned and useless; afraid to take another step. Nevertheless, take another step is exactly what Arnold needed. “The first step is the most difficult,” the minister said. “Take that first step to real joy.”
He stood with the congregation for the invitation. Although he wanted to step out in the aisle he felt as though his feet were set in concrete. What the minister said next, and the inflection in his voice, seared Arnold’s soul. “Look inside. Then look to Jesus.” Arnold reflected on the image he saw in the mirror that morning. What he saw crushed his heart. It was almost as if he could see the vacancy sign posted inside. Yes, I want that joy, he thought.
After struggling to take that first step, his step of faith, Arnold Freeman felt as if his body floated down the aisle. He took the minister’s hand, knelt at the altar and sincerely prayed for the first time in his life.
That morning Arnold Freeman discovered the joy of being set free. Now, five years later, Arnold still testifies about the joy of living, the joy of loving, and the joy of having meaningful relationships – with God, and family.
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