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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: He Discovered Joy
By Steve Rush
05/19/06


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Arnold Freeman yearned for answers to his problems as he sat alone on the back pew. In total ruin, the thirty-three-year-old Freeman was anything but a free man. He found himself bound by everything except the will to live. Alcohol and drugs held him in their grasp, squeezing life from his frail body with every new day.

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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Member Comments
Member Date
david grant05/25/06
Needs to be more here. Just because he accepted Christ he got his money and his family back? What happened?
Sherry Wendling05/27/06
There is much in this arresting account that could be developed. Make it sing by 'showing' the readers a picture of what's happening, rather than 'telling' or interpreting for the reader. Keep writing! You have excellent things to say. It's worth the discipline and hard work to make it shine!