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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: Friends
By Suzanne R
06/12/06


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Mara spat the words back at me like they were barbed arrows dripping with poison. “Abundant life? What a joke!”

I still have a rock in my stomach and a lump in my throat. How can I convince her?

I tried. I reminded her that God loves her. She laughed – her first laugh in weeks. I got really close – she could no doubt smell my breath – and clutched her arm tightly. “You know about facts and feelings. The fact is that Jesus died for you. How you feel doesn’t change that fact.”

She shook me off. Her response made my heart plummet and race, all at once. “Fact: it would be better if I died and gave the world a break.”

Everything I say seems like a cliché. As empty as the womb of an old spinster who has spent a lifetime longing for children. Her parting words echo still in my ears still as I lie on my bed trying to sleep.

“Open your eyes. Look around. There are no roses to smell. It is a black world spiraling towards destruction. Face facts. God doesn’t give a hoot.”

The red lights glow in the dark. 3:01. Having exhausted myself with worry, counted sheep forwards and backwards and done the usual relaxation exercises, I finally do the sensible thing. Pray.
____________________


Lord, how can I convince her? You love her. You want her to have life in all its fullness.

There’s nothing you can say, dear girl. All you can do is keep living for me. Count your blessings, daughter. You’re healthy. You’ve been given a lot. There is a great deal expected of you too. Don’t worry – the responsibility is not all on your shoulders – just keep walking with me.

But Lord, I’m not here to talk about me. It’s Mara. What is going on? How can I help?

Just BE. Be who you are in me. Get your focus off her and onto me. Haven’t I said that I give life in abundance?

Yes, but…….

Focus, dear child. On me. Live YOUR life – the full life I’ve given you. Trust me. Pray for her – but focus on me. Do you think I’m incapable of holding her secure? I have placed my Spirit in her heart as much as I have in yours. I have chosen her as clearly as I have you. Did I ever promise to keep my people from hardship?

No. But……

Did I ever promise my people perfect health and happiness?

Not in this life. But……

Did I ever promise to never leave you or forsake my people?

Yes. So why……?

I have not forsaken Mara. Life is tough now. Hope is flimsy – she is hanging on by a cobweb. But that isn’t your problem. It is mine. She can’t see beyond her current blackness, but I’m holding on to her. Of course I love her. You were right about the facts and feelings thing. But you were wrong to lecture her. Pray for her, child, but focus on me.

But…...

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Look not within, but to me. Feel the warmth of my embrace. Visualize the brilliant light. Sense the rock-solid security. Mara is there too. She can’t feel it right now. It isn’t her fault – it is the sickness. But don’t you start meddling. Just be a good friend to her as she journeys along this difficult road. Focus on me.

Yes Lord. But why her?

Trust me. Satan has done his best to destroy my creation. That’s why Mara is suffering. I’ll bring her through it. You’ll have your share of hardship some day. You’ll need Mara’s friendship when that day comes, just as she needs your friendship now. That’s yet another facet of the abundant life I give – the body of believers. Now, stop fussing, focus and get on with the full life I’ve given you.
________________


Daylight floods the room. I must have slept through the alarm. Just as well it is the weekend. Curled up in my pajamas in the overstuffed armchair, a cup of tea in my hand and Bible on my lap, I thank God for our church family. I ask for help to focus. Then I pick up the phone.

“Mara? Hey, do you have time for coffee? No, I’m not going to Bible-bash you again. No, there is no agenda. I just want to spend time with a good friend, okay? Great. See you at our favourite cafe at eleven.”


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This article has been read 968 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/15/06
Powerful article. How hard it can be to just let those we love rest in God's care.
Pat Guy 06/15/06
I loved the converstions, and the gentle message of our Lord. It reads, and feels like He's talking to the reader also. Precious and wise.

Yes, most of the time, all we can do is 'be there.'

A heartwrentching and beautiful reminder that flowed easily. Loved it.

Melanie Kerr 06/17/06
You created tension in your story and a sense of urgency about evangelism - but I like the balance of "being" and not just "doing or saying". Good story.
Lynda Schultz 06/19/06
There is great wisdom in letting God "speak" for Himself. Good job.
Debbie OConnor06/19/06
This is GREAT! You had my heart pounding. I love that God is saying you needed to just live your abundant life, pray for her and be. Beautiful message, written with punch. A winner with me.
Maxx .06/20/06
wow ... very very strong piece. you'll do very well. Such polish and structure. Excellent!
Sherry Wendling06/20/06
Captivating! What a punch of an opener...And it just hums with life all the way through. Your dialogue with Holy Spirit is beyond price. I personally drink in the lesson about resting our special ones in His hand and just being there with them. Thanks for an excellent,truly inspiring read!
Sally Hanan06/21/06
You described Mara's state of mind exceptionally well, and then brought in the peace of God's truth beautifully. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 06/21/06
The words of God were--simply astounding. What a gift this piece is. I like that you named your main character "Mara"--it means "bitter," right? Very appropriate.
Edy T Johnson 06/21/06
Your character's conversation with the Lord spoke to my heart as if I were taking her place in the prayer link. You have obviously spent time digging jewels from that deep, deep mine of God's Word.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/22/06
This is a very moving piece. Goo job.