Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Right and Left (07/31/14)
TITLE: The Right Prize
By Christopher Bevis
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He'd got to know the normally sweet-natured, cheerful eighteen-year-old during breakfasts together in their University Hall of Residence. She clearly liked him, and he thought she was the most attractive girl he'd ever met. Peter was staggered when she told him she'd never had a boyfriend before.
He might have conquered his deep-seated inferiority complex long enough to ask the biology student out, except for one thing: Rose wasn't a committed Christian. She was receptive, she was sympathetic, and she came from a very good family with at least a strong church going background. But he knew she didn't share his faith. Not for the time being.
As he watched her storm away from the dinner table, the student next to him asked him “Aren't you going to go after her?”
“No”, he replied calmly, “you saw what she was like. She isn't ready to listen to anyone. I might as well let her cool off for now. We'll talk later.”
He finished his meal in silence and made his way up to his room, convinced that she would relent and come to see him before the evening was over. The hours ticked by, and Peter struggled to concentrate on his studies, his self-assurance crumbling all the while. Should he go and see her? He decided not to because he had no way of knowing when she would be ready to talk with him.
Midnight approached. Peter had put away his books some time ago. Just as he decided to get ready for bed, there came a soft tap at his door. He opened it; to his relief and delight a tearful cascade of blonde hair stood in the doorway. He couldn't help noticing how much of Rose's figure he could see through her night dress, before summoning his thoughts with a jolt back to her words.
“I'm sorry!” Rose sobbed as she became the first girl ever to fling her arms around him. Peter stood there, at once stunned, grateful, and tremendously affirmed. She hugged him as passionately as she'd shouted at him earlier, at once seeking comfort and offering it.
She stayed and chatted for about 20 minutes, assured him she'd be glad to go with him to the dance after all, and left feeling suitably consoled, understood, and listened to. After he'd said goodnight to her and closed his door, Peter finally got ready for bed, reflecting as he did so on what he'd seen, heard, felt, and learned that evening.
It was not after all a cruel joke that he appreciated the beauty of a woman. Some of them at least found him attractive too, for reasons which were frankly beyond him. But what made him happiest of all was this: even as he treasured the memory of the sight of Rose in the doorway, the smell of her hair, and the fierce warmth of her embrace, he was even happier about something else.
He was glad that he hadn't given in to the momentary urge to kiss her, pull her gently into the room, and kick his door closed behind her. If he'd done so, Peter knew in his heart that no amount of soft words or physical passion would have resolved their differences or satisfied their desires.
He might well have enjoyed becoming Rose's first boyfriend, but it wouldn't have been either the right thing or the smart thing to do. He was more certain than ever that God didn't want him to do it. As he drifted off to sleep, a still, small voice reminded him of an ancient proverb.
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Prov 16.32, NKJV)
Peter smiled, and closed his eyes for the last time that day with a brief prayer of thanks to the Lord for His strength, His wisdom, and His immense love. Long since happily married to “the amazing Grace”, Peter prayed then, and prays still from time to time, that Rose will come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ too.
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