Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WEATHER (07/19/18)
TITLE: God is Real?
By Linda Lawrence
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Could I take the book? No . . . But wouldn't it be good for me to keep reading it again and again so I could be like my teacher? I could sneak the book into my empty lunchbox and no one would know. Would God know? No . . . He wasn't real, was He? He was just someone in a book, like Sally and Jerry. I liked pretending I was in their adventures. But a pretend God? He was more like my father, who always told me what to do. So, no, I wouldn't pretend God was real. That would be scary. I wanted to be good because I didn't like being in trouble, but I couldn't be good enough for God.
When the closing bell rang and the class was dismissed, I kept my head down as I carried my reader, hidden in the folds of my skirt. Since we each had a small cubicle in the hall, it wasn't too hard to transfer the book into my lunch box without anyone noticing. I just wished my heart wasn't pounding so hard.
I went home to my parents and sister. We lived in a small trailer house on the outskirts of Mountain Home, Idaho, surrounded by sand and sagebrush; but I could imagine I really lived in a white house on a tree-lined Street in Friendly Village. It had a river running through it.
However, what was real was the trailer house, the horses in the riding stable my father was managing, the corrals, the tool shed, the outhouse, and sagebrush and more sagebrush.
At least I had one anticipated adventure of Summer vacation coming - swimming lessons. The day the lessons were to start began like any other day, but then something very out of the ordinary happened. Low on the horizon, we saw a looming dark cloud stretching for miles, rolling towards us.
“It's a sandstorm,” my mother said. “You two get inside, quick.” My sister and I were hustled inside the trailer. My father soon joined us and wet some kitchen towels for us to hold over our faces. While the windy cloud of dust pounded against our tin house, my heart also pounded. The air was thick with sand that stung our skin and covered everything with grit. There was even sand inside the fridge. The outhouse was blown over onto its side. But what upset me was the disappearance of my swimsuit, which had been hanging on a clothesline. I wanted to go to the swimming lesson!
I scrunched my eyes closed and pleaded, “Please, God, help me find my swimsuit.” Unlike the occasional rote ”Now I lay me down to sleep. . .” this was my first real prayer. A prayer of desperation. To my surprise, when I opened my eyes I saw my swimsuit in the distance, across the road, caught in the sagebrush. Wow! God was real!
I was seven years old. Stealing the school book is my earliest memory of deliberately sinning, fully conscious of doing something wrong. Crying to God to help me is my earliest memory of praying, and being convinced God heard me and answered. Finding my swimsuit caught in the sagebrush was as faith building to me as Abraham's finding a ram in a thicket.
God didn't say a word to His disobedient daughter about Friendly Village, but years later when I lost the book, I knew I had no right to ask God to help me find it. It never belonged to me, and I knew it. The memory of that book and God's gentle discipline of letting the misery of a guilty conscience be enough punishment never left me. And the powerful storm that followed has never been forgotten either, always connected in my mind to God revealing Himself and His power to me. I also came to recognize God's presence in my pounding heart — His knocking at my door, asking to be invited in for real adventures.
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