Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WASTE (10/11/18)
TITLE: Fighting for My Life
By Trudy Newell
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I snatched Liz’s purse. “Why did you steal my money?”
“Come on Jack, don’t you remember the gambling debt?” Liz said as she tugged at the bag to recapture it.
“You liar, I never borrowed money from you!” I fumbled with her wallet and found the $200.
Then I realized how quiet the bar had become. I looked up to see four thugs come at me with knives in their hands.
I trembled as I reached for my 45. I’ve got to do something, or I’ll die. I’m a fool. Oh God, please help me. My knees shook as I squeezed the trigger again and again. The next thing I knew one of the men lay in a pool of blood.
I fled for my life. My brain insisted it was self-defense, but guilt and shame engulfed me. I swallowed bile and smelt the blood. The memory was forever etched in my brain.
I groaned. Oh, why do I always date such losers? They get me into trouble. I only wound up in this brawl at this miserable bar because Liz dragged me here.
Oh, life was easier when I was four. I remember someone talking to Mom, “Your son will go far.”
She blushed and smiled, “Yes, Jack is something special.”
What a mess I’d made. I wanted to scream. but put my head in my hands instead, How did I go from protecting my sisters, attending Youth for Christ rallies, and planning to be a missionary to hanging out at the Viking Bar.
When I was fifteen we’d moved. Swallowing back the tears I remembered succumbing to peer pressure. At first I carried my Bible everywhere, even to school. Then I started hanging out with Walter. My Bible was quickly replaced with a pack of smokes, whisky, and even cocaine.
I lived a double life. At home and church, I was the Jack everyone loved. I hid things from my family and friends, but I couldn’t hide them from God.
Rather than take advantage of the science scholarship I was awarded, I attended the Bible College my dad had attended. Dad acted pleased and proud, yet I still lived a double life. I couldn’t get away from my drinking buddies and girlfriends. I was a Bible-college student by day, but I boozed the night away. As smart as I was, my grades slipped. Dad and Mom seemed to believe the lies I told. But I was only fooling myself. After two years the college politely asked to leave.
My nightmarish brawl took place eight years later in Los Angeles, where shootings and stabbings were so common that cops didn’t take them seriously. So, for two years I continued working at a service station. Then one day the cops showed up. Sure enough, Liz had turned me in. It was ruled as self-defense, but because of questions the courts threw me into prison for a year. I don't understand it all but I was put on probation, though I was never convicted.
Praise the Lord I walked out of prison a free man, and I also walked away from the wrong crowd. My parole officer helped me find a job driving a truck. I knew the Lord had forgiven me, but how in the world was I going to put my life back together? I needed a church home and the right kind of friends.
Then I bumped into Walter again. “Oh, great!” I thought and walked away. I didn’t want to go down that road ever again.
But Walt ran after me. “Jack, please, wait.”
I stopped and stared at him.
“Look, I apologize for the way I led you into all that garbage years ago. I’m so sorry; can you forgive me? I’m not the same man anymore.”
I listened in amazement as he shared how the Lord Jesus had transformed his life. “Look, we have a great men’s group at church. We met every Tuesday morning for breakfast and prayer. Why don’t you join us tomorrow?”
We had a cup of coffee together and he told me about his job at Waste-Pro. Now, not only do Walt and I attend the same church, but I drive a Waste-Pro trash truck. Collecting garbage was not my idea of a career. Yet, God has been good to me. I am so thankful that God rescued me from a totally wasted life.
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