Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bouncebackability (06/05/14)
- TITLE: Gone the Shadow
By Joe Moreland
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I heard a name called. I don't know whose it was, but I know it was a name. Sort of like when you watch a Charlie Brown special and the teacher speaks to one of the Peanuts in that weird trumpety sound; “Wah-wa-wuh-wah-wa waahh.”
Somehow, you know what it means. I knew it was a name. Someone in the row ahead of me stood up, and, with his head hanging low, began to move to the front.
There was an interminable silence, then, suddenly I heard my own name called out.
“Don't!” A voice hissed in my ear. I turned my head from side to side, but no one was there. Just blank faces. I knew none of them had spoken. I wouldn't have.
Again my name was announced. “Don't stand up!” Came the raspy hiss.
I couldn't help myself. There was a compulsion in the calling of my name. I had to stand. Lowering my head, as the other man had, I began to make my way towards the front.
“Don't you know what this is? You're walking to your doom!”
A dread crept over me. What if the voice was right? Was I walking to my own execution? Was this the end? Suddenly I was fearful of what was going to happen and my step faltered just enough to make me stumble.
As I regained my balance, I could still feel it—the compulsion. It drew me forward and, one hesitant step after another, I began to make my way again.
The fear was still there, but so was the knowledge that I had to do this. Without ever looking up from the floor, I made my way to the front. A new voice spoke, this one gentle, with a golden baritone that soothed my fear and restored a bit of my courage.
“You must look at me.” I looked up. “Do you know me?”
I fell to my knees. “Yes Lord. I know you!” I cried. Tears were streaming from my eyes.
Suddenly there was a shadow off to the side. I knew without a doubt that it was the source of the voice. A shape was all it was. Not a man, not an angel. Not anything I could recognize.
“This one is mine!” The voice hissed out loud. I realized, quite suddenly, that the other times I'd heard it were just within my own mind.
The Lord did not look at the shadow. He did not even acknowledge it's presence. Looking back, I'm not even sure anymore that anyone but me could see or hear it. The Lord looked into my eyes.
“What have you done?” He asked. The words hit me like a wrecking ball. The same thing that was asked of Adam. Suddenly it was hard to breathe, but I knew what I had to do.
Looking my Lord straight in the face, I confessed. I confessed all. The pack of gum I stole at age seven. The lies I told my grandmother in feeble attempts to stay out of trouble. The times I wished my uncle was dead. The thoughts of lust, coveting, hatred and jealousy. The drinking, drugs and gambling. I don't know how I remembered it all.
As I spoke I became more and more overwhelmed by the sheer volume and began to panic. It was too much. I had accepted Christ at fourteen. The worst of what I was confessing to had happened long after that day. It was far too much. What had I been thinking? How had I done all of these things?
There was no shape to the shadow, but I could tell it was now smirking. It had won. I was lost.
No sooner had the last sin, the one that I had committed just moments before my death, fallen from my lips did Jesus speak again.
“What have I done?”
For a moment I was at a loss. Then it hit me. Hope blazed inside, burning away the fear.
“Lord, you have loved me. You have forgiven all.”
A smile creased His shining face. “Well done.”
The shadow was gone.
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