Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TRIAL (05/10/18)
- TITLE: Counterclaim
By Jody Day
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“Highly inappropriate for a joke, man, even if you are a history major,” Nick answered. “That had to be some real suffering.” He took the pencil out of his mouth.
“Real suffering is what I see on your face, and all that consternation won’t help you pass that Psych exam tonight.” Mark plopped down on his bed. “Relax, you’re too serious.”
“It’s not just a Psych exam. It’s a test to see if I qualify for the intern program. They are only taking two for next year. It’s crucial that I verify my ability to understand abstract thinking.“ Nick dropped his head into his hands.
“Look, Roomie, I’ve never known you to be unprepared. Remember, keep it simple. The obvious answer is the best one.”
“Said the guy who deals with dates and concrete facts. Ack!” Nick fell over on his bed and covered his head with a pillow.
“Ok, listen. Remember why you’re doing this. I’ve got to get to the library, and I’ll pray for you as I’m walking over.” Mark grabbed his backpack and headed for the door. He opened it but looked back. “Keep it simple.”
Why am I doing this? The stress of the Psychology class made him forget sometimes. He wanted to be a counselor, one that based his help on God’s Word. The class had been the most insane mixture of outrageous, ridiculous ideas, and some wisdom. If it weren’t required, he’d never have signed up for it.
He added his prayers to Mark’s. Father, I can’t even study anymore. Help me to get this right. Dr. Tiedman is so hard. He hates that I’m a Christian. It feels like he designs the tests for me to fail. I’m just gonna give this up to you now.
Nick headed to the Psychology building. He prayed on every breath. His phone dinged a text notification just as he entered the building. It was from Mark.
“Hey. Look what I found. 1 Corinthians 1:27. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. Keep it simple. You got this. “
Nick sent a quick thumbs-up, and then entered the classroom. Eight other hopefuls for the intern program sat like stones at their desks. He took his seat.
Mr. Tiedman entered the room wearing his signature haughty expression. Nick had seen plenty of it this semester. He’d spent more time preparing to defend his faith than he had studying. Each time Tiedman demanded Nick give an answer for his faith, he was royally shot down with some abstract idea. The professor didn’t allow a rebuttal, but would begin to grill the next student. Nick was certain that Dr. Tiedman would make him write an essay on the existence of God for this exam.
Dr. Tiedman set the exam book on Nick’s desk. Was that a smirk? He definitely heard a chuckle. He opened the test and nearly choked. One word.
The other students began to write feverishly. For nearly an hour they wrote, while Nick just stared at the one word question. Why did he believe in God? He glanced at his professor. Tiedman’s sardonic, triumphant grin made Nick’s stomach twist like a tornado. Mark’s words came to mind. Keep it simple. He mulled over the scripture and tried to think of how to apply it to his current crisis.
The other students turned in their exam books and left.
“Two minutes, Nick.” Dr. Tiedman put the other booklets in his briefcase and held out his hand toward Nick.
Nick wrote one word on the exam booklet, closed it, stood, and approached his professor. “Here you go, Sir. I can’t say I enjoyed our debate this semester, but I have to thank you for making me have a solid answer for my faith. I thought a lot about your arguments. I hope you’ll think about what I said about Jesus Christ.”
“How’d it go? Mark asked, back at the dorm.
“He asked ‘Why?’ I answered ‘BECAUSE.’”
The following week, Nick learned that he’d made the cut, but even more surprised that Dr. Tiedman requested to be his advisor.
“Whoa, sounds like he wants a piece of you,” Mark said.
Or maybe what I've said is sinking in. Challenge accepted.
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