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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: A Trusting, Hopeful Beat
By Deborah Ann Belka


I open the newspaper and the headlines scream at me about how we are living in hard times. Thanks, but I really don’t need the reminder. I know all too well just how hard times are.

With this bleak thought in mind, I push the paper aside, finish my tasteless breakfast drink, and run out the door. Jogging is my best stress releaser, so I dart off towards the park and settle into a nice pace.

With each fallen step, I begin to pound out all the things that have happened to me over the past year.

Step . . . pound . . . step . . . Both mom and dad died. Dad first, then mom, out of loneliness, I suspect.

Step . . . pound . . . step . . . My long-term relationship with Audrey, is crumbling apart since her company moved her out-of-state.

Step . . . pound . . . step . . . The place I am renting sold and I have two weeks to find another place to live.

Step . . . pound . . . step . . . My job was terminate and I was given my pink slip last night, ending a ten year career.

Pound . . . pound . . . pound . . . my heart races.

Shortly into my run, I spot Gary, a nice guy, who I casually know from church. We jog for a short time together.

“How’s it going?” Gary pants.

“Ok.” I puff out.

“Did you get the pink slip yet?”

“Sure did.”

“Wow, sorry to hear that. Jeff, I know you’re a praying man, but maybe the Lord isn’t hearing you, maybe you should try fasting too.”

Step . . . pound . . . step . . .

I keep jogging the oval track, like some rat in a cage, around and around I go. Just about the tenth
go-around, Mike from my men’s group, pulls up beside me.

“Hey, Jeff how are you doing?”

“Well, I guess as good as to be expected.”

“I was just praying for you this morning. I asked God to show you what you might be doing wrong in your life. You know, like some un-confessed sin or something like it. Maybe your heart has become hard and sin is blocking His power to work in your life.”

Step . . . pound . . . step . . .

I was finishing my last lap when I come across Derek, an elder in my church and the head of my prayer group. He is a little out of shape, so I slow down and half jog, half walk with him.

“You know Jeff, I’ve been thinking, Maybe we should sit down and go over your commitment to the Lord. Some people find a rededication brings about a renewing of the Holy Spirit. Maybe this will bring some blessings your way, instead of so many hardships.”

Step . . . pound . . . step . . .

I think about my three friends comments all the way back home. Did I need to pray harder, longer, faster, shorter? Did I have un-confessed sin in my life? Do I need to recommit my life to God?

Step . . . pound . . . step . . .

I don’t think so. I know that my relationship with the Lord is good. I know what has befallen me is not because God is punishing me for any unknown, un-confessed sin. True, I don’t understand why things have been so hard and I cannot put my finger on the root of the problem.

Step . . . pound . . . step . . .

I feel troubled that my friends could not bring me comfort and I try to shake off their comments. I know my heart is not hard towards God. I do not believe that my faith has to be renewed, changed or improved. I am confident that God is in control and at any moment, He can turn things around.

I arrive home to a ringing phone.

“Hello.” I say.

“Hi.” I hear a reassuring voice on the other end.

“Audrey, is that you?”

‘Yes Jeff it’s me. I am being transferred back home.”

Pound . . . pound . . . pound . . . my heart races . . . then softens . . . to a familiar trusting, hopeful beat.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Laughter04/30/09
I loved your writing - but it seems like there's like three stories going you could develop. I could read and read about the church members and their reaction to his tragedies. my experience SOOO True! I loved it, thanks for your courage in addressing the subject. Fun reading!!!!!