Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)
TITLE: The Way
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Her husband, Andy, knelt beside her. “It’s just a Bible.”
Glaring, Shay sat up. “Grandma gave me it. I wrote notes in the margins. It’s irreplaceable.”
Andy cupped her chin in his hands. “God isn't. C’mon cheer up.”
Sniffling, she wiped her nose. “I suppose you’re right, but I just wish I could remember where I lost it.”
Lynn, a young run-away, stumbled to the park bench. She startled at the rumble of a truck. Tears streamed down her face. Blinking, her eyes rested on a tattered old book. She picked it up and read the title, The Way. Flipping through the pages, she snorted when she realized it was a Bible. She started to toss it aside when the writing in the margin caught her eye. God intends that we learn from our problems.
Shaking her head, she read Hebrews 12:10,“Our earthly fathers trained us for a few brief years, doing the best they knew how… .”
Chills tingled down her back as she clutched the book to her chest. Her father tried his best, perhaps she’d been hasty. Something clunked against her foot; she dropped the book as she retrieved a quarter. Fingering it, she tilted her head toward the stars and nodded. Gripping the coin in her hand, she jogged to the nearest pay phone.
Ryan loosened his tie as he walked through the park. This was the 100th time he had dressed in his suit, kissed his wife, and left for a job he no longer had. He slumped on the bench, despair overwhelming him. He’d depleted his retirement account to pay the rent. His eyes darted to the bridge; he’d made his decision. The suicide clause in his life insurance policy was no longer in effect. The tears fell as he thought of his four children. He believed he was contemplating suicide out of love. He was worth more dead than alive.
His foot kicked something, he glanced down. He laughed when he saw the tattered Bible. Lifting his head upward, he muttered, “Being a bit obvious, aren’t you, God?”
He picked it up, and flipped open to 3 John 1:11. “Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember those who do right prove they are God’s children… .” His eyes drifted to the handwritten note at the bottom. The work God entrusts in me may change many lives for the better.
Laughing aloud, Ryan bowed his head. "Dear Jesus, Thank you for reminding me that raising my children is my real job. Please forgive me for not trusting you.” He pulled out his cell, dialed his wife, cleared his throat, and told her the whole story. His burden lifted, he headed home.
Abbey drifted away from the crowd leaving school. Her best friend wouldn’t even walk her home. Maybe she shouldn’t have asked Lizzie to give her the answers on the tests, but what were friends for? Who would it hurt if she’d copied just this once?
She bent over to pick up a book on the ground. The pages were a tad soggy but Abbey focused on a highlighted purple verse. Purple was her favorite color, but usually people used yellow to highlight things. Her curiosity drew her eyes to 1 Corinthians 8:12, “It is a sin against Christ to sin against your brother by encouraging him to do something he thinks is wrong.” Abbey felt the blood rush to her cheeks. In the margin, were the words, Will it cause others to stumble?
Abbey felt someone watching her. Her mouth dropped open when she noticed Lizzie in front of her.
She reached over and grabbed the Bible from Abbey’s hand. “Where did you find this?”
“I’m sorry I asked you to cheat. I’ll never do it again.” Abbey jumped up and hugged her friend.
Lizzie waved the Bible. “Where did you find this?”
Creasing her brow, Abbey pointed to the ground. “There. Why?”
Lizzie’s hand covered her mouth. “It’s Mom’s. She lost it last week and has been in a snit ever since. She’s never gonna believe you found it. C’mon, hurry.”
Abbey dug her heals in. “We’re friends again?”
Giggling, Lizzie yanked her friend forward. “Of course, silly. Hurry, Mom’s gonna flip!” Lizzie placed the treasured book into her backpack and the girls skipped home.
Author’s note: Though the story is fiction, the Bible is real. The Way, a Living Bible translation, was given to me by my grandmother when I was 12. In the next 35 years, I wrote notes in the margins. Each note mentioned in the story is something I actually wrote next to the included verses. I did use a purple highlighter in one section, too.
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