Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: The Chance Meeting
By Joyce Sykes
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“Oh, hi Julie. I didn’t see you. How are you?”
“Doing great and you?”
“Busy as always. You know how it is.”
“Yea. I’m glad we met. You’ve been on my heart lately. Can we get together for lunch this week?”
“I am so sorry but I’m in the middle of Vacation Bible School every night. I just stopped here long enough to get cereal and microwave meals. There is no time for cooking. Tomorrow is Meals on Wheel. You know that is really a great way to minister. Then after that, I serve as a volunteer at the Senior Citizen Center. On Thursdays, it’s Bible study and ladies prayer. Fridays are super busy.”
“Gee, that seems like a lot. Well, maybe we can meet one evening for supper. I really want to spend some time with you.”
“That sounds so nice; let me look at my calendar,” quickly the hurried young woman pulls a calendar out of the front pocket of her shoulder bag. Flipping to the current month, event after event filled each slot. Sadly, Julie sees a repeating pattern.
“Michelle, you need to slow down. That is just too much for anyone.” her eyes welling up with moisture. A quick silent prayer fills her heart. ‘Lord, give me the words to minister truth to my friend.’
“I know, but the Scripture does say to “work out your salvation.” A slightly lopsided smile doesn’t quite meet the sorrow and pain in her eyes.
“Michelle, that doesn’t mean the Lord expects you to strive 24 – 7. “
“I know, but I have to do everything possible for God! He has done so much for me; I have to be about His work and…”
“He never meant for you to strive and struggle to be super woman. If you don’t mind me asking. When was the last time you spent any time in sweet fellowship with the Lord?”
The young woman briefly hung her head shaking it from side to side. “I really don’t remember. But He understands; He has too!” Michelle fidgeted from side to side.
“He loves you and sees your heart, but the Lord desires a relationship with you. It’s not about what you do for Him. With everything you are doing you never have time to hear from Him, to fellowship with Him. You can’t earn you salvation. It’s a free gift.”
“I know that! I just feel differently about it than you. Besides, I have all the people depending on me. If I don’t do it, who will? I think I am doing the right thing. I got to go, I am late.” glancing at her watch.
“Please, can’t we talk,” Julie’s pleading eyes watched the expression now pasted on her friend’s face. Sadness welled up with the reality this conversation had ended.
“It was nice seeing you. I’ll call about meeting you sometime. Bye,” without a backwards glance, the young woman rushed away, feeling Julie’s eyes watching her every move. ‘I really didn’t need that today. Just who does she think she is? I know the Word as good as she does. I sure hope she doesn’t hold her breath waiting for my call.’
In the days and weeks that followed both women often remembered their brief encounter. Each time, Julie lifted her dear friend up before the Lord yet Michelle struggled with her imagined offense.
Two months later:
Ring! Ring! Ring!
“Hello,” Julie’s lovely voice sang out over the phone lines.
At first, she heard nothing, and then the sound of someone crying whispered in her ear.
“Hello? Is anyone here? Hello?”
“Julie, it’s, it’s … Michelle. I really need to talk,” the sounds of sniffles and hic-ups continued to fill the earpiece. Julie issued a quick prayer. “Please Lord, touch her heart.”
“Yes, just name the place and time. I’ll be there.”
“Could you come over here, now? I really don’t want to be out where people can see me. I really look awful.”
“Give me twenty minutes and I’m on my way.”
“Thanks, Julie. You are a good friend, especially after our last meeting,” once more, the phone line carried the sounds of sobbing.
“Just hang on. I’ll be there in just a few minutes. Michelle, the Lord loves you and so do I. I’m coming!”
“Thank you, Father!” Julie breathes a quick prayer rushing out the door.
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