Dear Reading Friends and New Subscribers, my novels are usually about heroes who risk their lives against all odds to save the innocent. However, we are all aware that there is a daily personal battle we all face against sin and the world. In an effort to keep up appearances in Suburbia, America, Chris Grable’s faith was slipping away as sin won his attention. Here is his story. I pray this story will help even one soul. See you on your knees.–David Telbat
by D.I. Telbat
Leaning on the bathroom counter, Chris Grable lifted his head and looked into the mirror. He forced a smile, just to see the fake emotion he could still counterfeit. But the smile faded quickly, like it did when he was at work, or at a church event with his family. He was miserable.
Fake and counterfeit had defined Chris’s life for more years than he could count. The slide had been gradual, but real. On the outside, he had remained patient with his children and understanding toward his wife from day to day, but inside, he was in turmoil. The outer discipline without the inner peace was beginning to take a toll. He was exhausted from pretending to be a good Christian.
His phone buzzed next to his hand, and he glanced at the screen. It was Brody, a coworker from the office, inviting him to a club after work. It was the same coworker who passed around porn at the office and shared jokes that Chris laughed at to be included. But all the years of compromise had only contributed to this moment.
All those years of trying to fit in, to stabilize, to maintain—Chris felt himself slipping away. He’d been so good at hiding his secret sins and sinful habits that his own family was ignorant of them. Men at church, he suspected, who were especially discerning, might have sensed something was amiss at the last potluck. He had cursed a youth who had run by and bumped him, causing him to spill red punch on his white shirt. Ever since the potluck, Chris had avoided those men by sitting closer to the back of the sanctuary on Sundays to dart out the back door after the pastor’s message.
Also secretly, Chris had signed up online for self-help groups where he could remain anonymous. Those groups were supposed to be helping him. The porn habits had become uncontrollable, and the bottle of liquor in his office desk had led to a case in his garage. He was inappropriate with a single woman at work and he fantasized about excursions that could ruin his marriage.
But none of the men’s groups were helping to change him. After all the weeks he’d applied himself to self-improvement, all he’d achieved was to deepen his guilt and to better hide his habits. Or he would do well for a week, then he would binge-sin as his flesh starved for attention. Deceit seemed his only character trait, and he knew it would begin to emerge into his home life before long. The things he’d begun as moments of pleasure were somehow controlling and ruining him from the outside in. And nothing was helping.
“But you haven’t tried everything,” Chris said to the bathroom mirror.
“You say something, honey?” his wife called from the bedroom. She was about to take the kids to school.
He didn’t respond to her, but remained focused on the fraud in the mirror. All the men’s groups and self-help programs had only strengthened his ego and disciplined his flesh. The problem, he knew, was that he was still living in the dark. God alone knew his sins, but Chris hadn’t brought all those sins into the light of the Cross.
Though he was no Bible scholar, he knew from experience that everything he kept in the dark was what Satan was using against him. Satan was keeping him in bondage to habits too big for himself, and holding him in self-condemnation because his habits held his attention.
“It’s time,” he whispered to the mirror. “It’s gonna be harder before it gets better. It’s gonna be painful at first, but at least you’ll be genuine again.”
When Chris left the bathroom, the kids were jabbering at the dining table as they ate breakfast, and his wife was finishing making their lunches. He went into the kitchen and embraced her, then held her at arm’s length. She had a surprised look on her face, since he normally darted out the door for work with barely a remark.
“After you take the kids to school, we need to talk,” he said. “I’m not going to work today. I’ll be here when you get back.”
“What?” She drew back a little. “Chris? What are you saying? You’re scaring me.”
“Don’t be scared. Everything’s going to be okay.” His eyes watered and his throat constricted for a moment. “I love you, but I need your help. I want to get back to being the man you married. Even better than that man. The man who wanted to serve God.”
“I do miss that man.” She frowned, then brightened, and laid her hand on his chest. “But it’s good to know he’s still in there somewhere.”
“It’ll take a miracle to straighten me out. There are things—”
“God’s been known to do a miracle or two here and there. That’s what we can trust Him for.”
While she ran the kids to school, Chris poured the case of liquor down the bathtub drain, and permanently erased extensive links from the laptop. It was just a start, but he already felt better. Finally, he sat down to wait at the dining table, and opened his Bible to Psalm 32.
Then he wept.
The End of Slipping Away.
If you are struggling, friend, there is hope and relief for you. Find a solid Christian pastor or friend to help you and hold your hand through this time as you get straight with God. “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Ever.
NOTE: Now visit our new book page for STEADFAST Book Four here! New story, new cover, and new description coming soon!
Prayer Prompt: Pray for light to penetrate the darkness of North Korea, and pray for safety for covert workers sharing in this dark land. From Voice of the Martyrs news:
“VOM is working with Christian partners in the region to illuminate North Korea with the light of Christ.
We use a variety of methods to smuggle Bibles into the highly restricted nation. Distributing Christian literature in print and electronic formats, we not only help North Korean Christians survive but also equip them to share the gospel with their countrymen.
We are grateful for American Christians who partner with VOM in this work. We especially value the trust you place in us by supporting our covert operations in North Korea, understanding that we’ll never be able to fully report the nature and extent of the work you support.
As North Korean leaders boast of war readiness and threaten missile strikes, our Christian brothers and sisters in that nation stand ready for a very different kind of battle — a spiritual battle — supported with prayer and clothed in the full armor of God.
In a nation where citizens are expected to report any suspicious activity to authorities, studying the Bible is extremely dangerous, even underground.
VOM supports secret training sites where Christians are discipled. VOM also supports evangelism efforts and the distribution of Bibles and Christian literature in North Korea. We invite you to partner with us in this vital work.”
NOTE: This fall we are releasing D.I. Telbat’s novel based on a covert mission in North Korea, Fury in the Storm (previously titled Sea Scribe). Visit the page link for more about the story and when you can expect this covert suspense. Watch for the news of this book to be FREE at ALL retailers for a limited time at initial release!
COMING UP: Join us on Wednesday as Dee Peeks from behind the screen for the “August 2017 Current Novel News for D.I. Telbat.” And for next Monday, join us for Part 2 of “Get to Know the D.I. Telbat Heroes.”