Thanks to Alana at Writercize for offering these challenging prompts! My response gave me a chance to expand on my own Ned character from last May's Z to A challenge. Reading about Ned here first may help a little bit, but no, his secret sin is not revealed yet, in either place.
Ned arrived at the bridge early. Before rush hour even had a chance to get in his way, he was there. It had been a long, long night of trouble and trial and turmoil and sleeplessness. This hadn't been the one rare rough night, but just another in a series. The warmth of the sun had yet to shine on Ned's face this morning, but the cold night air found a way up the valley, through the unfinished deck of the bridge, and right into his clothes.
A week ago Wednesday, Ned had reached the point of no return. He found himself crying out to God, as the father of the possessed boy had cried to Jesus, “If you can do anything, have pity, and help me.” And after the following weekend, when Jesus' challenge to the man (“Everything is possible for one who believes.”) had been echoing in Ned's mind, he continued the same conversation from Mark 9 as if he himself were that real man. “I do believe.....”
Ned stood overlooking the ravine far below, and smiled almost ashamedly now at the rest of that prayer he had borrowed. Always the envy of other guys his age, here he was emulating one of the most mocked characters in the Bible. Who hadn't shaken their head and laughed at the seeming contradiction of the guy who said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
So the struggle and the wrestling with God had carried on until the answer to that broken prayer had broken through this morning. In the red letters of John 16 Ned found “....in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Now with a dozen doughnuts quickly disappearing from the box he had left on the hood of his truck, the guys watched as Ned stood with all of his God-given balance on the outside ledge of that bridge, to give thanks. He closed his eyes for a moment and raised his head slightly to the sky while he quoted back to God the rhetorical question he had found in one of John's letters: "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."