Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: Too Late
By Tom Degerstrom
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“I don’t know Patty, it all seems far fetched to me,” Karen offered from the passenger seat as her friend drove her home from the Bible study.
“I realize Bible prophesy can be hard to understand and even scary to nonbelievers, but it all has to do with faith,” Patty replied as she motored her sedan down the street.
“Patty, I don’t mind going with you to the Bible study, but I want to keep an open mind,” Karen spoke. “I think this will help me with my religion class this semester. From what I have seen, there are many paths to God and I can’t believe a good god would allow so many to spend eternity in hell just because they chose to believe differently.”
“God doesn’t want anyone to perish, that’s why He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for each of our sins. He loves everyone he created, but we have to choose to follow Him by accepting Christ or one day, we will all have to give an account to God for our actions.” Patty explained.
Karen was silent for a moment and carefully responded, “That’s what you Christians believe but I want to check out all options and then make an informed decision.”
Patty answered, “Listen, none of us knows how long we have left. We could be killed any moment or Christ himself could return. Once that happens, it’s too late. We don’t accept Christ by knowledge, but by faith.”
“Here it is, stop!” Karen shouted, pointing to a small house on the corner. And not a minute too soon, she quipped to herself. “I’ll only be a minute,” she informed Patty as the car stopped at the curb and she hopped out to return a CD to one of her old friends.
Karen was warmly greeted by her pals. It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to the ongoing Bible study.
Karen exclaimed over the laughter, “You wouldn’t get what these people believe! Tonight we read through the book of Revelation, the book they believe tells the future. It is so far fetched, like they even believe Jesus Christ is coming back to take all of the believers out of the world…one second they’re hear, the next poof! Into heaven they go!”
Karen felt a pang of guilt as she mocked her friend’s belief and cast a quick glance through the window. Patty’s car sat idling at the curb. “Guy’s I got to go, see you tomorrow.”
The girl’s laughter at Karen’s tale could still be heard as she rushed to the passenger door and opened it. “Sorry I took so long but…” She looked over and patty was gone, even though the engine was still running and doors unlocked.
Perplexed, Karen got out of the car and looked up and down the dark street. Why would she leave with the car running? Her eyes saw lights on in a house at mid-block. She knew that Patty had friends from church that lived there and surmised she must have decided to walk over.
Karen made her way to the house to find the front door open, lights on and nobody around. “Hello?” She called out tentatively. No answer. She dared to step in and confirmed nobody was home. “Weird,” she muttered, stepping outside.
Down the street she noticed more cars stopped. She ran up to the first car to find it empty and just like Patty’s car, running and unlocked. Across the street a police car was stopped against a fire hydrant, still running and unoccupied. A sense of panic began to fill her. She ran to the intersection where more cars sat, running and empty. With great relief she saw a car pull up and stop.
“Can you tell me what’s happening?” The man asked. “I was driving along and suddenly cars all around me started veering off the road with nobody in them. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The blood drained from Karen’s face as the realization of what was happening overwhelmed her. The words from the Bible study she so easily criticized a moment ago were running through her head. Stunned and with a heart heavy with desperation, she cried out, “Jesus, I believe! Please come back, I believe now!”
Only an eerie silence met her plea and she fell to her knees, tears washing from her eyes. “If only…” she sobbed, too overwhelmed to complete the sentence. She was too late.
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