Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: Caught Unaware
By RuthAnn Cornelson
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A few people out strolling in the sun stopped to listen. Others passed by with angry looks,
“It shouldn’t be allowed. Those Christians should stay in the church,” a well-dressed business man mumbled, dropping a couple bucks into the guitar case of a greasy-haired musician, dressed in black, singing a song by a goth rock band, Christian Death. Just down the path he laughed with some Hari Krishnas chanting in their orange robes.
Police cars screeched to a halt. Officers jumped out, running across green grass towards the singers. “Stop!” an officer ordered them as the others surrounded the small group. The group stood, mouths agape.
Steve, their leader, stepped forward, “Officer, can I help you?” The heavy-set policeman addressed the group, “You are all under arrest. Under the new law passed last week, it is illegal for Christians to gather or proselytize anywhere.”
Passers by stopped, curious, but immediately dispersed when they were roughly questioned whether they were part of the group. Everyone quickly denied any knowledge of the group, even some from the church who had come along for support.
The stunned believers were hand-cuffed and shoved into the police cars. A young woman called out to Steve as her head was pushed down into the car, “What should we do?” The door was slammed shut before Steve could answer. He had no answers anyway.
At the police station they were commanded to relinquish any Bibles they had. “Why? It’s not illegal to have a Bible. This is America,” Steve asserted.
“Well, it’s illegal now. Proselytizing involves Bibles. Since proselytizing is illegal, that would make Bibles illegal, right,” the officer was laughing at them now. “Don’t you Christians keep up on what’s happening? Nobody wants you around anymore, and I’m obligated to help with that.” He sounded more pleased than obligated.
It was pointless to try and hide their Bibles. The women’s purses were searched thoroughly, and everyone was patted down. Every Bible was discovered and seized.
“But my children gave me that for my birthday. Please…,” a graying, middle-aged woman pleaded to no avail.
“Bon fire tonight, guys,” the chief joked with the officers.
Later, in a jail cell, the group sat silently, except for an occasional sniffle and nervous cough. “How can this be happening?” Jennifer spoke brokenly, “This is America. This can’t be happening here!”
“That’s what we’ve always thought, even as we’ve seen the tide turning against us,” Jeff said. “It’s been happening to other Christians all over the world. Remember what it says in 1st John? ‘Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.’ John didn’t say, if Christians are hated everywhere but America, did He? Now here we are, totally surprised, unprepared. Have any of us ever really thought about what we’d do when a day like this came?”
Heads dropped, eyes staring blankly at folded hands. Steve looked around the dejected little band, “I know; it doesn’t seem possible. I honestly thought this kind of thing was still a long way off. I didn’t think I’d have to worry about what Peter said, ‘Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.’ ”
“Well, I’ll admit, I am surprised,” Jeff replied honestly, “and I don’t think we’ve even begun to feel the fiery ordeal that’s coming. I’m not sure how prepared I really am for this testing, I never thought I’d have to go through it.”
“Hey listen,” Steve addressed the group again, “What’s the first thing we did when we started talking? We started quoting scripture. You ever thought about how much scripture you know? Ever wondered what it would be like to be without our Bibles? What we need to do right away is start writing down every bit of scripture we’ve memorized. And when we get out of here, that’s the first thing we’ve got to tell every Christian, ‘Either copy out of your Bible while you have it, or write down what you’ve memorized.’ We need God’s word. Hopefully we’ve been hiding a lot of it in our hearts and meditating on it with our minds. Maybe we should have thought a bit more about the verses saying expect persecution and don’t be surprised when it comes, ‘cause here it is.”
I John 3:13 NASB
I Peter 4:12 NASB
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