Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)
TITLE: A Thief In The Night
By Pauline Carruthers
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Pounding fists on solid wood. Masculine shoulders thrusting in futile attempts to budge the heavy oak door. Furious voices yelling. I’m alone. The Lord had taken my husband home many months ago. I knew what I had to do, but shock and fear held me in its vice like grip. I had griped about there only being one door to this old stone cottage, but now a deep gratitude filled my soul. Snatching up my Bible, left open at the book of Revelation, I was propelled forward as if my body had a mind of its own.
“Lord Jesus. They are here. I’m in Your hands.
As if on wings like eagles, one hand over my mouth catching gasping breaths, I silently fled down cold stone steps to the basement. The bag was there by the hidden door, alongside my boots. I praised my God who had led us to renovate this historical, once dilapidated cottage on the edge of the woods. And gave thanks that my dear husband had painstakingly made sure I would be able to find the exact location of the hidden stone in the thick walls. Safely in the tunnel I rested until the thudding of my heart abated, hoping its secrecy would never be discovered.
Darkness engulfed me like a shroud. I felt buried alive. The bag weighed heavy on my arm.
“Oh Heavenly Father. Am I like the church in Ephesus. Have I forsaken my first love? Have I fallen from the heights when I loved You with an indescribable passion? If I have, then I repent. I’m so afraid.”
A scratching and scuffling in the darkness set my heart thumping against my ribs. Unseen terrors lurked in every direction. Choking sobs and the confusion of sightlessness exacerbated the fears. Forcibly thrusting my body forward my shoulders brushed against the earthen walls of the tunnel, exaggerating its narrowness. I felt trapped beneath mountains of soil. Stifling panic rose in my throat, trembling limbs threatened collapse.
“Oh precious Lord. Am I about to suffer like the church in Smyrna. I’m afraid of being imprisoned and persecuted. Could I be faithful, even to the point of death? Will I be like the church in Pergamum and not renounce my faith in You?”
Stumbling in claustrophobic darkness I willed my body forward. Progress was slow. My breath was coming in bursts, my feet hesitant on uneven ground. There was nothing but silence, except for my erratic breathing. Terror encompassed my very soul.
“ Lord Jesus. I need You now like never before. Please save me from Your enemies and mine. Like the church in Thyatira I have served You with perseverance, love and faith. Help me now to overcome and to hear what the Spirit says.”
There is still no light at the end of the tunnel. The bag is heavy and drags along the ground. My weary feet slip. My mind fills with dread. The silence is like the sound of death.
“My Saviour, I have served You in a church like the church in Sardis. Have my deeds been complete in Your sight? Will I be like one who overcomes? Like those in the church in Philadelphia have I endured patiently. Please keep me from the hour of trial that is about to come on the earth.”
I can see the door at the end of the tunnel. What will I find on the other side? What awaits me there? Terror rises in my throat and I can barely breathe. I want to stay in the safety of this tomb. Is it better to die trapped here or to face the enemy and what it will cost to preserve my faith.
“Gracious Father, If I am merely lukewarm in my faith, like the church in Laodicea, then in earnest repentance I beg Your forgiveness. Please fill me with courage and help me to overcome.”
Fearfully I tug at the tiny door. It creaks open a sliver and without warning a powerful arm reaches out, yanking my body through and flinging me to the hard ground. I feel my heart thudding in my chest. A dull aching pain in my arm. A scream of terror resounds in my head. Then there is nothing but the vastness of silence.
I stir, my head jerks to one side, my eyes flick open. The pain in my arm deadens as my Bible falls onto my pillow. It lies open at the Book of Revelation.
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