It’s Monday morning, a day like any other. You wake up, eat breakfast, kiss your wife and son goodbye, and go to work. You put in 8 hours. The day is done. As you drive home, you turn on the radio and search for a station:
“That was Rich Mullins with Awesome God. Hi, I’m Phil Davis on WKMO the big E-Z. And now for the weather: tonight partly cloudy with a sticky 80 degrees. For tomorrow: slightly muggy with a 50% chance of showers.
In the world today: The Bank of America Corp. said Friday it would cut as many as 10,000 jobs as it changes its focus from growing through mergers to becoming more profitable through use of technology and operating efficiency.
And finally tonight, a report from the remote village of Samair, India, where four villagers are dead after contracting a mysterious flu-like illness. Doctors are continuing their investigation into the deaths.”
It’s not influenza, but 3 or 4 fellows are dead. It’s kind of interesting actually. They’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it. After a few days have passed, you’ve forgotten all about it, but on Sunday while you’re coming home from church, you hear another radio spot:
“What began with four villagers just days ago has now spread to over 30,000 people in the back hills of India. The center for Disease Control in Atlanta announced today that they are sending in a team of doctors to investigate and analyze this apparent new strain of flu. Officials from the CDC also reported that a main priority for the team would be to try and contain the outbreak before it spreads to the surrounding countries.
By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story:
“The “mystery flu” as it is now known has spread to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The U.S. President released a statement today saying that he joins everyone in praying for the people of the infected countries and he is confident that all will go well in containing the outbreak and finding a cure. The president announced that the U.S. will provide medical aid to the countries that face this outbreak.
We have just received word that the president of France has closed all borders to that country. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this “mystery flu” has been reported will be allowed into the country. However, this action may have been taken to late; we have just confirmed that there is a man lying in a hospital room in Paris apparently dying of flu like symptoms. The “mystery flu” has hit Europe.”
Panic strikes! As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then, you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. Then, you die. Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. It’s already in South Hampton, Liverpool, and North Hampton. On Tuesday morning, the President addresses the Nation:
“We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The President of the United States is preparing to address the nation. We now go live to the White House”
“My fellow Americans, due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If you have loved ones that are overseas, they will have to stay there until we contain or find a cure for this “mystery flu”. I ask all Americans to pray that a quick resolution to this situation can be found.”
Within 4 days, our Nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what will happen if the “mystery flu” comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.” It’s Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Quick, turn on a radio!”
And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made:
“We can now confirm that there are two women in a Long Island hospital dying of the “mystery flu”. Within hours, it is expected to spread across the county. The center for disease control announced that it has personnel working around the clock to find a vaccine for this new deadly strain of flu. We now have reports of outbreaks in California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s sweeping in from the borders.”
In a desperate effort to slow the spread of the disease, the President institutes Martial Law. It seems like forever that you are locked up in your house with plastic taped over the windows and ventilation ducts. Nobody is allowed outside but the military patrolling the streets and men in yellow environmental suits going from door to door collecting bodies and loading them onto large flatbed trucks to be taken away and burnt. Things seem very bleak. You and your family spend hours praying for salvation to come. Just when things seem their bleakest, a ray of light pierces the darkness. As you are listening to the new updates on the radio, an announcement comes across the emergency broadcasting system
“This is not a test. I repeat, this is not a test. The President of the United States has activated the emergency broadcasting system to announce that a cure for the mystery flu can be found. The code has been broken, and a vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of someone who hasn’t been infected, and so the President is asking all Americans to go to your local hospital and have a blood sample taken. It’s imperative that everyone be tested. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this time of national emergency.”
You go to the hospital and stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and if this is the end of the world. Suddenly, a young lady comes running out of the hospital screaming. She’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? She yells it again! Your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me!”
Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!”
“It’s okay. His blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he’s got the right type!”
Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week. An old doctor walks up to you.
“Thank you, sir. Your son hasn’t contracted the disease. His blood type is perfect. It’s clean. It is pure, and we can use it to make the vaccine.”
As the word begins to spread all across the parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside.
“May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor, and we need you to sign a consent form.”
You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. “H-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades.
“We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”
“You don’t understand. We are talking about the whole world here! Please sign. There is no other way! We need it all. Will you sign?”
In numb silence, you do. They offer you a moment alone with your son before they begin. Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table to answer his question, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?”
Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you very much, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”
When that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying!”
Can you leave? Can you walk out while your son is saying, “Dad? Mom? Why are you leaving me?”
Next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, some folks sleep through it, some don’t come because they go to the lake, and some come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care. Would you want to jump up and say?
“My son died! Don’t you care?”
Is that what God wants to say?
“My son died! Don’t you know how much I care?”
After living what I felt was a “decent” life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened, and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around, I saw the “prosecutor.” He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me; I felt I knew Him.
The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, “Let us begin.”
The prosecutor rose and said, “My name is Satan, and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.”
He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and times when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life, and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life – couldn’t that at least equal out part of the harm I’d done?
Satan finished with a fury and said, “This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged, and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.”
When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, “Hi, Dad,” and then He turned to address the court. “Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned. I won’t deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.”
Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, “However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life, and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine.”
My Lord continued with, “His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice but rather mercy.”
As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, “There is nothing else that needs to be done. I’ve done it all.”
The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips… “This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.”
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, “I won’t give up, I will win the next one.”
I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, “Have you ever lost a case?”
Christ lovingly smiled and said, “Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, “PAID IN FULL.”
With Christmas just days away, I should have been excited, but I wasn’t. The part-time job I had during my senior year kept me in a miserable mood much of the time. I was a custodian for my church. I disliked getting up on Saturday mornings while my friends slept in. I despised the ugly, drab, gray shirt that had my name stitched above one pocket.
Most of all, I hated the work. It was dirty and messy, and it seemed like people were always calling me to do things they didn’t want to do. “Gwen, sweep up this mess!” “Gwen, put this away!”
What made things even worse on this particular Saturday was that I had to clean a room where a bunch of little kids had spent the night. The church had held an all-night party for several children of needy families in our community. They’d left about an hour ago—leaving behind one big mess for me to clean up.
As I swept and scrubbed, I felt a cold draft coming from the hallway. I put down my cleaning materials and followed the chilly breeze to one of the outside doors. A window had been broken and shards of glass were scattered across the linoleum floor. As I sighed over yet another job to do, the adult in charge of the overnight party walked up. He looked at me, shook his head and said, “One of the children did it. He broke it so he could unlock the door. I’m really sorry . …” The sound of his voice faded as I thought, I can’t believe some kid broke the window! How irresponsible! How disrespectful of the church’s property!
With anger mounting inside, I found a cardboard box and began picking up the sharp, jagged pieces. That’s when I spotted a small, grubby hand reaching through the broken window. I looked more closely and saw the head and shoulders of a chubby-faced boy about 8 or 9 years old. His expression was mean and defiant.
“Hey!” I yelled. “Get in here!”
For some reason, and in spite of his defiant look, he obeyed.
“Did you break this window? I don’t even have to ask, do I? What made you do such a stupid thing?”
“My mom was s’posed to come get me,” he answered. “But she never came, and I wanted back in.”
“Didn’t anyone ever teach you that you don’t break a window when you want inside? You knock until someone comes.”
“I knocked but no one came,” he replied. “It was cold outside.”
“That’s no excuse. Breaking a window is wrong.”
Finishing my lecture, I grabbed the cardboard box, turned and walked out of the room, leaving the boy standing by himself.
As I stomped back toward the janitor’s closet, I began thinking over what had just happened. I thought about the little boy with the defiant face. I thought about the bitter wind that whipped through the broken window. I thought about the thin jacket the boy wore. I thought about how desperate he must have been to get out of the cold—desperate enough to risk cutting himself on the broken window. And I thought about the needy, impoverished families who had sent their children to the overnight program.
Currently listening to Mandisa’s Overcomer and Hello by Matthew West while writing this; amazing, beautiful songs by the way! Guess that explains the title because I was so blank on what to call this! Anyhu, I feel so happy, excited and thrilled right now, am not sure if you can feel it :). For starters, this […]
One Saturday night, a pastor was working late and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM, but his wife didn’t answer the phone. The pastor let it ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn’t answer but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he tried again, she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn’t answered before, and she said that it hadn’t rung at their house. They brushed it off as a fluke and went on their merry ways.
The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone that he’d used that Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he’d called on Saturday night. The pastor couldn’t figure out what the man was talking about.
Then the man said, “It rang and rang, but I didn’t answer.”
The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he’d intended to call his wife.
The man said, “That’s okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, ‘God if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign now.’ At that point, my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, ‘Almighty God’. I was afraid to answer!”
The church that the pastor attends is called Almighty God Tabernacle.
If Gandalf isn’t the wisest character in the history of novels, then I don’t know who is. Okay, Atticus Finch might give him a run for his money. I just love Gandalf. His wisdom, patience, his incredible display of force when needed, and his discernment of when to use said force. He’s one of my […]
“Just for a moment I was back at school, and felt that old familiar pain.” — Dan Fogelberg, “Same Old Lang Syne” —– Last night, from afar, I witnessed something that broke my heart. Two high school kids I know rather well through my job of covering their exploits as student-athletes appeared to have broken up. […]