TITLE: The Term Paper
By Nadine Riggs
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Tommy sat alone in his dorm room staring angrily at his paper. This was just not fair, he thought, he had poured his heart and soul into this assignment, it was a good paper, he knew it but the professor had given him a big fat “F.” “Not because it was not well written,” the professor’s note explained, “but because it disagreed with everything this country of ours is about.” The professor had gone on to explain that, “The United States of America is a democracy with a constitution that protects its people from religious zealots such as you, as it provided for the separation of church and state.”
This was so unfair, if he had chosen to write from the viewpoint of the liberal ‘Leftwing,’ instead of the religious ‘Right’ he would probably be staring at an ‘A’ instead of a failing paper. He was going to fight this; he had to. It was supposed to be an opinion paper meaning from his viewpoint which was decidedly Christian. He had never kept his Christian beliefs a secret, and he had no intention of doing so now. If someone did not start standing up for the Christians in this country they would remain unheard, and he had no intention of allowing that to happen. He had accepted the ‘Commission’ from Jesus in ‘The Judgment Line’ and he was not going to let his Savior down.
He looked up at the ceiling and shouted, “You know God sometimes it would be nice if this world You created would help just a little, instead of always fighting against anything that has to do with You. Why did you have to pick me anyway to bring Your message to this sinful world? Do I really look like a Peter or Paul? No, I am just plain Tommy Owens, and I am failing miserably at this assignment,” he finished with tears in his eyes.
In the silence after his tirade he heard a still small voice ask quietly, “Why not you Tommy? If not you, and others like you, then who would you have Me send?” Properly chastised, he quickly turned red with embarrassment as he had known the answer God would give even before he asked the question. It was the job of all Christians to spread the ‘Good news’ to the unbelievers of the world. It was disconcerting to realize that God was not only listening but also answering him and he had just yelled at the Creator of the universe, the One and Only true living God.
He smiled wryly at himself, and thought, I am very lucky He doesn’t just strike me dead for yelling at Him, but I guess I am not the first, and I probably will not be the last. He bowed his head feeling ashamed of himself, and silently said a prayer of apology to God, although he knew God would not hold it against him, at least it made him feel better to apologize. “Lord, please forgive me. I know that You promised to forgive me of my sins, and through the blood of Christ You would not only forgive them, but remove them from me ‘as far as the east is from the west,’ (Psalm 103:12, NKJV). He just wished mankind would be as forgiving, he thought sadly. But mankind seemed hell-bent on destroying itself, and sometimes I wish they would get what they deserve Lord, yet I know this is not as You would have it because for some reason You still love us. So Lord I will continue to testify, no matter how many battles I have to fight. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Now he had to plan out his defense as he had no intention of accepting this grade. This was his last paper in a long, and difficult class, and he needed to have this grade changed or it would ruin his grade point average, as this paper counted half of his semester grade, and averaging it into the rest of his grades gave him a final grade of 81.9 and he was not going to accept a ‘C’ for the semester. First he would try and talk with Dr. Jones and attempt to get him to listen to reason, and if that failed his only recourse would be to go to the dean of the department. Tommy knew he would end up having to go to the dean as he knew Professor Jones’ real reason for failing him, and it had nothing to do with religion.
A loud knock at the door brought him out of his revelry and back to the present. He jumped off the bed and went to the door. Staring out the peep hole he saw a very lovely familiar face. It was Daisy, looking at her now reminded him of the first time he met her, and although she refused to believe his story about the day in the Amusement park, he remembered it well. Opening the door he smiled brightly at her saying, “I have not seen a more beautiful face today.” As she stood there smiling he bowed at the waist and waved her in.
She was all excited about her paper waving it around and proudly saying, “I got an A, isn’t it wonderful. I know you are used to ‘A’ papers, but this is my first. ‘He said it was well written and to the point,’ thank you very much. How did you do, or need I ask ‘Mr. Valedictorian,’” she finished with a jab in Tommy’s ribs.
“Yeah like that is going to happen if I finish this simple Psychology class with a ‘C,’” he said tersely.
“Oh no, you have to be kidding me he gave you a ‘C?’ I told you he wouldn’t like it if you mentioned God in your paper. Tommy sometimes you have to leave God at the door before you enter the classroom.”
Tommy looked at Daisy shocked, and repeated, “leave God at the door.’ Daisy of all the people I thought I would hear that from, you were the last. How do you leave God at the door? He is not an overcoat you just remove when you walk inside out of the cold. We are talking about the Creator of the universe,” he finished saying a little louder then he intended.
Daisy looked at Tommy defiantly and said, “And your point is? So He created the universe, but what has He done for me? Answer me that Tommy, and don’t give me that lame story you tell everyone else about my being with you when I was in the Coma after my parents died. Because it may be a sweet story to everyone else but it’s not to me, even if it were true, which I don’t think it is, I don’t remember it so it means nothing to me.”
Tommy looked at Daisy incredulously and said, “I don’t understand, you have always insisted that it indicated that we were meant to be together. Now you are saying you do not believe it. What happened to soul mates forever?”
Daisy suddenly turned on Tommy angrily and yelled, “Soul mates forever, you know that is what my parents used to say then they died together in a car crash leaving me behind. If that is what is meant by soul mates then I am not sure I want anything to do with it. Believe it or not Tommy, having my parent’s die was not the highest point in my life. If God is so wonderful why did He take my parents from me? I needed them then, and I miss them now, everyone I know is all excited at the prospect of having their parents come to their college graduation, that is everyone but me, and why am I not excited? Because mine will not be there they are still in a grave yard rotting. So tell me why I should love God Tommy?”
Understanding her anger, Tommy reached out to take her in his arms, but she recoiled at his touch. Tommy stood back in shock at what had just happened, she had been upset in the past but she had never pulled away from him before. So with his voice barely above a whisper, Tommy asked, “Daisy what is going on here? First you insult me, and my God, and then you push me away when I attempt to show you some compassion. Have I done something to hurt you? Because if I did I’m sorry, I did not mean to, please don’t push me away.”
In answer she just stared at him with tears in her eyes and said, “You know maybe I was wrong when I said we were soul mates. I think maybe we are more different than I ever realized before, to you God is this amazing Father in heaven who gave you a new heart, and a new lease on life. To me He is the one responsible for taking my parents from me, and I cannot find any reason for His doing that except to punish either me, or my parents. So which was it Tommy? Since you are the one with an open line of communication with the Almighty, was it me, or my parents? And please do not give me that line about it being the result of this evil world, because I personally find that excuse pretty lame. You see in my book it did not just simply happen to this world, it happened to me, and my family. So don’t expect me to feel sorry for you because you got a ‘C’ in psychology class when I warned you in the first place that you should leave the religion subject alone. I’ll see you later Tommy I really don’t feel like dealing with this subject anymore,” saying that she turned and walked quickly out the door slamming it behind her.
Tommy just stood there staring at the closed door for the longest time, confused, and hurt. He had never seen Daisy like that before and he had no idea what caused her to react that way. ‘Leave God at the door,’ he repeated to himself, out loud he said, “Just how does one leave God at the door?” That is the problem with the world today everyone thinks you can leave God outside, but he knew once you started to leave God out of one part of your life it became even easier to deny Him access to any part. There was no way Tommy was going to leave God out, so now where does that leave Daisy and me, God?
Sometimes it was so hard to be a Christian in this secular society; God never said to anyone they could not be an American, a politician, a musician, etc. But society seemed to be of the opinion they could tell an individual what to believe, say, and love. It made no since to him, and as much as he loved Daisy if she intended to dictate to Tommy what he could, or could not believe he knew he would have to choose God over her. He fell to the floor on his knees for the second time this evening and prayed that Daisy would not force him to choose between having a relationship with her, or God. He finished his prayer, and found himself in tears again and he lay down on his bed allowing the tears to fall, then exhausted he drifted off to sleep.
As he slept he found himself once again standing before the ‘Mercy Seat’ but this time Jesus did not smile lovingly down at him. Instead He had a very stern look upon His face as He proclaimed, “Tommy Owens I never knew you.”
“Depart from Me, you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. (Matthew 25: 42-43, NKJV)”
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