Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)
TITLE: Where is Everyone Else?
By Alan Zimmerman
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He looked around, but there was nothing to see. He started to walk, then ran or glided as heavenly beings do, and found only more empty space. He kept on and on and then something moved. He went closer and saw that it was another spirit. As he neared, the other turned to him and nodded, not seeming to be the least bit surprised by his arrival. Franklin spoke and said, “I’m Frank. I thought I was the only one here.”
The other spirit looked at him for a moment and said, “I’m Stefan and I’m the only one here. I’m the only one who has ever been here.” As they talked, they realized that they had both spent some part of eternity in solitude. “I thought that heaven must be like that,” the man continued.
Frank, though fully and completely satisfied in this place, found a level of excitement, and replied, “There must be more of us. Let’s find them!” His new friend had no urge to go with him, but followed anyway. In time, they found a third spirit, then a fourth, and a fifth. The sixth one they came by was a small, dark-skinned woman. As they all told their stories of a singular Heaven, the woman wondered aloud, “Where is everyone else? Where are our other Christian brothers and sisters?”
Frank thought a moment and said, “I’m not sure I have any. I never went to church. I was a do-it-yourself Christian. I read my Bible and prayed – by myself – and it must have worked. I’m here in Heaven.”
Stefan gave a similar account, “I had Christian friends, but we never talked about it. My God was mine. I kept Him to myself.” The other stories were the same, loving God in private, never sharing Him, never reaching out, not even to other Christians.
Frank was suddenly filled with a verse from Philippians 1:27, “…you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel.” There were so many other verses like it. What had they all missed by being solitary Christians? But sensing it was never too late, not even in eternity, he asked the others to pray with him. The cautiously held hands as they formed a circle and he prayed, “Dear Lord, we gather here to praise your Holy Name.” And with a blinding flash they were separated from each other. Franklin was in a state of nothingness. Then, barely audibly at first, he heard the sound of multitudes singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!” Then he felt the warmth of an overwhelming love that seemed like it was being poured over him and even through him. Head still bowed, he opened his eyes and saw that he was standing on a shimmering path. It was true! The streets were really made of gold! He slowly lifted his head and stared in amazement. He raised his hands and shouted, “Papa!”
They hugged each other and his father gently pulled him down to his knees and said quietly, “Where two or more are gathered, He is there. Reach out, son.” Franklin lifted his arm and felt the touch of another hand. He looked up into the face of Jesus -- his Friend and Savior.
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