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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: Convicted Too Late
By Anne Warden


Connie drove aimlessly through town, avoiding the horrific debris from yesterday’s event. She habitually turned a corner and her church stood before her. A lot of good it would do to be here now!

How had she missed it – the rising? She’d heard the piercing blast and the shout reverberating across the sky, “Your Bridegroom comes for you!” When she’d turned back to the dinner table, Rob’s place sat empty, his fork on his chair.

She found the church door unlocked. Her footsteps echoed as she headed toward the library, intent now on discovering why she’d been left behind. Hadn’t she been a good enough Christian – tithing her income, singing in the choir, faithfully helping in the soup kitchen? She’d even taught Sunday School for a while. Hadn’t she been obedient to what God had asked of her? At least what she felt comfortable doing.

Yet she’d not been taken with Rob. Why not?

Connie was about to turn down another hallway when a shadow moved across the junction. She froze and glanced toward the nearest door.

“Mrs. Marlow?”

Whirling around, she expelled the breath she’d been holding. The teen’s hair was uncombed. He was barefoot and his clothes were rumpled, like he’d slept in them. “Jeremy? What are you doing here?”

“My family’s gone. All of them. I just can’t stay in that house by myself.” His brown eyes glistened.

“Oh, Jeremy. I’m so sorry.”

The boy stuffed his hands in his pockets. “So you . . .?” He didn’t finish.

“No. I wasn’t taken either.” Connie looked down. “Apparently God didn’t consider me good enough. I thought Jesus would take all Christians in the Rapture. I guess I was wrong.”

“So why are you here? At the church?”

“Like you, I don’t want to be home alone.” Connie moved past Jeremy. “But I need answers. From the Bible. Want to come along?”

He followed. “Nothin’ else to do.”

In the library, she pulled a bible off the shelf and took a seat. Jeremy sat across from her and leaned back, his chair balanced on two legs.

Connie flipped through Revelation. “The Rapture’s mentioned in the message to the Philadelphian church?” Finding the verses, she read aloud, "You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me." She skipped ahead. “You are the ones I love. Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world. . .

“That’s the Tribulation, right?”

Connie nodded, then continued reading, “Look, I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Her vision blurred. “I guess my obedience wasn’t enough.”

The boy brought his chair down, leaned forward and stared at a spot behind Connie. “I thought I could wait and ask God into my life when I’m older. I mean, I wanted to have some fun first and I didn’t want Him spoiling it. You know?” His expression harbored dismay. “Sounds like a stupid reason now.” Their eyes met. “I thought about it all night. This morning I went to the altar and committed myself to God.”

His confession made Connie smile. Then she sighed. “I wish the answer was that easy for me.”

“You’ll figure it out, Mrs. Marlow.” He gestured toward the book in her hand. “What else does it say?”

“Oh, the next part is just about the Laodiceans, how they lost their zeal and
became lukewarm.”

“Are they also protected from the Tribulation?”

“No. It doesn’t promise that.” She ran her finger down the page. “Jesus said they didn’t know how wretched they were in their lukewarm state. He pleaded with them, ‘Be diligent and turn from your indifference.’” *

The astonishing truth suddenly slammed through Connie. “That’s me! I’m a Laodicean! I’ve been lukewarm, thinking I was okay.”

Tears slid down her cheeks. “Being cold is not knowing God, ignorant of His calling. I’m not cold. But neither am I hot. I’m not zealous to do His will – especially if it means sacrifice. I’m not ‘on fire’ to search for Him in His Word or in prayer. I’ve done what was right because I should, but never with a heart of genuine love for others.

“Oh, God,” she cried, “That’s why You didn’t take me.” Gulping sobs nearly choked her as remorse flooded her soul.

* Revelation 3:8b-11, 19b (New Living Translation)

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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
Wow this is a powerful story. You took a common scene of astonishment and made it fresh from the POV you used. I could feel the MC's heart pounding as the connection was made. Tiny typo: I think you meant Philippians instead of Philadelphian :)It happens to the best of us but it is a wonderful story.
C D Swanson 02/10/12
Well written story. Nice job of bringing the topic to life. God Bless~
Donna Wilcher02/14/12
Well written! Great story and left me with "much food for thought" about the condition of my own Christian life.."will I be left behind?", "am I lukewarm?"

Felt so very sorry for the boy, but so very common of what happens to our youth.

It grabbed my attention and held it all the way through to the end!

I do pray the Lord gives you many opportunities to share this with many people.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/16/12
Congratulations for ranking 8th in level one!
Jan Ackerson 04/29/12
Anne, I'm going to feature this story on the Front Page Showcase for the week of May 7. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!