Alex shifted his weight from one side to the other, his feet seemingly frozen to the ground, paralyzed with indecision. It was just before dark as he stood at this curious fork in the road. Funny, he could not remember how he had even come to this place, familiar, yet unknown. Soon, however, the fascination he felt replaced his desire to remember how he had entered this unusual place. Two gates. One large; the other with just enough room for one person to walk through alone.
The road curving left was wide with scores of people, a strange collection, moving along at various speeds. Some determined sorts wearing suits and carrying briefcases, rushed by talking in muffled tones, no doubt about some important business decision. Others were just talking and laughing as they went. A group of teens, much like Alex, roared with laughter, drinking and cursing as they shuffled forward. There were women with bulging shopping bags and couples holding hands, absorbed only in each other.
Although engrossed in this peculiar drama, Alex’s eyes shifted to the right, the small gate from which the narrow path flowed. He noticed in the distance a couple of heads bobbing over a hill. The path was not forgotten, but it seemed that few chose it. Still, those on it appeared excited about their direction. It seemed that its golden light almost beckoned them to some cheerful destination. In fact, one scampering eagerly down the path looked very much like his best friend Stephen. Who could mistake that flashing red hair?
“It figures that Stephen would go down the path with no one on it,” Alex thought. “Ever since he found Jesus, I don’t even recognize him anymore. Now he’s trying to drag me to all this church junk and get me as brainwashed as he is.”
The noise grew louder as an increasing number of people flocked down the wide path, directing Alex’s gaze back to the left. He longed to join in their exuberant parade.
“Stephen can do as he pleases, all caught up in that Jesus stuff all the time; I will choose my own road.” Alex reasoned.
Seeing some guys he knew from school and finding his feet, Alex hopped over the large gate and darted into the activity. As he continued down the dusty road, the people he traveled with began to appear less normal and more bizarre with a sad, empty look in their eyes and a scowl on their faces. The laughing was replaced with more of a moaning that begin to hurt his ears. The further he traveled; the louder the sound of their cries, and an awful stench filled his nostrils. He felt intensely alone, even among this mass of people. Why had he chosen this terrifying path?
Suddenly, he remembered … the wreck, the screaming sirens, the blood, the crying, the rain. They had been to Stephen’s church at a youth conference. Then, he remembered something else… the decision. The youth pastor had invited anyone who had not yet made a decision, to accept Christ into his life. The words from the Bible he read rang loudly in Alex’s head. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
All at once, the whole chaotic scene was gone, the gates, the roads and the odd assortment of people. Now, he heard the wail of angry sirens, along with people shouting orders and soft crying. Someone knelt over the stretcher to which he was now fastened, whispering a simple prayer.
“Lord, please don’t let it be too late! Give him another chance to choose Jesus,” Stephen prayed.
Numbly, but with a slight smile, Alex reached up and tousled Stephen’s red hair. “I’m entering through the narrow gate next time, Buddy.”
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