"Go to the river immediately. There God will meet with you."
Ted Wintergreen sat up, breathing hard. The details of the dream were starting to fade, but the command was seared in his brain.
He got up and shuffled off to the kitchen to make himself some coffee and clear his head. Sitting over his steaming mug a few minutes later, he muttered, "Why would God want to meet with me?" He usually talked to himself. No-one else was there to listen to a middle-aged bachelor.
"Immediately." That voice again.
Ted jumped and glanced around. "Who's there?" He gulped some coffee. The scald he got snapped his brain into gear better than the caffeine.
"Right. The gentleman in the dream thought his message was rather urgent. I'll get dressed."
He went and pulled on some casual but properly ironed clothing, then looked outside to check the Sunday morning weather. It was raining hard from the tropical storm system that had arrived the evening before.
"I suppose I'm to go out in that. I'd better take my golf umbrella."
He slipped on his shoes and rubbers. Taking the elevator down to the basement, he retrieved the umbrella from the golf bag in his storage locker before heading to the garage.
"God wants to see me?" he asked as he drove to the bridge in the centre of the city. "It's not as if I have ever had anything to do with him, whoever he might be."
As he pulled up at the park beside the bridge, the wind and the rain eased. He got out to walk closer to the shore.
"The river is running quite hard from all this rain. It looks so violent, churning like that. It could do damage."
A frame house appeared at the bend, spinning slowly in the water.
"Oh my. I suppose a family lived in that yesterday. Now look at it. I do hope they're alright." He sighed. "I might have had a family. It's too bad Sarah couldn't wait until I had settled those first contracts. I wonder what ever happened to her."
The house crashed into the centre span of the bridge and started to break apart.
His mouth went dry when one of the walls peeled off and spun off by itself, exposing a room. "A teddy bear. I had a teddy once. That one must have belonged to one of the children. Oh, now it's gone in the water."
When the wind and rain picked up again, he returned to his car and sat, staring at the house. The rest of it collapsed and the pieces resumed their journey down the river.
"I wonder where that God fellow is? After all, he made the appointment." He put the car in gear and backed out of the parking spot to return home. As he drove along, he saw numbers of people going into a building.
"I wonder what those good folk are doing on a Sunday. I should find out."
He pulled over and approached the place. It was a church.
"Alright, maybe he will meet me here." He went in. "I'll sit at the back. One never knows what may happen."
There was some singing, and then a man stood up at the front.
"What is he talking about? Why, it's as if he thinks this God is actually listening to him. Pah, how naive. Perhaps I should leave."
The man at the front started to read from a book. Ted listened as the story unfolded of a wealthy man who had had a good harvest and had chosen to build larger storage buildings to hold it.
"What a clever man this was. No wonder he was wealthy."
The story continued, however: "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'"
"Outrageous! That does it." Ted slipped out the door. "What's wrong with being prepared? Why did God want to steal what that man had honestly earned?" he muttered as he walked to his car. And yet the desert stretched before him as he drove home.
In the lobby, he stopped. "Oh bother; both elevators are busy. I don't wish to wait, so I'll take the stairs."
When he stepped into his livingroom, he was about to say something when an agonizing tightness tore at his chest.
The river flowed on to the sea.
scripture: Luke 12:20 NIV
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