Brittany shook her head to fight off the grogginess which desperately wanted to envelope her. Sticking her head out the window, she let her red curls blow wildly in the breeze. After a few minutes, with her wind-blown do standing on end and her fair-skinned cheeks burning brightly, she decided to roll up the window. "That was refreshing," she said, "but I mustn't go to sleep! Must stay awake, must stay awake…" Brittany looked up just in time to straighten the wheel before crossing the middle line.
Tap, tap, tap went her fingers slowly on the steering wheel. "Worship His Majesty is a great song," she said with a yawn, "but I need something more lively. These up-and-down hills are gonna lull me to sleep."
Finding an oldies station, Brittany began singing like a crazy woman, "I'M HENERY THE 8TH, I AM. HENERY THE 8TH, I AM, I AM. I GOT MARRIED TO THE WIDOW NEXT DOOR, SHE'S BEEN MARRIED SEVEN TIMES BEFORE…" Brittany couldn't help smiling. She was driving through the hills of Missouri to be married.
"The ONE and ONLY time," she laughed. "Yeah, six more miles to my turn off! Stephen, here I come!"
Opening her eyes, Brittany was startled to see a man standing above her, reaching down to help her up. "Where am I? And WHO are you?" she asked while taking the man's hand. Brittany jerked back as soon as she realized to whom she was speaking. "Sorry, Jesus! I don't mean to be rude but this is sort of a shock to me. I wasn't expecting you."
Jesus' smile was glorious as he offered to help her up once again. "Believe it or not, Brit, I get that quite a lot."
After standing, Brittany put her hands to her face as she stared at the carnage that was around her. Brit's car was smashed into the cement slab of an underpass. The engine was still running and the radio blaring. Brittany noticed her mangled body lying on the road. She didn't look too good.
To calm her, Jesus held Brittany's shaking hands with his scarred, work-weathered hands. Brittany asked Him, "Am I dead, Jesus?"
"No, Brittany, for now you're alive," Jesus answered.
Softly, Brittany asked, "Stephen and I aren't going to get married this weekend, are we?"
"No, Brittany, you're not," Jesus said.
Jesus looked deeply into her eyes, his own eyes gentle yet firm. "You will suffer some. This won't be easy." Brittany could only nod her head in understanding.
Squeezing her hand while continuing to look directly into her face, Jesus asked, "Brit, do you trust me?"
"I, I hope so. I WANT to trust You but this, this is so hard!" Brittany said, wiping her runny nose and wet eyes with the sleeve of her jacket.
"Do I trust, Jesus?" Brittany asked herself. She walked down the road a few feet and stopped with her back to Jesus. "Before the accident, I would have said yes without any hesitation. But now? I don't understand why this has to happen. Why am I still alive? How's Stephen going to handle all of this? Jesus said I would suffer, that this wouldn't be easy. And yet, He knows what suffering is all about." For a few silent moments, Brittany pondered Jesus' question.
Finally, Brittany straightened her shoulders and walked back to Jesus. "I don't understand what's happening, Jesus, I really don't. But do I trust You? Absolutely!"
Together the two of them stood side-by-side as the sirens of the rescue unit grew louder.
The family members left the hospital room after saying their sorrowful good-byes. Stephen now sat alone next to Brit's bed holding her delicate hands in his.
With his body heaving up and down, a broken Stephen began to pray, "Lord, I know Brit's parents have made the right decision but it's still so hard. Thank you for these four extra weeks of Brit's life you have given to me. A month ago, I could never have said good-bye. She's suffered greatly over the past month, yet I know it's been for my sake that she's still alive. Even though it's difficult to let her go, I know it's the right thing to do. I don't understand all that's happened but I do trust You. It's now time to release her into your hands."
Brit gave his hand the slightest squeeze. Stephen looked up at the monitor in time to watch Brittany's blood pressure go down.
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