I woke with a start, my heart thumping.
I lay very still, listening in the darkness.
Nothing moved. The house was dark and very quiet.
Over the hammering inside my chest, I tried to figure out what woke me up.
A burglar? The cat? Someone knocking at the door? Did I have a dream?
A frightening thought entered my mind. What if it was The Rapture?
Last Sunday at church the preacher talked about The Rapture, that glorious day when Jesus would catch away His people and meet them in the air.
He said all the people who weren’t ready would be left behind and would go through The Great Tribulation. That would be a terrible time, and most people would be killed and end up in Hell.
Did they say if He would make any noise when He came? Would trumpets blow? Would people shout? Or would He come in secret and tap people on the shoulder? Would He just send out some mysterious force like a magnet that would pull everyone up into the sky?
I was only 10, but I was sure I would be left behind.
I thought of the lies I had told and how I hit my brother, and told on my sister when she took my stuff. I’d cheated on my test last Friday at school. I fed my peas to the dog when my mother wasn’t looking. More than once I was sent to my room for burping and making other obnoxious noises at dinner, or kicking my brother under the table.
Just last week when my uncle had come to help my dad make a new cement driveway,I had sneaked outside while they drank coffee in the kitchen and smeared wet cement all over the headlights of my uncle’s truck.
I hid behind the garage to watch what would happen when they came back. I was not disappointed. My uncle’s face turned very red and he started yelling some words that weren’t in the dictionary. I didn’t want to die. I stayed out of his way for the rest of the day.
I knew I was a sinner. At church they said that Jesus saves sinners, and I hoped that included me. I just wasn’t sure, because I couldn’t stop doing some stuff. I didn’t like getting into trouble, like the time my mother washed my mouth out with soap for swearing. Sometimes I felt sorry for things I did, and sometimes I didn’t.
Now I just felt scared. He had come and I was left behind. Cold fear filled my heart.
It was too late for me. I lay there for a while, contemplating my fate. Nothing moved in the house.
I thought about my mother. She was one person I knew who was ready for The Rapture. She read the Bible, prayed every night, sang hymns around the house, and was really kind to people.
I used to hear her say that the Lord could come at any time, when we were least expecting Him, and that we’d better be ready. Just like the Preacher said.
I also hoped my mother was wrong. I didn’t want Jesus to come back, at least not yet.
I had too much to do, and besides, I wanted to grow up and be a famous writer and travel to the far away places in my story books, and marry Michael who lives down the block. The Rapture would spoil all my plans.
I lay trembling, my ears straining in the silence. I couldn’t move. How I wished I had listened to the Preacher. My friend who goes to a different church told me that they believe that Jesus will come back one day, but everyone will see Him at that time. He said as long as you believe in Jesus and are baptized, you’ll be OK.
I believed in Jesus, and I got baptized when I was eight.
Maybe my friend was right.
“Jesus, if it’s not too late, could I have another chance?”
I didn’t know what else to say.
I heard someone a cough. It was my mother.
I was saved!
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