Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)
TITLE: At the Station
By Kenneth Bridge
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Soon the din of departing passengers was swallowed up in the hissing and rumbling of the train, already with the next station crowding out the crew’s memory of this one. Only a few echoing footsteps remained in the emptiness that surrounded him. Wearily he laid the tract on an empty bench, adjusted his collar against the wind, shivered, and headed for the exits.
For five years he had visited the station nightly, first with the fresh zeal of the new convert, ready to win souls and sing hallelujahs. Night after night, polite conversations, abrupt departures, rude stares, a wide range of responses, but never had anyone called him back, shown their face in church, returned a smile the next time they would see him. It had all been futility, a grim but pointless exercise. He was finished.
One last commuter turned from his contemplation of the track, and trudged slowly across the platform, eyes downcast, he saw the paper the first man had left on the bench. His gloom lifted for a moment, replaced by curiosity. He picked up the tract, noticed some of the words were smudged, but finding it still legible he read on. He’d heard the words many times before, but somehow this time they took wings. The God who made the universe had made him too, and loved him and died on a cross and rose again and desired for him to share that new everlasting life! He suddenly sensed a wonderful lightness, like a great weight had fallen off. He hurried to the exits, but the first man was gone.
Years had passed when he visited again the station where he had long labored in futility. He saw another man, passing out tracts and engaging in earnest conversations with passengers going to and from the trains.
He greeted the man and offered some friendly advice, “This place is stony ground, poor soil. I used to come here every weeknight for hours, passing out tracts and trying to talk with people. Nothing ever happened and ever since, with the evidence of His power and grace so plainly lacking, I have come to doubt that God even exists.”
“Never doubt the power and mercy of our great Lord Jesus,’ replied the man with a face radiant with light and warmth. I often wondered where you had gone, and prayed for the opportunity to thank you. I stand here today because you were faithful in your time.”
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