“So…you won’t go out with me because of the God thing?” Chip Martin crossed his arms and took a step back in disbelief. She looks beautiful even when she’s rejecting me. He wanted to be around this smiling girl with eyes that looked like they were cut from blue crystal.
“We are just too different, Chip. Yes, the “God thing” as you call it makes us too different. It wouldn’t work.” Mary Lee loaded the last of her things into the trunk of her car, college bound the next day.
“Okay, I have showed up at that church of yours all summer. Why isn’t that enough? We are going to different colleges, if you don’t remember, and who knows what will happen after that. Can’t I convince you to just go out to dinner with me tonight?” He closed the trunk of her car and grabbed her hands.
Mary’s eyes brimmed with tears. “It’s not about church. It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ. You’ve heard it from me and from Pastor Weatherby, but you don’t seem to see your need for it. It would come between us, it already does.” Her trembling lip crushed him. He had to get that smile back. He lived to see her smile.
“Oh, come on. It’s just dinner. Besides, you rock the boat. Don’t you know that the captain of the football team and the head cheerleader are supposed to date? You have one night to appease the high school gods. It’s in the cards. No wait…it’s prophesied.” He chuckled at his little joke.
“Now you’re making fun of me. I’m spending my last evening with my family. I…I will be praying for you, Chip.” Mary ran into her house, leaving Chip staring after her.
He dialed her cell and started singing “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” He assumed it was a song about drugs, and always teased her that her beauty was the only drug he needed.
Mary opened her bedroom window with a bang and stuck her head out. “For your information, Tommy James was referring to the imagery of the New Jerusalem in that song. I want you there with me!” She slammed the window shut.
Brilliant. Way to go, stupid, make her mad. He was sure that she liked him, but that religion thing always kept her at a distance. His father said that religion was for women and weak men. Well, Chip Martin was not weak. All those months of sitting in church did him no good whatsoever, especially since it did nothing to persuade Mary to give him a chance.
He walked on campus the first day with a full ride football scholarship, good looks, and brains. He walked off campus the first weekend in handcuffs.
“It’s not my stuff, I swear!” A guy in the dorm had asked for a ride to town that morning. He must have planted the drugs then. He later heard that he was the victim of a campus clique initiation. Get a football player busted, you’re in. Chip’s reputation was ruined the very first week.
Instead of ‘big man on campus’, he was now shunned by the popular group he wanted to be associated with. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Strange things from church kept popping into Chip’s thoughts.
Classes were harder than he expected. He never had to study in high school. When he found himself praying for help, he decided to call Pastor Weatherby.
“Things aren’t going so well, Pastor, I need….well, I’ve been praying for help with things.” Chip’s quavering voice would have disgusted his father.
“He loves you, Chip, and wants to help you, to give you a new life here, and eternal life in Heaven,” Pastor Weatherby began. He talked with Chip for an hour.
A lifetime of pride came crashing down. Chip knelt in his dorm room and prayed with Pastor Weatherby.
When he saw those crystal blues shining at him the first weekend they were both home, he knew he didn’t have to tell her. He also knew that he could not have loved her fully without the divine love that grew in his heart now.
He planned to ask her to dinner after the Homecoming game. He had a feeling he could persuade her.
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