Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Exam (09/12/13)
TITLE: Pilgrim's Process
By Tim Pickl
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"Please be seated. I shall return in a few minutes."
All of the letters of the English alphabet and numbers 0-through-9 were boldly posted all around the room, in both cursive and print/block white letters on black background. In the front of the class was a glossy all-white desk and matching chair. On the wall mounted behind the desk was an all-white flat screen T.V. The odd thing about the T.V. was that it covered almost the entire wall—I had never seen anything so big.
A glimmer of light caught my eye, and turned and gazed out of the windows to my left. Through a smattering of oak trees surrounded by morning mist, I saw The Golden City glistening like fresh fallen snow on the branches of a bristlecone pine in winter's stark sun.
Oh, the magnificent glory of God!
I longed to be there, and to-be-honest I was wondering what this little delay was all about, because I thought we had arrived. I was about to ask my neighbor when the angel returned.
"Most of you are wondering why you are here. What is this delay?"
I raised my hand like I did when I was a child. "Yes sir, I am wondering, what is going on? I know I probably speak for others in this room."
"It is a fair question, and one we see in most of the groups who come here. All of you gathered here today who grew up in the world went through a classroom similar to this one; and then many other classrooms as you graduated and moved on through different schools."
All of the twelve souls gathered there nodded and some agreed with yes out-loud.
"We wanted to prepare you for the Final Exam. We know from observation and what Our Father reveals to us that your life has been a series of tests, trials and tribulation. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. All of you have been faithful and called to gather here for His Purpose. The Final Exam is not difficult; it is in fact the easiest test you will ever take. These are the final steps in the process before proceeding to the The Golden City. Attention: we will now show you three words on the screen in the front of the room."
Slowly the windows were darkened and room was completely void of light. Then, the huge T.V. came to life, and we saw within a matter of sixty seconds a flashback to the actual passion of Jesus Christ, complete with all of His suffering and crucifixion. Then it showed His resurrection and the screen turn to glorious bright white. Finally, the three words then appeared on the screen:
You are forgiven.
Over the years I had seen many depictions of those scenes in films, television and plays—but seeing what really happened back then cut deep into my soul, and I wept. I cried out, saying in my mind or aloud I do not recall, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Jesus. As I shook, speaking in other tongues, I felt a comforting hand on my shoulder.
"Now we will show you one more word. This time it will not be as emotional."
I simply nodded, and whispered, "I trust You, Lord. That is how we got this far."
"You will now be led out of the schoolroom to the edge of the schoolyard. There, you will be released for the final steps of your journey."
At the edge of the schoolyard was a hill, covered with daisies. Towering beyond the hill was the gleaming golden city New Jerusalem. I could not resist: I ran up the hill through the daisies. At the top of the hill, I beckoned the others to come, too.
"Come on! You have to see this."
On the other side of the hill, just inside The Golden City next to a river there stood a massive tree with ripe fruit that looked like pomegranates. There was only one path to the tree, and from the tree, the path led out of New Jerusalem.
The angel declared from the top of the hill, "That is the Tree of Life."
I immediately froze. Should I take and eat of this tree?
Then I remembered one word:
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