Jake races the Camaro down the treacherous mountain road. Magnificent pines rise above the plunging cliffs, hiding the sun. The mouth of the canyon longs to swallow him into darkness.
Drive off the edge of the cliff, Jake.
The tires screech around each corner, blending with the taunting voices.
You worthless coward.
He turns up the music and rounds the last curves to home.
Old man Nelson waves as Jake steps out of his car.
There’s that self-righteous old man again.
“Jake, I’ve got something for you.”
Mr. Nelson shuffles toward him, a book tucked under his arm.
It’s a Bible! That crazy old man is giving you a Bible. Tell him to get lost.
Nelson extends his arm, presenting the book.
Jake puts on his best smile, “Oh no, Mr. Nelson, I don’t want your Bible. You keep it.”
“Jake, I believe the Lord is telling me to give this to you.”
He’s a kook. Now he’s hearing things.
“So am I,” Jake mutters.
“What?” Nelson says, “What did you say, son?”
“Oh nothing, sir,” he reaches out to take the book. “Thanks. That’s very kind of you.”
Tell him, Jake. Tell him he’s a lunatic and God is dead. Throw that book of lies on the ground and spit on it.
Jake shakes his head as if trying to be freed from a noose. He looks at Nelson. The old man’s eyes seem to bore into his soul. Jake shudders.
“Are you all right? You don’t look so good.”
“I just need some rest. Um…I gotta go now.”
You idiot! Just get a gun and shoot yourself.
Jake walks to the door.
“I’m praying for you, Jake.”
He steps inside without looking back and throws the book to the floor.
You are a failure. Get your rifle, load it, and finish this.
“I hate living,” Jake says.
The demons encircle him, mocking, knowing their victory is near. They enter him, their claws slicing into his heart, pulling him down into the pit of despair.
If you were dead your misery would be over.
“Shut up! Just shut up!” Jake’s shout echoes off the walls.
A gentle wind blows from the Nelson home, wafting into Jake’s open windows. The curtains rustle as the angels, carried on the breeze, enter the room. The Bible flutters open. The demons tremble.
Jake looks at the Bible, its pages turning as if alive. He kneels beside the tattered book.
No! No! Don’t lower yourself to that nonsense.
His hand jerks forward as if pulled by some unseen force. He runs his fingers over the worn pages and wonders, “Is there hope?”
Pulling the book into his lap, he reads, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”
Jake slams the book closed. Fury rises up inside of him. “Why is it always about judgment? What kind of God are you anyway? Standing up there with a club ready to clobber everyone.”
Jake moves to the gun cabinet. He pauses at the sight of his reflection in the glass doors.
“Who am I?” His handsome face has impressed many. The corporate ladder was an easy climb, but fraud tainted every step. As he stares at his reflection, his face contorts into a gruesome monster. His eyes glow blood red. His lips curl into a snarl.
Jake shatters the glass with his fist and grabs a rifle.
A gust moves across the room. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”
“Leave me alone! Just leave me alone!”
Hurry up! Load the rifle. Your torment will be over in a second.
“Is death really the end?” he wonders. “Is there a Hell?”
Jake drops the rifle. He falls to the ground, sobbing into his hands.
The angels surround him, pulling the claws of darkness from his breaking heart.
He crawls across the floor to the Bible. A gold inscription graces its leather cover – “David Nelson.”
Jake remembers the kind old man’s words, “I’m praying for you.”
He picks up the gift and turns its pages. A verse highlighted in yellow glows in the sunlight, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“Can it be that easy? Can God save me from myself? Can he save me from Hell?”
The demon voices are silent. Jake feels something new. It is hope.
“Lord Jesus, please forgive me. Please help me.”
The angels rejoice as the Father says, “Yes.”
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