Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)
TITLE: It Was Me
By Hiram Claudio
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He’d been through a number of serious financial setbacks in his business as well as some health challenges for family members close to him. As a result, he was having trouble sleeping. So he took a sleeping aid, laid down, and almost immediately began to dream.
He found himself floating in the sky. Clouds were all around, so close he could touch them. He came across a very tall man with wings. He thought, “This must be an angel.”
The angel then waved his hand and a huge wall appeared before them. Within seconds, images like from a video began to play.
At first, Tony saw a large blank area. It was dark and completely void. Just a big nothing. Then he heard a voice declare, “now” and a planet appeared. It formed so quickly and came together with such precision.
“Wow. Totally awesome. Such an amazing thing. To see it being created like that and …it all happened so quickly.”
The angel just smiled. Then, the images changed. It now showed what looked like an unfinished swamp. There was a fog and the whole area was dimly lit. It looked eerie. He then heard that same voice say, “light” and a beam of sunlight appeared. It shone over the entire scene and dispelled most of the fog. Mountains began to form and oceans appeared more clearly. Trees were visible and a few flowers sprouted up and even budded.
“That was SO cool! There was nothing and then, all of a sudden, there was something. Wow!”
A few more scenes like this appeared, all inspiring similar reactions. And the reactions weren’t just because of the awesome displays. He was also stunned by the suddenness of it all, of witnessing nothing becoming something.
“Is this a picture of God’s power?”
The screen changed again. It focused on a hill outside a village. A crowd was gathered. They were following three men. The men seemed to be carrying something. After looking more closely, he saw they were carrying crosses. Tony noticed that the crowd was shouting at them. The comments seemed vicious. He wondered, “What had these men done?” Then he noticed the majority of the comments were directed at the Man in the middle.
“Why are they so made at Him? What did He do?”
Tony was speechless. Surely there was some reason for this cruel punishment. He did nothing? He stood there stunned as the drama unfolded. They reached the hill. The men were nailed to their crosses and then raised high. The scene was gruesome. Although hanging there is agony, the crowd’s insults continued. And then, the one in the middle said something, “Forgive them Father. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Tony thought, “Huh? Are you kidding?” After all they said and He was asking God to forgive them? It seemed so out of place, so disconnected. The Man’s comment took Tony completely by surprise.
“Wow. I don’t know what to say. His comment makes no sense to me. After all they’ve been saying. He asks God to forgive them?”
“Its His way.”
The screen changed a final time. He saw a church sanctuary and focused on a man sitting in a church pew. It was just before Easter and the pastor was speaking about the sacrifice Jesus made for us. He was describing the pain and the torture He endured.
Tony thought to himself, “You don’t know the half of it.”
Then, somehow, he and the angel could hear what the man sitting was thinking. The words floated up before them. “Yeah, yeah, so what? Who cares anyway?”
Tony was shocked. How could anyone react that way? He thought the pastor had done a good job of explaining the scene. How could someone respond to Christ’s sacrifice, to His love, like that?
Suddenly, Tony woke up. He was shaken by all he’d seen, unnerved by the many images. But what troubled him most was that man in the pew. He said, “How could he?” Then, in a moment he thought the man looked familiar … and realized why. Once again, he was stunned by what he understood.
He glanced into the darkness and noted, “He looked like … me. That man in the pew was me!”
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