The earth shuddered and hesitated before it began to spin once again. The action was felt by everyone; all over the world. It shocked and sent people into panic. Within minutes, it seemed that everything was in chaos.
No one had expected the shiver. It had not been predicted. No one understood why it happened or exactly what it was that happened. Not even the most brilliant scientific minds could come up with a quick answer. That panicked people even more. Anderson Clay was among them despite the fact the well-educated clergyman suspected what was happening. At the very least, he made an educated guess.
“There is trouble in heaven once more,” he revealed to his wife. “Lucifer is making another play to unseat mankind in the Savior’s eyes. I’m certain of it. Some have predicted that would be the case before the devil tries to destroy us instead.”
“That isn’t in the prophecies,” Miriam Clay argued. “At least it is in none that I have studied.” She was, in her own right, a renowned Biblical scholar.
“The text is obscure. I have a copy,” her husband stated as he reached inside of his desk to pull it out. “It’s another warning, but it could be more than that if Lucifer is successful this time around.”
“He won’t be. You know that. We’ve always known that. The earth belongs to God alone.”
“For now that is true,” Anderson admitted. “But the battle of good and evil is likely to continue into perpetuity.”
“You can’t believe that,” his wife said with shock in her voice. “It’s just not what we were taught.”
“Have you never wondered why God doesn’t wipe Lucifer off the face of the map? He keeps throwing him into the pit, that’s true. It is also true that Lucifer keeps escaping it,” Anderson reasoned. “In the long run, I think the Father wants man to prove himself worthy. We have not done that as of yet.”
“You don’t know that is what is happening,” Miriam stated. “The shudder could have been caused by an explosion somewhere in the galaxy or by a slight shift of the moon. We won’t know anything for certain until all of the studies have been exhausted.”
“True,” Anderson returned, his face looking pensive. “But my mind is certain. I cannot explain why. I just know this to be true.”
“If so, then you need to get to work. There are souls to save. Only now, we can’t ‘wait and see’ or it might be too late.” Miriam moved forward to embrace her husband. “What can I do?”
“Help me with my sermon tomorrow. It will be an important one,” he said with confidence.
Just then the phone began to ring. The couple spent most of the morning trying to console parishioners and answer questions as best they could. However, as it became clearer that science didn’t have the answers, the number of calls increased.
“I’ll call the deacons,” Miriam suggested. “They can help me field phone calls. You work on your sermon. I think you are right. It will be an important one. I have a feeling the church will be packed tomorrow.”
Miriam’s words were prophetic. The sanctuary was packed with standing room only. Even a few people stood in the lobby since the sound system covered it as well.
“My friends,” Anderson began, his face calm and serious. “These are troubling times. However, it is important to keep in mind that we have faced them before and we are likely to face them again.” He looked out over the audience and saw heads shaking in unison.
“It is what we do with these kinds of challenges that determine our destiny. We can stop and wring our hands with worry or we can dig in and come up with solutions. I don’t know about you, but I’m not into the former. I look at this as an opportunity for us to shine; to prove mankind’s worth.”
“Shine how?” The question came from a man Anderson did not recognize as a regular. “If the world is coming to an end, what difference does it make now?”
“It always matters what we do as Christians,” Anderson stated firmly. “There are those around us who are frightened; panicked even. We can choose to ignore them or we can help them and perhaps, by doing so, bring them to God.”
“If they aren’t already there, isn’t it too late if this is the end?” The question came from a woman who’d been with the church as far back as Anderson could remember.
“If I’ve not taught you that it is never too late, then I have not been a good minister,” he stated firmly. “Souls can be saved up until Christ reappears in the heavens. They just have to ‘want’ it with all of their hearts. But hear me now. We don’t know this is the end. All of the signs foretelling Christ’s return have not been shown. That’s why I choose to think of it as a chance, not as a death sentence.”
“A chance to do what?” The question came from a teen who was known for getting himself into trouble. He’d recently been arrested for dealing drugs but released on a technicality.
“A chance to change once and for all; honestly, openly and with God’s help,” Anderson continued. “If there was no tomorrow, ask yourself what you would do? Would you choose to go to hell or beg for heaven?” Anderson paused for effect. “The real question is this: Why wait until that choice is forced upon you? Why not make it now?”
The teenager looked down, markedly ashamed. The minister could tell that his words hit home not with just the child but with many of those sitting before him.
“I would like this church to lead the change,” he said solemnly. “I’d like your help to do so. Many of your neighbors are frightened. They need comfort, security and hope. We can provide that until real answers are available. Perhaps, along the way, we can bring new souls to God.”
The audience nodded in agreement which Anderson took as a good sign. He felt a warmth brewing strong deep inside of his soul.
“My wife and I will be out front to the take the names of volunteers who want to help our mission. We will also make ourselves available, along with the deacons, for those of you who still have questions and concerns. In the meantime, my friends, please go in peace and go with God.”
As the choir began to sing, Anderson stepped from the pulpit and took his wife’s hand. Together they made their way to the front doors. There they remained until the last parishioner was gone.
“It’s been a good day for God,” Miriam stated, patting her husband on the back.
“A good day for mankind too, I hope,” Anderson smiled. As if to punctuate his remark, all clouds dispersed from the sky and the sun shone brightly on the church steeple.
“I think we have His stamp of approval,” Miriam smiled. “It is always good to know when we are doing something right.”