The elevator stopped at Betsy’s floor. As the doors opened, she made her way to her cubicle inside the law firm. She paused to look outside to take in another breathtaking view of the city. This was just another typical weekday, just like any other EXCEPT Betsy couldn’t shake something from her mind.
“Dad… Dad…Dad…boy, I sure hope he’s all right,” she kept thinking. She couldn’t help but wonder why he was so heavy on her heart. Snapping back to reality, Betsy turned on her computer. She logged in and did her normal routine of opening up to a Christian website to fill her area with music. Next, she opened her email and proceeded to pull up all necessary desktop programs she would need for the day. Then she opened her Bible programs and read the verse for the day from 2 Corinthians 6.1:
“We then as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Being burdened more than ever, Betsy felt a tear trickle down her cheek as she lifted up a quick prayer, “Heavenly Father, please save my dad.”
Betsy opened her email and hit the compose button: “Dear Dad.” Typing a letter that had been years in the making, she poured out her heart and pleaded with everything within her, for her dad to hear her heart and ask Jesus to come into his life. Finishing her closing plea, Betsy resolutely hit send. Then pausing for a minute, Betsy bowed her head again to pray.
Suddenly a light flashed into her office area.
“BETSY LOOK, that plane, it’s headed right for us!” she heard her co-worker say.
Across town, Harold had just finished his morning coffee. He sat down at the computer and pulled up his homepage. He noticed an email from his daughter, Betsy. Looking for his glasses to help him read, a jarring interruption came from the TV…
“This is CNN breaking news, an airliner has just crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers.”
Harold froze as he watched the horrifying scene unfold. Glued to every word and every camera angle, he felt his heart beat faster. He began to breathe anxiously, “Oh Betsy! Please God, if you’re out there, please protect my daughter!”
Racing to the wall and picking up the phone, he looked at his old scrabble scratch writing and began to dial her work number. There was no answer, only voice mail.
Over and over Harold repeated the process. As he listened to the news, a deeper panic sat in. He again frantically dialed Betsy’s number and listened. All he could do was to listen. Helplessness and despair were becoming more and more his companions. Over the next few hours and into the early morning as emergency calls overwhelmed the phone lines, Harold got the news that he hoped he would never have to hear. Betsy didn’t make it.
Dropping the phone onto the counter, he fell to his knees in deepest anguish and cried out with all that was in him. Harold, in his late fifties, lay prostrate as a little kid. Not moving an inch for what must have been hours, Betsy’s entire life flashed across Harold’s thoughts. Her first birthday…her first day of kindergarten…seeing her off to prom and college.
The images kept coming and then there was the time when she begged him to come watch her be baptized. Harold remembered the day well. He recalled telling her he’d never step foot into a church. Hundreds and thousands of thoughts raced through his mind as he just lay there. Then one thought screamed at him…MY EMAIL!
Racing to his feet, he headed over to where this horrific reality had begun. He slowly sat back down into his chair and clicked his computer back on. There it was: “Dear Dad,” Harold sat shaking in his chair. He continued reading…
I’ll bet you’re surprised to hear from me, huh? Sorry things have been so busy and we have been so distant. I’ve been meaning to drop by, but after our last visit I have to confess I have been afraid to. Dad, to get to the point, I was walking to work today and all I could think about was you! I know you asked me to not preach to you anymore BUT DAD, PLEASE…I LOVE YOU and I love JESUS and I know you’d love Him too if YOU would just lay down your pride and listen to what He’s done for you.
Not only did God create you, Dad, He created me through you. He gave us both life and gave us each other. I know you said you’d never step foot in a church and that’s NOT what I’m asking. All I’m asking is for you to give me a chance to share with you what Jesus is all about and how He has changed my life. Please Dad, I beg you to “stop and think” and to give your life to Jesus. Please Dad, let’s get together real soon and talk…Please Dad.”
Harold sat staring at the monitor. His initial reaction was that of a familiar reflex to “shut it out.” All his life, he could shut out this or that…this message would be no different. He always had the philosophy that he couldn’t be persuaded. He didn’t believe that “Jesus stuff” and for the most part he avoided ever discussing it.
But now, today, he sat reading the very last will and testament of his very own flesh and blood. His daughter’s final words come SCREAMING at him at a moment in time when every part of him wanted to pounce on the very ONE whom his daughter was proclaiming.
Harold took the keypad to his computer and violently pulled it from its place. He threw it as hard as he could against the nearest wall.
“No God… NO! Why? How could you?”
Harold began to pace back and forth, his mind racing faster than his steps. The noise of the world raced louder and louder in his mind. Falling to his knees, clutching his chest, his heart racing, Harold screamed out, “NO Lord, I can’t take this!”
Harold spent the next night lost in deepest anguish. His eyes swollen from tears, his voice raw from the deeps wails. Outside distant sirens rang constantly reminding him this was not a nightmare. This was his reality. New York City was in mourning. The nation was in mourning, along with others throughout the world, too. Inside his small apartment, seemingly left all alone, Harold felt overwhelmed by his daughter’s haunting letter. A cry from the grave spelled out in no uncertain terms, a harsh and crushing blow of ideology, begging Harold to ask this question:
“Where is my daughter now?”
Just two days ago he would have been confident if asked where his daughter was. “My daughter lives by the park,” he would have told anyone, “The one down by the station.” Or…“She’s at the gym in her exercise class.” Or, “She’s at work at such and such law firm.”
But where is she now? Harold searched his mind for answers as he tried to cope.
Reading her letter over and over, he couldn’t help but cry as he read, “Dad, I know I’m saved…I know that Jesus died for me. I know that someday I’ll spend eternity with Him…but it will crush me if you’re not there. Please, Dad, please give your life to Jesus.”
Harold opened and closed the letter nervously, over and over, as if trying to silence those words. Could she really be, with JESUS?
It had been a long time since Harold prayed, but responding to that thought, he got down on his knees. Every part of his being shook as he knelt and prayed, “Dear God, I haven’t talked to you in years and there’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to talk to you right now.”
Fighting back tears and raw emotion, Harold continued, “I want to blame you for all of this! I mean, I’m a dad and I would have done anything to protect her. God, why couldn’t you, huh? Please tell me that God” Why couldn’t you? Better yet…WHY DIDN’T YOU?”
Harold quieted for a second soberly being reminded that his daughter might just be with whom he was talking. Clutching the letter, he opened his hand and looked up as if acknowledging how profoundly it was resonating with him.
He continued in prayer, “God is she right? Is she okay? Is she with you? Please, I have to know. I just have to know.”
Harold sat there waiting for a response, but none was given. Numbness swept over him, as he struggling back up onto his feet. He crashed down on to his sofa and hit the power button on his television. Flipping through the channels, every stop was a constant reminder that he lost his “little girl.”
As Harold clicked from one channel to the next, one program caused him to pause.
“Pastor, what would you say to those who are trying to cope?” The pastor, with great compassion, looked into the camera and spoke: “To those who lost loved ones who loved Jesus, I have good news! Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Instantly upon hearing those words, Harold fell flat on his face down and wept out loud, crying, “JESUS, please have mercy upon me! Please save me. Please come into my life and heal my heart.”
Flooded with emotion once again, Harold poured out his heart. Only this time he wasn’t left empty, as Jesus heard his cry. He responded in Spirit embracing this desperate man. Jesus instantly filled his mind and emotions with thoughts of hope, joy and healing. Harold would see his daughter again. His life had new meaning and his heart, though broken from loss, was softened with love. If Jesus were to shout…“Come up here,” Harold too, would be ready.
This is the fifth in my series of short stories, Preludes to the Rapture collection. Please feel free to download the stories as formatted and use them as witnessing material.