Saturday, March 05, 2005

Keeping Watch - a short story

Kimberli Reneé Campbell

“There he goes again!” Jonathon called to his wife, who lounged on the couch watching television. “Every morning at the same time, carrying that book and staring at the sky!”

“Craig is one of those born again Christian’s now,” she replied, keeping her attention fixed on the tube. “He went all around the neighborhood telling everyone he could about Jesus and salvation. Don’t you remember?”

Jonathon did not respond. He kept his eyes on Craig. He did remember him coming over “witnessing” about what he had found. Jonathon also recalled how mad he felt. He and his wife went to church every Sunday! Who cares if they don’t pray or read the Bible? What difference does it make when you come down to it? If you believe in God, that’s all you need. Craig had no right coming over there saying they needed to have a personal relationship with Jesus and that going to church doesn’t mean you’re going to heaven. He spouted nonsense about being lukewarm. Jonathon gritted his teeth just thinking about it.

“I talked with his mother the other day, too,” he said. “I asked her why he goes out there every morning like that.”

“What’d she say?” asked Anna.

“She said he’s watching for Jesus’ return. Can you believe that?” Jonathon shook his head in disbelief. How naïve could this sixteen-year-old boy be? Jesus was not going to be returning for thousands of years, Jonathon thought. “He’s just wasting his time.”

Jonathon shifted to a better position to continue his watch. He was relieved to see that Craig’s mother didn’t join her son on his watch for Jesus. She had told him she was relieved to see the change in Craig’s life, but did not wish to believe in Jesus. Everyone has a right to believe in whomever they want. It’s their God given right.

Morning after morning for months, Jonathon watched Craig pray and search the sky for Jesus. He found it extremely entertaining. He tried to get Anna to watch with him, but she loved her television shows.

On one particular morning, Jonathon glanced out the window and saw not Craig, but his mother. She appeared distressed. “Anna, come on. Something’s wrong!”

As the two darted across the street, Craig’s mother’s screams made the hairs on Jonathon’s arms stand straight up. Jonathon bent down to ask her what happened, but she just kept mumbling, and the words didn’t register right away. When her words finally reached his mind and heart, he couldn’t find his breath. “Craig’s...gone?”

The terror in her eyes gripped his soul. She handed him Craig’s Bible. Taking it with shaking hands, he began to read the highlighted words. “I Thessalonians 5. But as to the suitable times and the precise seasons and dates, brethren, you have no necessity for anything being written to you. For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the return of the Lord will come (as unexpectedly and suddenly) as a thief in the night. When people are saying, All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means...escape.” Jonathon’s voice trembled with fear. “For there will be no escape.”

Suddenly, more people ran out of their homes and into the street, screaming. Several homes were on fire. The sky filled with black smoke. The sound of crashing cars echoed in his ears. His wife crying, “What’s happening, Jonathon?”

He clutched the Bible to his chest and crumbled to the ground, babbling. “It’s too late. He’s...gone. Jesus is gone. I wasn’t...watching.”

Copyright © Kimberli Reneé Campbell

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