The following is a story that I wrote for a christian writing contest. I did not win but the story got good response from those who read it so I wanted to share with you guys. Congratulations to Robert Kelly from VA. His story, "Firefighter's Legacy", won the grand prize.
Alan McManus sat on the park bench on this cold winter morning, looking at the people surrounding him through sad eyes. Sad because he knew their destiny. Sad because he did not have the courage to share with them how to change their eternal fate. They didn’t look much different than he did. They really didn’t act much different. Most of them were actually better people in the world’s eyes. The only difference was the hope of eternal life he had which comforted him through most of adulthood. Now he sat there, holding on to this comfort, unable to give it to people headed for an awful place if they were to die today.
There was a time when he would have shared this good news, no problem. Today was not that time. He just sat there, as if restrained, not able to get the words out. He caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. A small child was wandering toward the street. The bus that was coming didn’t seem to notice or care. That toddler wouldn’t be much of an obstacle for it. Alan didn’t care either. Is this what he had become? Had his complacency for the Great Commission carried over to real-world life and death situations and not just the spiritual? Just as the child reached the curb, a nearby Good Samaritan grabbed the child as her mother ran frantically toward the event. Another life saved by someone doing what they ought. Another life saved, no thanks to Alan. He just sat there, as one escaping through the flames, wishing he was what he used to be.
Alan wanted to get up and leave but something kept him there. He sat wishing that he was the child who was wandering foolishly toward the bus. Did he deserve life after today? Eternal life? How long had it been since he shared? He felt as if he had to do something. The jacket he was wearing wasn’t nearly warm enough for the weather this morning. He wrapped his arms around his sides and tried to leave. He wanted so badly to get up but could not. He looked around to see what was holding him down. Had these leather straps been on this park bench the whole time? They were keeping him from the people who desperately needed him to share the good news. Seemingly good people who were headed for a fiery eternity apart from…Jesus. Jesus. The name that got him where he was at.
Parkwood Mental Institute was the “park” where Alan sat, strapped to his wheel chair and wearing a straightjacket. He had ended up there after the Rapture of the church. The news reported the disappearance of the millions of people from the Earth as alien abductions but he knew better. Alan once thought he walked with the Lord. He knew about the Rapture, how the church would be “caught up” with Jesus. Alan wasn’t ready when that happened. He was one who had to run back to get oil for his lamp as one of the Parables said. Somewhere along the line, this apparent repentant and faithful man was revealed to be someone who was simply going to church once in a while. Alan knew he had missed this phenomenon spoken of in the Bible. It had happened on a Saturday night. The next morning, he was the only one who showed up in the Church parking lot.
From then on, Alan tried desperately to help people understand what had really happened. Most just shrugged him off or ignored him. Others, important others, took notice and wanted him silenced. They found their chance when he would not receive a mark on his right hand or his forehead. He was arrested and taken in for evaluation. The authorities figured a guy who did not want to have a way to eat or to buy things had to be crazy. That diagnosis sealed his fate and his trip to Parkwood. Every day he sat there wishing he had another chance at his life. Another chance to share with others who might have been saved as well. For now, it’s just a day in the park.