A STORY THAT WILL ONLY END IN HEAVEN
This is not a story told by Scheherazade. It was passed on to us by a friend. But similar to stories weaved by Scheherazade, it has no end until we reach Heaven. We don’t know the author, but it was submitted by Hannah. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
“I was bored as usual, fed up with my boring humdrum, day-in, day-out life– 9 to 5. So I went down to the local pub, same old faces. Then I saw this new guy. He looked like he was welcoming me to sit next to him. So looking for something interesting, I did. We talked small talk till he could see that I was bored with life. He told me he was a travel agent. He had some normal, run-of-the-mill trips, but he saw that I needed something really different. I sat up and took notice, a little bit. I didn’t want to show him I was too fascinated. He did have a special air and aura about him. He lowered his voice so I bent in to hear him better and he told me of this amazing place that when people went there, people I knew of, they didn’t want to come back. Then he stopped there. In spite of my purported nonchalance, he saw through me. He asked me if I was interested. Trying my best to not jump out of my skin, I answered as casually as I could, “Yes, I suppose”. So he said, “Come to my office tomorrow and I can show you more, if you really mean it”. He left me a card with an address that was quite familiar to me in town. He got up and left with a knowing smile that went right through me.
The next day on my lunch break, I went to the address on the card, surprised when I got there that I had never noticed this office before. He seemed very glad to see me. “You see, it wasn’t a dream” he said with a funny chuckle. He got right down to business, opened his laptop and as he showed me, he told me again about the different people who had made this trip: Judge So-and-so, a well-known athlete, a family, all people who had been reported in the news to have disappeared. As I looked into his laptop, it was like looking through a 3D window and like those drones that zoom in to a mountainous valley area. I saw the most incredibly brilliant greens and blues. Intensely blue water and blue sky that just didn’t even look natural, but so, so attractive. Like a magnet I was drawn in and we zoomed down into these beautiful bungalows and wild, simple living places. The people there looked so happy and fulfilled and real and sincere. I didn’t have to imagine such a place. I could see it right in front of me. It was as if I was there. I was sold.
I said to him, “Nice computer, really has good graphics”.
But he said, “The place is really special, it is not the computer. The place is really like that”. “I’ll take it, I said, How much is a trip?”
“People give me everything that is in their pocket. One person only had a few quarters for the laundromat. Another, the judge, had over ten thousand dollars, but he gladly gave it all.” He laid a little ticket, like a subway stub that said One Way, on the table between us. Not really thinking twice, I emptied my pockets of the roughly $50 that I had and took the little ticket.
“There’s a bus that leaves tonight at 7 p.m. in front of the agency. Don’t miss it… don’t miss it. ”
I thought that was strange that he said it two times, hesitating in between. But then just as quickly, I brushed it aside.
For the first time he got a little firm, “This is a one way, non-refundable ticket”.
At this point I was so far in, I barely registered that I wasn’t coming back.
I could hardly wait the rest of the day. I went back to work, but then as the hours were slowly grinding on, I realized I would not be ready at 7:00 for a trip like that. So I left work early, went home and packed a bag for a 3-day vacation.
I showed up 10 minutes early and was surprised at the motley crew that was waiting, I assumed, for the same bus.
There was a young teenager, unkempt, looking like he’d been through a few things. There was a mother and a toddler in a stroller with another little preschooler in tow. There was a very smart looking young businessman and an old lady that didn’t look like she had too many years left.
Promptly at 7:00, a very rickety, half-size school bus drove up and we all piled in.
The bus wound its way into the countryside. Soon I no longer recognized the landmarks and had no idea where we were heading, so I just enjoyed the view and my anticipating thoughts until it got dark. Soon after dark we drove up to what looked like an abandoned farmhouse and even more abandoned big ol’ barn.
Until then no one had spoken to each other. Each one was lost in their own thoughts and watching out the window. The bus driver escorted us out of the bus, into the barn where there were two long benches running perpendicular on either side of the entryway. He punched our tickets, told us politely and gently to make ourselves comfortable and wait. He promptly drove off.
After the headlights of the bus disappeared, within the barn, our eyes became accustomed to the interior lit by the light of the full moon. As the night wore on, that light would be an encouragement. We could see on the floor among the straw and hay, many little paper punch outs, obviously from former travelers. We sat on the benches facing each other and gradually started to look each other over and finally look each other in the eye. Little by little, conversation was picked up and stories were able to be put together of each other’s past, or at least the circumstances that had brought them thus far. The common thread was that they were disillusioned and/or tired of this life, this world, be it by success or by failure, or by deception. They were very hopeful and happy to face a new bright future.
The hours wore on and so did the conversations wane. The children had long since fallen asleep after briefly exploring the dimly lit premises. Everyone sat patiently.
How long were we going to wait?
No one seemed to consider or state the obvious that was creeping into my consciousness. Why had we not questioned the travel agent or even the bus driver a bit more as to the veracity of this trip? Why had we not been more skeptical and asked for more credentials? With all the scams and phishing that were prevalent these days, why had that not even crossed our minds? These guys had quite a racket going. Look at all the evidence of the little white punchouts scattered on the floor. God only knew how many people had emptied their pockets and then been left to find their way back to civilization on foot. I was getting fidgety and increasingly uncomfortable. Finally I broke the silence and asked if anyone had Googled this agency. Of all the conversation until now, this was the only down-to-earth question or statement that anybody had said. They all looked at me in dismay.
“I don’t have anything to lose” said the disheveled teenager.
“What I have to lose means nothing to me anymore,” said the young businessman.
“This isn’t my first rodeo,” said the little old lady, who until that point had been strangely quiet and reserved. “I know people. This man is for real. He saw me in a crowd and picked me out.”
They each seemed so innocently convinced, but my conviction was waning fast. I felt overwhelmed, like I was sinking down a tube. At the same time, I couldn’t believe their naivety! How could they be so gullible? I did not want to make the long walk back by myself, so I tried for a short while to convince them and shared all my doubts with them and brushed off their sincere, simple comebacks. I was getting upset with them for not seeing things as I did. I stood up and paced back and forth, even towering over them to try to get them to see my point of view. The little papers on the floor seemed to join in with me –each one screaming –“You’re a fool!”
Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer, the foolishness of our situation, the unquestioning ignorance of the others, my futile frustrated attempts to convince any of them. I could no longer even hear what they were saying. My thoughts were screaming at me. I had even managed to wake the children with my arguing. One started to cry. So I said very loudly, “Fine! I’ll go back by myself! You come when you’re tired of waiting!” And I stormed out into the waiting moonlight.
As I stepped across the threshold, a blast of Light from behind me shook me to the core. I turned just in time to see the far wall of the interior of the barn lit up like a huge portal. I was enveloped for a split second with those same intense Greens, Blues and Gold of the mountains and sky and valleys and the waters that I had seen through the laptop.
Just as soon as I saw it, it was gone. A flash forever to be burned in my memory.
The semi-darkness of the inside of the barn welcomed me again. My companions were all gone. Not a trace of them was left, except for the little punch-out papers on the floor, now strangely quiet.
I don’t know how I made it back to town. The whole trip was a blur. I walked for a little while, crying in the moonlight. Someone must have picked me up, because I made it back to town long before night was over. But I don’t even remember who or how they were. I was in such a crushed, tearful daze.
The next morning, after the sleepless night, I cleaned out my apartment of every penny I could find. It was a few hundred dollars. I went to the agency and found the agent sitting at his desk. He was cool and somewhat distant. Businesslike and firm, though he still had the kind aura. I begged him for another ticket. I dumped all my cash on his desk. He barely flinched. He cited the terms he had told me the day before. “This is a non-returnable, non transferable ticket. I’m sorry I can’t help you more.” Then almost as an afterthought, he opened a drawer and pulled out a plastic bag with all my $50 of change from the day before and slid it across the desk to me.
“I’m sorry. I have an appointment,” he said. And left me sitting at his desk. I staggered out to the street and spent many days wandering in deep thought, going over in my mind all the details, especially the conversations with the agent and also of my companions of the trip. Now I realized why he said it two times: “Don’t miss it”. My wanderings turned into resolve. If I could not find my way back, I would tell anyone who would listen to me not to miss their bus when it comes. So I find myself here in this pub, across the table from where my story began. It is not a dream. I did not make it up. It happened to me. Please don’t let it happen to you.
(Wait for the ending to sink in before continuing. You can even wait till tomorrow to read on, if the Spirit so leads)
You might say, Well that’s not a very happy ending! There was no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Well, the happy ending will be for you to make. To not doubt and be left like this guy. Honor his begging you. Even his lack is not a failure, if you heed his plea. Now THAT is a happy ending. 🙂
This is a story, after all, like many of the parables Jesus told– of gnashing of teeth, or the Christian on the ice floe, or the story of two ducks and a frog, or the camel’s nose, to be a lesson in spite of their uncomfortable or even violent ending.
Here’s what Dad has to say:
“If they only knew, if they could just stand this test! I must look at them the way the Lord looks at us: if they only knew what the future holds for them, if they only knew the job we are considering them for! But I don’t dare tell them, because that would ruin the test, it would give them too much hope, they’d be willing then to do anything and endure anything if they knew what the reward was going to be, but we don’t dare tell them– otherwise it wouldn’t be a valid credible test.
But they’ve got to go through these trials and tribulations and testings and breakings and humblings without even knowing what the future holds, not even knowing they’re under consideration for something very much more important than they have ever done, without knowing that it’s a step upward, a promotion. This humbling is to see if they can take it, to see how good their loyalty is, how strong they are, how faithful they are, if they will be willing to do anything and just be a general flunky, whatever the Lord asks them to be, in spite of former glory and glorification!
It’s wonderful, it’s just thrilling to see them pass the test! It must be the way the Lord feels when He watches us go through trials, you know? He loves to watch us win the race, endure the affliction and the battle and fight through and win. But you can’t tell him the answers! –That’s cheating! You’ve just got to hand them the paper with the questions and they have to struggle through, and then, when they think they’re flunking, they find out they graduated!
Sometimes they don’t even know what the goal is and you don’t dare tell them because you don’t dare rescue them until they have really stood the test and shown that they were willing to give their lives to reach some goal, even though they don’t know what the goal is– just give their lives to the Lord, to the Principal and to His work, whatever it may be, not even knowing.– Like Abraham, you don’t have to understand, all you have to do is obey!
God help them to stand the test, Lord!- to fight a good fight, to finish the course and keep the faith, so they will inherit the crown and receive the reward that You have in store for them, the High Calling which is in Christ Jesus, the highest they could possibly have, Lord! They already have a high one, but You’ve got an even higher one in store for them, not just something good, but something better, the best! Help us not to fall short of Your best, Lord. Help us not to trade the best for something that was just simply good. Help us not to settle for anything less than Your best! Praise the Lord!– Hold on a little longer!- -the best is just around the corner! –And worth it!– Amen? (“Hold On!– the Victory is just outta Sight!” ML 1650 DB 2)
Prophecy…February 26, 2023
You can personally miss what you are supposed to accomplish and in a way, miss your bus like the guy in the story. Maybe your unbelief doesn’t go so far that you just walk out and give up. But your unbelief stops you from putting the Word into practice. It stops you from actually receiving and believing the answers you get to your questions. That stops you from moving forward with Me because you just keep turning round and round in the same questions or doubts. How can you take in more of the Word if you won’t accept the Word that you already have? How can you take on My mind if you don’t want to see things My way? Remember My ways are not your ways. So it can be difficult to accept My ways. Things seem so useless and boring here in this little wilderness, this little hideaway. But I have told you again and again that there is a purpose and that there are lessons to be learned. So why don’t you put your whole heart into learning? Why don’t you pour out your life as much as you can? You complain about not being able to pour out and how you don’t do any witnessing. But do you pour out your heart in prayer? Do you give to those around you? I mean giving in the spirit. I mean upholding the Word. I mean backing Me up with some praise and positiveness. I mean standing up on My side and showing those around you that you are with Me. For the young people it could be speaking up in class or using the weapons of the keys and praise and prayer in public or in their little groups. It could mean not complaining about this situation. Please My loves, I am telling you, all those complaints and murmurs are going to really weigh heavily on you when you come to the End. I know the trials are tough, but you are the one that is going to be sorry that you dragged your feet and didn’t really put your all into it. you are the one who will suffer the regret. So I am trying to warn you now so that you will pick up your game. So that you will fight, so that you will be more of a “tough soldier” so that you will be a bit more loyal to Me. I mean, what lover or husband likes his wife to be complaining behind his back? That isn’t very loyal. Can’t you take My side? Bring all of your doubts and complaints about My treatment of you to Me. And then I can tell you how I see things and why I am doing things this way. Even if you don’t really understand My answers and they don’t make sense to your carnal mind, can’t you still keep a brave face and decide that I am worth trusting?