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The rain is coming down in sheets, The moon is all but gone; A carpet of mud lies at my feet, It's twenty years 'til dawn. Alone without a shelter Or a coat to keep me warm; How could it be a man like me Should perish in a storm? The wind is blowing stinging rain, I'm wet, I'm cold, I'll freeze! Now, suddenly, I see a man Crawling on his knees. He needs help, but so do I; My energy I'll save. If I help this lost man out I may see early grave. Save yourself, take no risks, He's obviously a bum; My wife and kids would be so lost If I should now succumb. A flash of light! First pain, then no… Replaced by calm instead; My body's breathless at my feet; Dear God! I must be dead! I must have…Wait! I hear a voice; But no…It couldn't be… It sounds just like my father Who died in 'eighty-three. I turn and look, and there he stands, Still wearing his warm smile; I pause to find the words to say, He says, ""It's been a while."" I laugh and cry and hold him tight And, once again, I'm warm; I tell him of my horrid night Spent shivering in the storm. Now other loved ones greet me; Together we rejoice; ""Oh my friends, I've missed you so.."" Emotion cracks my voice. ""This is great! I LOVE it here! My new home suits me fine!"" ""Hold it, son,"" my father says, ""You can't yet call it 'mine'. ""You've had your test in earthly life, Now go and get your grade. If you lived the way I taught I know you've got it made."" ""Sounds just fine, just point the way; Just tell me who to see."" Father says, ""I'll be your guide; Come and follow me."" My father leads me through a hall, And now up to a door. ""Go on through, my dear young son, Now I must go no more. It's up to you to speak with Him, I can't help you here; For I know He knows you better than The man in every mirror. ""Good luck, my boy; I believe in you; I'm sure that you've done fine! I'm sure that you have made me proud That you're a son of mine."" My father smiles, and points at the door; And now I pass on through; I turn…I look…Behold, THE LORD! I can't believe it's true! On my knees, oh, look at Him! His eyes emit pure love! All those glorious names for kings Fit Him like a glove! But look…What's that? It's not a tear! But NO…Oh yes, it is! A tear is on the Savior's cheek… What could have caused this? Shock and fear both strike at once! I must have failed my test! No! No! No! It couldn't be… I did my very best! Look! What's that? I see it now; My life's before my eyes. I remember all I did on earth, My mind is filled with ""Why""s. ""Oh, Dear Lord, I went to church, And took an active part!"" ""But, my son, you did not run; You stood there at the start. ""It's true you had the roadmap, But that's not all you need; You must move along the course Or failure's guaranteed."" ""But, Lord, why was I taken While I was still so young? You could have made the lightning hit That poor old tired bum! ""For I had such potential! I'll be more missed than him; His life's been lived, he just exists Like an old and dying limb!"" ""You're mistaken once again, my son; You've got your thinking wrong; Just because a man's on top Doesn't mean that he is strong. ""You were taught right from your birth To be a good young saint; But the soul of gold that you hold Is just some colored paint. ""You had your chance and he did not, So he has more the right To stay and search for bushels where You may have hid your light. Now, son, I'm full of patience; But you just would not try; When you denied that so-called bum, My son, the Heavens cried! ""For men like him, not men like you, Will make my kingdom strong; I'm sorry, son, you haven't won, I wish that I were wrong. ""If only you had reached your hand To draw this fellow in, You would have stepped across the start And in race to win. ""Had you began to treat this man With kindness and with love, I could have prepared for you A mansion here above. ""But, as it stands, I must now ask For you to, please, just leave. You cannot be right here with me; Eternally I'll grieve."" My Lord was done! That was it! I'm filled with disbelief! I can't be with those I love And now I'm filled with grief. ""Hello, Dad, I…I just don't know… I…I can't believe I LOST! I realize now I was playing with A test of such high costs!"" My father's eyes are filled with tears, My friends now hear the news; Although they have eternal joy, They're ever saddened too. They cry goodbye as I leave, Fading through the haze; My sorrow deep; I sowed, now reap; I've seen my own best days. A FLASH OF LIGHT! Hey, what now? I'm lying on my back! A doctor's looking down at me, I'm breathing through a sack! What is this? Am I awake? Was it all a dream? The doctor looks into my eye, I squint to fight his beam. ""Doctor, what has happened? How did I get here?"" The doctor sits beside my bed And looks into my ear. ""You got hit by a lightning bolt, And, man, you nearly died! You owe your life to some old man Who rushed there to your side. He dragged you, pushed you, gave you breath, And brought you to a road; Now he's lying, dying there; You were such a load."" I look to the right, another man Is lying on a bed; It's the man, the so-called bum Who saved me from the dead! He's breathing slow and I don't know But what he's almost gone; Now I hear that familiar voice, From my dream it lingered on: ""If only you had reached your hand To draw this fellow in, You would have stepped across the start And in the race to win."" I'm allowed to call a friend, My wife is on her way; The Elders soon will be here too, And over him shall pray. I'm going to sleep once again By hypodermic choice, And, as I fade, again I hear That kind familiar voice; ""Had you began to treat this man With kindness and with love, I could have prepared for you A mansion here above."" I rest my eyes now knowing I'm moving 'long the course; With newfound strength I'll return at length Triumphant to the source.
Wes Stephenson

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