"Mom, I'm going across the street to Gavin's house, okay?" Cole yelled to his mother as he walked toward the front door.
Liz pulled her chair back from the computer desk in the family room and went to speak with her son. "Cole, would it hurt you to come and talk to me, instead of yelling?"
"I'm in a hurry, Mom," Cole complained. "So, can I go?"
"Yes, but be home by five o'clock," Liz replied. "We're going to that barbecue dinner at the church tonight."
"Yeah, whatever," Cole mumbled as he went out the door.
Before Liz could return to working on the computer, the doorbell rang.
"Oh, hi, Mom." Liz gave her mother-in-law a hug. "So, what are you up to today?"
"I just heard that the farmer's market has some delicious apples on sale. Why don't we go and buy some?" Pat suggested. "You can ride with me in my car."
"That sounds like a wonderful idea!" Liz grabbed her purse and locked the front door.
"How are things going with Cole this week?" Pat asked as she drove out of the driveway.
"Okay, I guess," said Liz. "But, he doesn't seem interested in church, the Bible, or anything having to do with the Lord. That worries me, Mom."
"Does he pray with you and Kevin at bedtime?"
"He'll tolerate our praying, but he won't pray himself," Liz responded. "When he was little, he would say a bedtime prayer. Now he's too old to simply repeat words . . . When we encourage him to pray, he just gets angry. We're afraid he'll turn against the Lord completely if we pressure him too much."
"Well, the Lord knows the best way to reach him," said Pat.
"That's just great!" Cole muttered as he walked across the street. "My best friend goes fishing with his dad, and he doesn't even invite me."
Cole unlocked his front door and yelled, "Mom, I'm home. Gavin went fishing. Can you give me some money for ice cream? I've already spent my allowance."
Cole waited a moment for his mother to appear.
"Mom!" he yelled as loudly as he could. "I need some money!"
Maybe she's not answering because she's upset that I'm yelling. Well, fine! I'll just find something in the house to eat.
As Cole rummaged through the refrigerator, looking for some chocolate cupcakes, he couldn't remember when the house had been so quiet.
He sat down at the dining room table. Since Mom and Dad aren't here now, I don't have to waste time praying! I can just eat!
After devouring four cupcakes and drinking a large glass of chocolate milk, Cole decided to look around the house to see what his mother was doing. As he entered the family room, he noticed that the computer was on, and his mother hadn't logged out of the banking website, where she had just paid a bill.
I could transfer some money from my parents' checking account into my savings account! . . . No, I'd better not . . . they'd probably catch me.
He logged out of the website and shut down the computer.
Maybe she's in the basement or out in the garden. Cole checked the laundry room, the basement, and then the backyard. But his mother was nowhere in sight.
Where could she be? I was gone only five minutes.
He ran upstairs, two steps at a time, and raced into his parents' bedroom. Then, he checked his room and his sister's bedroom.
She's not in the house! Maybe she's in the garage, or she took the car someplace, Cole reasoned. He ran downstairs and flung open the door to the garage.
The car's still here!
Cole's heart began beating faster. Maybe she went next door to visit Mrs. Martinez.
Cole knocked several times on their neighbor's door, but no one responded.
Mrs. Martinez is always home! What's going on!
Cole quickly looked up and down his street, but he didn't see even one person. On a nice day like today, kids play outside. Where is everyone?
Cole went back inside and sat down on the living sofa. I don't understand this. Where could my mother be? She couldn't just disappear . . . unless . . .
Cole felt an icy chill go up and down his spine.
A few weeks ago, Pastor Johnson talked about the Rapture. He said someday Jesus would come and take all the people who had accepted Him as Savior to heaven. The pastor said the people would just disappear.
Cole felt his throat tighten as feelings of panic overwhelmed him.
Oh, no! I've missed the Rapture! Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa are in heaven, and I've been left behind. What am I going to do?
Cole fell on his knees next to the sofa as tears streamed down his cheeks.
"God, please forgive me for my sins," he sobbed. "I waited too long to accept You as my Savior. I know I should have gone up to the altar after the pastor's sermon, but I didn't want to do it in front of my friends. I thought I had plenty of time."
"Cole, are you okay?" Liz put her hand on son's shoulder. Cole had been praying so intently that he hadn't heard his mother and grandmother come in.
Cole got up off his knees and hugged his mother. "Mom, I'm so glad you're still here!"
"Come, sit down with us," Liz told him. "Tell us what's wrong."
Cole sat on the sofa between his mother and grandmother.
"I thought that you and Dad and Grandma went up in the Rapture to heaven, and I was left behind here by myself."
Cole wiped his face with his sleeve. "I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to come into my heart. I'm glad that it's not too late for me."
"That's wonderful, Cole!" Liz responded.
"You know, if we pray and try to please Jesus every day," his grandmother explained, "then we won't have to fear that we'll be left behind. We'll have God's peace in our heart, knowing that things are right between Jesus and us."
"I do feel His peace, Grandma," Cole replied. "From now on, I'm going to read my Bible and pray every day, so I'll be ready when He comes."
By Nancy A. and Howard W. Stevens