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Suddenly I stood in the midst of heavenly creatures called angels. Escorted through a large passage and then through a giant arch, I was suddenly ushered before the throne of the Almighty. I was petrified. If I had come in a physical body my bones would have rattled in fear. It is a horrifying thought for one who never believed in God to stand before His throne. Not really knowing what to say or do, I fell on my face and wept.

As I lay prostrate before the throne of God trembling in fear, my whole life passed agonizingly before me. Every facet of my life burst into sight and every mortal deed or word was clearly revealed for all of heaven to see. Obviously, my life fell far short of the standards established by this heavenly order, and the weight of my deeds laid bare before God was more than a mortal could endure. Even the smallest lie, seemingly harmless or innocent on earth, struck like a giant sledge hammer, crushing me with every blow. My life continued to play like a giant recording, bringing even my innermost thoughts to light. How I wished the ordeal would end. The pain and remorse of a life reviewed by the Almighty God was unbearable. I longed for total annihilation.

The games we played as children, when we thought no one was looking, were openly replayed before this sacred audience. Private incidents had all been recorded by God Himself. I cringed at the sudden realization that I must account for every idea that had passed through my brain. Even as a child I had developed speech habits which were unpleasing to God. How could I have said such things? How could I have been so wicked when throughout life I considered myself good?

I continued to face my mortal life as viewed through God's eyes. Even my teenage years had been appalling. Cutting classes so I could smoke or get drunk, experimenting with sex after school to test what we had learned in class, joining the gang to smoke pot... at the time these things didn't seem so bad, but now as God re-examined them, even I was horrified at the acts of a teenage boy who thought he owned the world. Developing no respect for authority, arguing with my parents, lying and cheating and stealing because I lusted for things, I tried to fill an inward void that gnawed at my existence.

My rash experiment with life continued into college. With sports and sex as primary pursuits, my exploits seemed like a giant X-rated movie. Academic success was founded upon cheating and cribbing, never on diligence and honesty. All heaven continued to watch calmly and deliberately as the tawdry scenes unfolded. I had wanted to live my own life, to prove that I was a man, without realizing that every act was self-motivated. I had only served myself, ignoring everyone else including God. Such a waste of youthful energy!

Even as an adult I didn't change. I was quick to anger and constantly exploding in fury. I was even fired from my first job for arguing vehemently, which only heaped coals upon my bitterness. I continued to gratify self, intent on squeezing all I could out of life. Soon the glow of wine and women dimmed. My angry rush at life seemed futile. My goals faded and my desires were never consummated. Seeking happiness in the pleasures of the world only brought sorrow and pain. I gained no peace, no happiness and no joy. Life became a total bore. By the age of twenty-three I was a failure... no job, no security, not even a purpose for living.

Then I met Natalie. The one sweet remembrance I have always cherished was a preacher's kid, though she never let that bother her. Oh, the times we had together. You wouldn't believe the time we ... oh no! Not that, oh please don't show that. Oh, Lord, please have mercy! Natalie had been so sweet, so innocent, but I had seduced her with candlelight and champagne. For months we savored the freshness of life together, tasting its sugar-coated pleasures and sipping its sensuous thrills. Then it happened. Natalie changed. Some new twinge of conscience ruined everything, and our good times slowly dissolved. Finally she left me and ran off to Africa. There was nothing I could do. After that, life lost a large share of its glow.

At the age of thirty I was married. A few kids came along and things looked pretty bright for awhile. With a fine job, new car and great house, I thought I had it made as I approached my middle years. Determined to relax and forsaking the frenzy of youth for the repose of manhood, I thought I would live to be a hundred.

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