Jack rolled over and smacked the beeping alarm clock that jolted him awake for the third time.
"Hey babe, it's your big day...better get up," said Jack while still looking at the back of his eyelids. Mandy was scheduled to make a sales presentation to a top client and the last thing they needed was a late start out the door.
"Babe..." he groaned, turning back over to give Mandy a little nudge but only to discover that she had already risen.
"Hope she's got the coffee brewing," mumbled Jack as he trudged into the bathroom to brush his teeth. Jack couldn't help but notice the strikingly clear, blue sky outside his bedroom window as he considered the busy day ahead.
"Morn'n early bird," said Jack, making his way downstairs. No answer.
Rounding the corner into the kitchen Jack was seriously disappointed to find an idle coffee pot and Mandy nowhere in site. He checked the downstairs bathroom, the front porch, and the back yard. Jack's heart began racing when he found Mandy's car still in the garage. "Mandy," he hollered in the early morning quiet. No answer.
Jack dialed Mandy's cell phone knowing that she always answered his calls -- no matter what; but there was no answer. An urgent text message also received no reply.
Jack dialed Zoe. Mandy and Zoe stayed in constant contact. Surely, she would know something about her mom's early departure. Jack closed his cell phone as Zoe's pleasant voice offered him the opportunity to leave a message at the tone.
With trembling hands, Jack dialed 911. The line was busy. Busy?
Jack dialed his bother Joshua.
"Hello," said Joshua.
"Thank God you answered! Mandy's gone," said Jack.
"Jack are you ok?" asked Josh tentatively.
"Did you hear me? Mandy has vanished. She's gone -- out of the clear blue sky. I can't find her anywhere," said Jack as his airway narrowed and breathing became difficult.
"Yeah, I figured she'd be gone, too," said Josh.
"What? What do you mean 'too'," questioned Jack.
"Lizzy and Dean -- they were gone when I awoke. Jack, have you turned on the news?"
"No...just tell me, what's happening, Josh."
"I think it's the rapture, Jack. I think they're gone."
"Gone," Jack exhaled and closed his phone.
He turned on CNN to find a terrifying headline splashed across the screen: Breaking News: Millions reported missing worldwide.
Jack ran upstairs. There was no sign of a struggle. He picked up Mandy's well worn Bible from the nightstand. If anyone would be taken in the rapture, Jack knew it would be his wife. She was the real deal when it came to her relationship with God, continually in the word -- growing, learning, praying, and sharing the gospel. Jack, on the other hand, found it difficult to believe in something he could not see.
In fact, Jack bucked hard when Mandy invited him to an "End Times" bible study just months earlier. Mandy's interest in the daily headlines had intensified lately. She watched closely as conflict escalated in the Middle East, as disasters increased worldwide, as the European Union developed, and as the world pushed for peace and security in Israel. Mandy had tried tirelessly to talk to Jack about such things but he didn't want to see the signs...it was easier to ignore them.
And now Mandy and Zoe were gone and he was left behind.
On Jack's nightstand rested a book with a post-it-note on the cover:
Dear Jack, I hope you'll read this book. It's very important and explains a lot of things. Please read it for me. Love, Mandy
The book was titled 'What In The World Is Going On?' by Dr. David Jeremiah. The subtitle: 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore.
Mandy had given that book and note to Jack when he refused to attend the Bible study. She would not give up. He would not give in.
Yet Jack knew what would happen next and it sent chills down his spine. The world would face unimaginable tribulation and the Antichrist. He was thankful that Mandy and Zoe would not face the imminent devastation.
Jack gripped the book with a profound sense of regret. He looked once again at the clear blue sky. The rapture had indeed come to pass, as Bible prophecy foretold. Now Jack believed what he could not see.
"I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you
will believe" John 14:29 (NIV).
Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, a mother and a freelance writer. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised.