April 24 ended in the most anticlimactic fashion.
The minute and hour hand met at twelve, signaling the start of a new day. Jesus did not appear. No trumpet sounded. The skies did not part. As Pastor Graham Wilcox crossed the invisible boundary into April 25, he realized he had been mistaken. Like everyone else, Wilcox had been left behind.
But how had he been wrong? Wilcox checked the time on his phone on the off chance the clock on the wall was fast. No—it was actually two minutes slow. After the last of his dejected parishioners departed, the Reverend retreated to his office, where he revisited the reasons for his prediction of Jesus’ return. His vision of evil crawling across peoples and nations until it established a chokehold on the entire world had seemed so clear. As did the various numbers Wilcox had traced through scripture, which all pointed to April 24, 2016 as being the date of Jesus’ return. But the day had unfolded like any other. For the briefest of moments, dark clouds had consumed an otherwise pleasant spring afternoon, but the ominous skies faded as quickly as they had arrived, without shedding one raindrop or producing a single clap of thunder.
Wilcox sat at his desk and stared at the webcam attached to his computer, searching for the right words to say to all his brothers and sisters who had believed his prediction and to all the critics who had spent the last year mocking him. His emotions were volatile—a powder keg of disappointment, confusion, anger, and guilt. Yet, even in that moment, Wilcox’s mental filter began to organize these feelings through the lens of his tenacious faith in God.
He turned the camera on and began to record the message fermenting in his soul. The pastor’s unwavering belief in the ancient promise of Christ allowed him to speak with resolve. Now that he had worked through his initial weakness, he stared at the camera in a way that bordered on defiance.
A noise in the back of the empty church interrupted him. Wilcox stopped recording. He waited for someone to emerge from the back room —perhaps some straggling congregant struggling with Jesus' failure to appear. When no one appeared, the Pastor rose to investigate the sound. But before he could even take a step forward, Wilcox came face to face with the evil he had been railing against—the shadow surreptitiously spreading across the world. Though he had foreseen this darkness, witnessing it so clearly with his own eyes surprised him.
The intruder’s hand tightened around the gun. Unable to move, Wilcox stood frozen in place.
“Why are you doing this?” Wilcox asked.
His assailant squeezed the trigger in reply. Graham Wilcox’s last thought was that perhaps he would get to see Jesus after all—just a little late.
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