It was a wonderful Saturday morning, the sun outside was 2hours shy of noon, and like we did every Saturday after hurriedly running through our chores, we waited for mum to approve that they had been done properly, and headed for the living room and in front of the TV. Saturday always had nice programs. As usual and much to my annoyance, Tobi my hyperactive, super annoying younger brother got the tv remote first. The first channel he flipped to caught everyone’s attention, why? Because the first phrase we heard was & I quote; THE RAPTURE HAS TAKEN PLACE! My heart literally stopped, my ears began to warm up and my armpits became itchy (my classic symptoms for intense anxiety or fear). I quickly looked around, everyone was as shocked as I was, all eyes clued to the screen.
The presenter was a white female, and she looked clearly distressed. She went on, “The rapture is said to have taken place in the early hours of today. There has been pandemonium all over the world as people woke up to find that their loved ones had disappeared. Cars crashed as drivers disappeared behind the wheels, and there have been 365 confirmed plane crashes as pilots disappeared along with passengers.”
As she spoke pictures and video clips of crash scenes flashed across the screen. There was chaos, people were running and screaming. She continued, Countless babies are said to have also disappeared from the pediatric and maternity wards of numerous hospitals and clinics across the globe. Another scene came on screen of a chaotic hospital as people who I assume were parents were screaming at confused medical staffs.
The presenter went on, “Could this be the much talked about and prophesied rapture? Has it finally happened? People have tried to take their lives and churches are packed full as people have flocked in there, hoping and praying for some kind of redemption”.
At that point there was a video clip of a man setting himself on fire because his wife and kids had disappeared, next were different clips of churches packed full, people struggling to get in, praying at the top of their voices. “There are people however who believe this is some kind of alien abduction. Others believe this is some kind of global science experiment by the government to reduce the world population. Questions are being asked, tensions are rising, the military are already being overpowered as protests and violence are springing up all over the world” She continued.
At this point, I kind of zoned out of what she was saying, I was really frightened. I looked at my mum for some sign of hope, but she looked as confused as I was and probably even more frightened. I could just imagine what was going through her mind- here she was, with all her children, not even one of them was taken. Yet we prayed every morning and night, we had family vigil every Friday and fasted on Saturdays. How could we have slept through the blast of the trumpet, I thought. Wasn’t there supposed to be a trumpet blast so loud, I heard it would wake the dead.
No one was smiling, Nimmy’s mouth was hanging opened, she was my elder sister. Only my baby brother seemed oblivious, for he was but a baby and had no idea what was going on. But why was he still here; I wondered. I thought all children make heaven? Many thoughts ran through my head.
Even Tobi was quiet, and for one of the few times you ever saw, a look of pure dread had settled on his
face. Taiwo was teary eyed, because her little mind kind of knew what this meant – we had not made heaven and the only other place you go apart from heaven was hell. “I don’t want to go to hellfire” she was murmuring.
My head was spinning, my vision blurred and my mind racing fast. God please forgive me for all my sins. Please give us a second chance…I prayed, Even though i knew it was a little too late for that. I heard my mum talking, I looked in her direction and she was talking to herself, “But I pray, I read and practice your word and I raise my children in the right way according to your word; Where did I miss it? Where did we miss it? Lord, but I prayed last night. Lord, I ….. ;” Her voice trails-of as she continues her monologue.
All the while, the news continued. There was silence in the room and it seemed like an eerie quiet had settled on the world outside as well. Saturday mornings where the noisiest days, but it was strangely quiet today. I imagined many things and all the troubles I had heard about the tribulation. I imagined the devil poking me with a pitchfork and gorging my eyes out, all in his attempt to get me to take the mark of the beast (I had seen it in a movie once). It seemed so real now, much more terrifying. I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to resist that much torture.
Still on the news; the presenter continues “Riots are breaking out everywhere, shops are being burgled and items, especially food items being stolen.” It occurred to me then that it might be dangerous to go out. We needed food, supplies, protection (probably guns too, I thought) and we needed to lock ourselves in. Though mum always bought enough foodstuff to last month, I wondered how long it would last before hunger drove us out.
My mind was still pondering this when the TV scene changed to another set of presenters. Hey, wait a minute! I thought. I know these two. Oh my God, they did not make it too? And why on earth were they smiling? Then I heard the man talking “That is what it would look like on the day the rapture happens, only worse. It would be chaotic, we would be helpless, so let us live in the right way God wants us to live and make heaven.”
Realization dawned on me. You mean the rapture hasn’t taken place? Everyone in the living room started talking at the same time. Mum falls on her knees and is talking to God. Tobi makes a sound that’s somewhere between a shout, a sigh and a hiss. My sister’s eyes are closed. I am so relieved, that I practically go deaf for a few seconds, missing most of the words these presenters were saying.
They say and as if on cue, everyone in our living room falls to their knees at the same time. They say a prayer for forgiveness and for God’s mercy on the world. Mum is crying and I almost do too. When the prayer on the TV is over, mum still makes us pray another longer prayer and thanking God for a second chance. She then gets up and heads to her room and I am sure she was going to pray some more.
As soon as mum leaves the living room, I opened the door and ran outside, heading to my neighbors house. Onose! Onose! I screamed. Onose was one of our landlords many children and my friend. She was 16 and two years my senior. She runs out of her house, eyes wide. What? Wetin happen? she asked half panicked. She only spoke pidgin English even though she could speak English. She believed it made you seem tough.Did you see that news? Did you see that program? I asked, still agitated. Which program? she replied, obviously irritated. The one they just finished now, the one about the rapture, I pressed. She gave me a blank look for a few seconds, then she stared hard at me and I knew she was trying to suppress her anger. “So na wetin make you dey shout my name like say Pedro dey bite that your thin leg?” She said in anger! Pedro was their dog and I hated that dog because it always acted mad. You could rarely tell when the dog was being playful or agitated so I always stayed clear. “No, I no see any rapture news” she said.
In fact, none of our other neighbors had seen it. Two days later, on Monday when I got to school, I asked all my friends and not one of them had seen the news. Not a single soul. To this day, I have not found anyone who saw that picturesque news clip of what the aftermath of the rapture would look like. And I wonder if it is possible for seven people to have seen the same thing that wasn’t there or a vision or a wonderful yet frightful news that every other person had managed to miss.
“1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:50-52: “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
“Revelation 3:3: Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
May we not miss the whole point of why we are here. May we not be so caught up in this life, that we forget or are too busy to fulfill purpose. Heaven should not be a place we aspire to make, it is our home, period. But the truth is even children miss their way home sometimes and it would be a big shame, if after all the struggle, hardship, wealth, good life here on earth with our numbered days, we miss our real home with God in eternity.
Every single waking morning, is a testimony that God still has a purpose for us here. Live it well.
By Tolu Idiakoha