A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

HELEN browsed through the hospital's magazine, encountering yet another article on
    Age Retardation.   Five so far, she thought.   What's the use?   What good has it done
  The world Helen lived in had become obsessed with prolonging one's life.
And who could blame it?   Now that science had proven the existence of Hell.
   From the opposite end of the hall she noticed Gramps' doctor rapidly approaching.   She
stoop up to greet him, hoping for good news.
   "Helen, please, have a seat," Dr. Gilman said.
   So much for hope, she thought.   Her eyes welled up with tears.
   "I'm sorry; we've tried.   But we can't keep him alive much longer."
   "I want to see him!"
   "I'm not sure that's wise."
   "I don't care what he looks like.   I WANT TO SEE HIM!"
   "Very well," the doctor sighed.   "Come this way."

   How ironic, she thought, watching her grandfather sustained by myriads of tubes.   All
along we thought this life was hell, and it turned out to be the closest thing to heaven.

She reached over and rubbed his forehead, affording him whatever comfort it was worth.   As
he gazed at her, he suddenly squeezed his eyes shut - something was wrong.
   An alarm went off, initiated by one of the instruments.   Her grandfather turned frantic,
wildly jerking his feet.   Two nurses and Doctor Gilman burst in, one nurse, recognizing
Gramps' reaction, grabbed the large ice pack standing by.
   The doctor grabbed Helen's arm, but she broke his grip.   "NO!   Tell me what's going on?
Why the ice pack?"

   "Please, leave the room," the doctor insisted.
   Helen's grandfather screamed uncontrollably.   The nurse squeezed the ice pack around
his feet, trying to alleviate the pain.   But it was futile, as the burning sensation crept up his
legs, engulfing the rest of his body.
   Helen tried to help, but Doctor Gilman held her back.   "Helen, please, there's nothing you
can do!   NURSE, come here, give me a hand!"

   "NO!   LET GO!"   Helen struggled against them, trying to reach her grandfather, who was
now literally bending the bed rails to keep from falling in.   When it was finally over, his
frozen contorted face reminded those still alive of the horror awaiting them.

   Helen ran.   She desperately wanted to get drunk, but that would only increase her
chances of finding Hell sooner.   Outside the hospital she hurried down the block, bumping
into pedestrians.   They panicked, urging her to slow down.   The world Helen lived in was
fear ridden.   Running in public was against the law.   Driving over twenty was deemed too
dangerous.   You couldn't fly.   You couldn't smoke.   You shouldn't drink.   Every effort was
made to prolong life while science desperately searched for a way to cheat death.
   Helen longed for the old days, when ignorance was bliss.   At least then you could endure
life by hoping for something better on the other side.   Now, Helen kept thinking, you lived in
hell twice . . .

   The next day Helen got up early and prepared for a busy day of meeting relatives and making funeral
arrangements.   Her commuter train into the city arrived late, but a death in the family had a way of
tempering such annoyances.   She sat by the window watching the heads go by as the train began to move.
The last head disappeared when a woman seated next to her tried to start a conversation.
   "You take the train often?"
   "Sometimes," Helen said, without looking at the woman.
   "So do I.   My name is Sally Thincher.   My husband and I recently moved into the suburbs.   He's a pastor.
We took over an existing church in the city.   I'm his secretary, Sunday school teacher, and organist."
chuckled.   "I help out with everything but the preaching."
   Helen smiled, hoping the conversation was over.
   "You attend church?" Sally asked.
   "No."   Helen sunk back in her seat and closed her eyes.
   "I'm sorry.   You probably have things on your mind.   But I do want to give you this invitation to our
  Sally extended a colorful brochure.   Helen, opened her eyes, and glanced at the title: IF YOU WERE

   "Excuse me," Helen said.   "But why ask a question like this?"
   Sally smiled.   "Oh, please don't be offended, but it's an important question.   It's something everyone
should ask themselves."

   "But what's the point?   We all know the answer to that.   I think it's tasteless."
   "Oh, but you see, Jesus Christ offers hope.   He came to . . ."
   "I'm sorry Miss."   Helen shoved the brochure back at Sally.   "But I've heard of your Jesus, and I know
what He wants in return.   I don't want to give up my freedom."

   "But what freedom do you have now, living in constant fear?"
   "That's my problem, and if you don't stop this conversation, I'll have the conductor re . . ."
   Helen's voice was drowned out by a loud crunching sound.   She slid against Sally as the train began
turning on its side.   A derailment was taking place, their bodies being flung and piled against one side of
the car as it came off its rail.   When the car finally settled, Helen found herself pinned under two seats that
had ripped off from their mountings.   She screamed.
   "I'M TRAPPED.   HELP!   SOMEBODY HELP ME!"   Helen felt something sharp, piercing her leg, keeping her
from pulling it out without shredding it.   "PLEASE SOMEONE HELP!"
   Amidst the cries and moans, Helen heard Sally's voice approaching from her blind side.   "Hold on, don't

   Sally crawled among the debris, reaching Helen to assess her predicament.
   "We have to lift the weight off your legs," Sally cried.
   "I tried, but it's too heavy."   Helen smelled something burning.   A fire had started somewhere in the car.
"I DON'T WANT TO DIE.   Please help me.   I don't want to go to Hell."
   "No one does!" Sally said.   "Now calm down and do as I say!"
   Sally positioned herself along side Helen.   "Now Helen, lift up with me . . ."
   "I CAN'T!"
   "Come-on, PUSH!"
   The two of them managed to ‘bench press’ the seats, holding it up in the air.   The sharp protrusion was
no longer trapping Helen's leg.   She was now free to slide out, but couldn't, as long as she had to hold the
weight up at the same time.
   "Helen!   Drag yourself out!"
   "I can't . . . It's getting too heavy."
   "Hold-on then."   Unable to reach something to prop underneath the seats, Sally wriggled her legs,
pushing aside Helen's.   "Helen let go.   Let it rest on my legs."
   "Do as I say!"   Sally stopped pushing up, forcing Helen to let go.   Sally groaned as her legs were now
bracing up the weight, allowing Helen to finally slide out.

   "What about you?"   Helen said, seeing Sally now trapped in excruciating pain.   The smoke in the car had
   "It's okay," Sally flinched, in between breaths, "I'm going to Heaven . . . You're the one in danger.   Get
out now!"

   Helen hesitated, caught off-guard by her claim.
   "I'll bring back help!"   Helen crawled toward one end of the car, where two paramedics were able to reach
in and grabbed her.   "Wait!   There's someone else . . ."
   "Come-on lady, you gotta get out of here.   This thing's going to blow any second."
   "No!"   Helen kept yelling, as they rapidly carried her away from the car.   "You gotta go back . . !"
   Now several yards away, the explosion's impact slammed all three of them to the ground . . .

   Helen awoke in the hospital, confused, but thankful that it wasn't Hell.   The following day an older
gentlemen paid her a visit.
   "Hello, you must be Mrs. Slater.   I'm Rev. Bob Thincher, Sally's husband."
   Helen sat up in bed, surprised and embarrassed at the same time.   She covered her mouth and began to
cry.   "I'm sorry, please forgive me.   I didn't mean for your . . ."
   "Please, please, don't cry.   It's all right, you couldn't help it."
   "But I feel so responsible."   Helen continued to cry as the reverend pulled a chair, bedside.   After several
moments she stopped to wipe her eyes.   Bob smiled as he waited for her to gain her composure.
   "I'm sorry," he said, "but I just wanted to say: if you need anything, our church is willing to help."
   Helen stared back, intrigued by his smile.
   "So, when are they releasing you?"
   "Soon," she said.   "Please don't be offended . . . but something about your wife keeps coming back to

   "What's that?"
   "Two days ago my grandfather passed away and he was terrified."   Helen fought back a tear.   "But your
wife . . . Well, she didn't seem scared.   She even risked her own life."

   Bob nodded, still smiling while a tear traced its way along his cheek.
   "I don't understand," Helen continued, "didn't she know?"
   "About Hell?" Bob said.   "Yes she knew.   But may I show you something?"   He reached into his coat pocket
and pulled out a small Bible.   "This verse will answer your question.   Referring to Jesus Christ, the Bible says
that He died to, ‘...deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.’
(Heb. 2:15)   Helen, we live in a world where everyone spends their whole life fearing death.   That fear keeps
us in bondage, restricting our freedom to live.   Christ came and died to deliver us from fear."

   "Your wife said something about Heaven," Helen said.
   "Yes, she's there now."
   "But how can you know that!   And how can you smile, when your wife is dead?"   Helen broke into tears
   "Helen, please, listen.   The Bible says the reason there's a Hell is because we ‘...all have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God;’
(Rom. 3:23).   Our sinful state is what keeps us from going into Heaven.   God
is holy and He can't allow sin in His presence.   It wouldn't be Heaven if He did.   But Christ paid the price for
our sin, He went to Hell for us.   All we have to do is repent, acknowledge what He did for us, and trust Him
to save us. . ."

   Bob showed Helen more verses and as she listened, she realized the world she lived in had one ray of
hope after all . . .

[Please refer to the Back]

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth."
  Mat. 13:41-42

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast."
  Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the
, the truth, and the life: no man
unto the Father, but by me."

(John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(Rom. 5:8-9)   THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
[REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
[TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
  Rom. 10:9

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