Judgment Day

 

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MEETING YOUR MAKER

I'm just about to push open the glass door when an overgrown rhododendron to my left bursts into bright orange flame, making me start back and bump into Amos.

"Suzie, did you—?" Amos asks.

I shake my head. "Uh-uh. And there's something weird about it." I point at the spontaneous bonfire. "Look at that! The bush has these big waxy green leaves that aren't burning."

There's a rustling as Vickie goes down on her knees, muttering something. "What's that?" Amos asks her.

"I said, take off your shoes. Everybody, take off your shoes! This is holy ground!"

We all stand around looking at each other. Then the door swings outward, framing a man with a tired face and a head of messy gray-white hair. He smiles at us, but his eyes are infinitely sad, as is his strangely accented voice when he speaks. "Come in, kinderlakh, my children. I've been expecting you."

"Who are you?" Leah demands.

"I am the Lord thy God, who took you out of Egypt and guided you away from Chatham's Forge."

Amos says, "Your accent... There's something familiar about it." He rubs his chin and says, "I know what it is... I never got to meet my grandparents, but my Dad did funny imitations of his father, who immigrated from Bialystok in 1919."

God smiles sadly. "Yes. I spent so much time among My people in Poland that of course I started to sound like them. I barely got out myself, back in '39."

To my amazement Vickie raises her voice then, anger trembling through it. "Wait just a second. You RAN AWAY and left Your people to face Hitler alone?"

"I tried to stop him, Vickie My daughter. He was only human but he gathered more power and evil intent than Ba'al and the whole rest of that crew put together." He points, not exactly at her but at all of us, and the air crackles soundlessly. "It was up to YOU to stop him. It was up to YOU to rein in your power-mad leaders before they unleashed the destructive energy of the sun on the surface of My beautiful world."

My boiling brain suddenly pushes all its steam out through one narrow hole, and I say quietly, "But You're the one who made us this way, Lord." He says nothing, so I continue: "Vickie and countless others prayed to You, and You never responded!"

"I hear your cries, Suzie My child. Those of you who think you don't believe cry the loudest. You pierce My heart."