lesson13 Who Shall Dwell
1.It came on a Sunday afternoon.They had prayed that it would never come,ever,but suddenly here it was.
2.The father was resting on a couch and half-listening to some music on the radio.Mother was in the kitchen preparing dinner and the younger boy and girl were in the bedroom drawing pictures.The older boy was working in the shed out back.
3.Suddenly the music was cut off.Then,the announce almost shouted：
4“Bomb alert！Attention！A number of missiles have just been launched across the sea,heading this way.They are excepted to strike within the next sixteen minutes.This is a verified alert！Take cover！Keep your radios tuned for further instructions.
5.“My God！”the father gasped.His face was ashen,puzzled,as though he knew that this was real——but still couldn't quiet believe it.
6.“Get the children,”his wife blurted,then dashed to the door to call the old boy.He stared at her a brief moment, seeing the fear in her face,but also a loathing for all men involved in the making and diapatching of nuclear weapons.
7.The father jumped to his feet,and ran to the bedrrom.“Let's go,”he snapped,“shelter drill！”Although they had had many rehearsals,his voice and bearing sent the youngsters ashing for the door without a word.
8.He hustled them through the kitchen to rear door and sent them to the shelter.As he returned to the bedroom,the older boy came running in.
9.“This is the hot one,son,”said his father tersely,“the real one.”He and the boy stared at each other a long moment,both knowing what must be done and each knowing the other would more than do his share,yet wondering still at the frightening fact that it must be done at all.
10.“How much time have we got,dad？”
11.“Not long,”the father feplied,glancing at his watch,“twelve,maybe fourteen minutes.”
12.The boy left.The father stepped to the closet,slid the door opened and picked up the metal box containing their important papers.He then picked up the big family Bible from the headboard on the bed.Everything else they would need had been stored in the shelter the past several months.He heard his wife approaching and turned as she entered the room.
14.“Yes,”he replied,“are the kids gone in？”
15.“They're all down,”she answered,“I still can't believe it is real.”
16.“We've got to believe it,”he said,looking at her steadily in the eye,“we can't afford not to.”
17.Outside,the day was crisp and clear,typical of early fall.He looked at his watch again.Four minutes had clapse since the first alarm.Twelve minutes,more or less,remained.
18.Inside the shelter,he latched the door,and looked around to see that his family was squared away.Now it began.The waiting.
19.The man and his wife knew that others would come soon,begging and crying to be taken in now that the time was here.
20.They had argued about this when the shelter was being built.It was in her mind to share their refuge.“We can't call ourselves Christians and then deny safety to our friends when teh showdown comes.”she contended,“that isn't what God teaches.”
21.“That's nothing but religious pap,”he retorted with a degree of anger.“God created the family as the basic unit of society,”he reasoned.“That should make it plain that a man's primary Christian duty is to protect his family.”
22.“But don't you see？”she protested,“We must prepare to purify ourselves……to rise above this 'mine' thinking and be as God's own son,who said,'love thy neighbor.'”
23.“No”he replied,“I can't buy that.”Then,after a moment's thought,“It is my family I must save,no one more. You.These kids.Our friends are like the people of Noah's time：he warned them of the coming flood when he built the ark on God's command.He was rediculed and scoffed at,just as we have been rediculed.No,”and here his voice took on a new sad sureness,“it is meant that if they don't prepare,they die.I see no need for further arguement.
24.With seven minutes left,the first knock rant the shelter door.“Let us in！ For God's sake.”
25.He recognized the voice.It was his first neighbor toward town.
26.“No！”shouted the father,“There is only room for us.Go！”
27.Again came the pounding.Louder.More urgent.
28.“You let us in or we'll break down this door！”He wondered if they will actually getting a ram of some sort to batter at the door.He was reasonably certain it would hold.
29.The seconds ticked relentlessly away.Four minutes left.
30.His wife stared at the door and moaned slightly.“Steady,girl,”he said,evenly.The children looked at him, frightened, puzzled.He glared at his watch,ran his hands through his hair,and said nothing.
31.Three minutes left.
32.At that moment,a woman cried from the ourside,“If you won't let me in,please take my baby,my little girl.”
33.He was stunned by her plea.What must I do“He asked himself in sheer agony.What man on earth could deny a child the chance to live？
34.At that point,his wife rose,and stepped to the door.Before he could move to stop her,she let down the latch and dashed ourside.Instantly a three year old girl was thrust into the shelter.He hastily fought the door latch on again,then stared at the frightened little newcomer in anger,hating her for simply being there in his wife's place and knowing he could not turn her out.
35.He sat down heavily,trying desperately to think.The voice outside grew louder.He glanced at his watch,looked at the faces of his own children a long moment,then rose to his feet.There were two minutes left,and he made his decision. He marveled now that he had even considered any other choices.
36.“Son.”he said to the older boy,“you take care of them.”It was as simple as that.
37.Unlatching the door,he thrust it open and stepped out.The crowd surged toward him.Blocking the door with his body,he snatched up the two children nearest him,and shoved them into the shelter.“Bar that door,”he shouted to his son,“and don't open it for at least a week！”
38.Hearing the latch drop into place,he turned and glanced around at the faces in the crowd.Some of were still babbling incoherently,utterly panic-stiken.Others were quiet now,no longer afraid.
39.Stepping to his wife's side,he took her hand and spoke in a warm,low tone.“They will be allright,the boy will lead them.”He grinned reassuringly and added,“We should be together,you and I.”
40.She smiled wordlessly through her tears and squeezed his hand,exchanging with him in the one brief gesture a lifetime and more of devotion.
41.Then struck the first bomb,blinding them,burning them,blasting them into eternity.