“You’re human. Because of your humanity, you’re destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”
Al scowled at the thought circling his mind.
“That’s not true,” he said. “I’m the master of my own fate. I determine my destiny. I don’t need to follow someone’s false god, when I know who the real god is.”
“I see. So…this is your decision then? You’re choosing to do this?”
“Yes! This is my decision.” Al quickly knelt down to make a final check of his equipment. Everything needed to be in working order. Precision was vital.
“Why then, do you doubt, Al?”
“I have no doubts!” He seethed through clinched teeth. Al needed the voice inside his mind to cease. “You’re trying to distract me. In the name of the one true god, I bid you leave me!”
“I can’t leave you, Al. I love you. This isn’t what I want for you. It’s the enemy’s lie that binds you.”
Al dropped his screwdriver on the hard-packed sand and circled the tiny, dark, mud-hut room. For the first time, he recognized his emotions betraying him.
“It’s you who are the enemy.” His clinched fists beat against his temples, as he feverishly paced. “You think I don’t realize what you’re trying to do here? You’re timing is perfect! ‘The enemy will try to intercede at the critical moment’ is exactly what my mentor told me. I’m prepared to resist you!”
“And yet, you haven’t followed through with your plan yet. You know…deep inside…that this is precisely what the real enemy wants you to do. His tactics are subtle and cunning. His ways are ever convincing to even the elite among men. His whole existence is dedicated toward the fall of man. Your idol is an agent of the evil one.”
“Nonsense!” Al fought to compose himself, as he quickly glanced at his wrist watch. Almost time. No turning back now. He had been groomed for this very moment, from the time he was converted to the true faith, 18 years ago. “Only fools are doomed to repeat madness. My people are guided by the spirit of truth. Your lies will accomplish nothing here! You can’t sway my judgment.”
“Al, greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world. Your spirit wars against the flesh, at this very moment. I don’t need to convince you of the truth, because it’s inherent within you already. You know this act will not grant you entrance into peace.”
Something within the deep recesses of Al’s conscious mind broke. His heart pounded against his chest. His breathing came in heavy gasps. Sweat dripped from his brow. With a shaky left hand, he reached for the activation button, while covering his eyes with a sweaty right palm.
“I have to do this,” he screamed into the empty room. “There’s no other way for me to go on without this!”
Al peaked through the ragged cloth curtains of the dusty mud hut and gazed at the small missionary church across the street. Soon, his mission would be completed. But his heart continued to pound. Every nerve seemed to be aflame.
“My god, please be with me,” he pleaded.
“I am with you, Al.”
Suddenly a strong wind blew through the interior of the mud hut, knocking Al to his knees. He covered his face against the onslaught of flying dust and debris. Through partially closed eyelids protected by shaky hands, Al saw a dark patch of the flying debris begin to form shape at the epicenter of the swirling dust cloud. Soon, he could barely make out the silhouette of a man’s figure standing behind the small device on the sandy floor. As the cyclone inside the hut intensified, Al watched the outstretched arms of the figure reach for the operation button of the device. Al remained frozen, petrified with fear. The device beeped through the roaring wind. The cyclone immediately disintegrated, leaving floating particles settling on the floor. Al crawled to the device to see the timer stopped at seven seconds.
“Ali Selassi Nassar, the time has come for you to follow me. I forgive your transgressions.”
Al, fell prostrate against the sandy floor. “Who are you Lord, that you may command the winds and negate the purposes of Allah?”
“I am Jesus. I want you to live, my son.”
Al reached for the device and removed the detonation plunger, just as the missionary children were exiting the church.
“Please Lord, remove my fear and forgive my blindness. I did not know. What would you have me do, Lord?”
Al, sobbed the tears of a broken man, when a gentle hand brushed across his back, instantly filling him with a peace he had never before experienced.
“Rise, Ali. Rise and follow me.”
Al stood, and absently brushed dust off of his clothing. He ripped the tattered curtains from the small mud-hut window, climbed through, crossed the street and entered the small missionary church. Al walked up to the tiny makeshift altar, fell to his knees and gave his life over to Jesus in the presence of the baffled pastor.
Back in the tiny mud-hut, the explosive timer reactivated, counted down from seven seconds, flashed and smoked without detonation.