"After This"

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 4
"How silly to put a thing like that up there! Some of that tent preacher's work, I guess, and just like him. I wonder if he thinks that will do anyone any good. Come on, Beth; I wouldn't stand and read any such rubbish."
The two girls had been walking together when they noticed a small white board fastened to the trunk of a tree. On it were printed the words: "AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT."
The other girl stood reading the short phrase over and over again. Her friend, losing patience, called out again, "Come on, Beth! If you stand there much longer you'll be converted!"
"I wish I were, Nancy," said the girl wistfully as she rejoined her companion.
"What makes you say that, Beth? I'm sure you don't believe in tent meetings and singing at street corners. You enjoy having fun too much to join with that kind of thing."
"You're right, Nancy. Still, I'm not always happy. I do stay awake many nights thinking about the hereafter, and I can't help it. In spite of having fun all evening my conscience troubles me when I go to bed. I can't help thinking of the eternal future."
Nancy was amazed at the turn the conversation had taken, and listened silently as her companion went on: "I once worked in the same room with a girl who was a Christian. I can never forget her—nor some of the things she said to me. She said she didn't need to go to parties and shows to make her happy; she had Christ.
"You can't imagine, Nancy, what a sweet girl she was. She said those same words to me that are on the tree: After this the judgment. It made me think of her when I read them, and I wish I could be as sure as she was of being ready for eternity."
The girls came to the corner where they had to separate. With a relieved and hurried "good night", Nancy went one way and Beth the other.
Beth knew full well that she had to meet God, and that she was unprepared. She lay awake for a long time that night; sleep just would not come. In time with the slow ticking of the clock, the dreadful words throbbed through her mind: After this the judgment.
How she longed for the next night to come! She made up her mind to go to the tent in spite of Nancy's ridicule. But that was a long time to wait. What if death should come before? Just then a verse of a hymn she had heard came to mind:
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee;
O Lamb of God, I come.
Beth repeated it aloud and the Lord listened and heard. He knew the longing heart that would trust herself wholly to Him, and in His love and mercy He banished her fears and doubts. Peace came to her troubled spirit.
The following night she went to the tent meeting and heard the words: He that believeth on the Son [Jesus] hath everlasting life. This gave her intelligent assurance of her salvation, and with confidence in God's saving grace she gave witness by her life that she now belonged to the Lord Jesus.
Beth was right to have been troubled at the thought of coming judgment, for the day of God's wrath will soon descend upon this world. Why? Because it has refused His Son, Jesus Christ, and His mighty work on Calvary's cross. Only by turning to Him now, acknowledging Him as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, can anyone escape that coming judgment.
I [Jesus] say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [judgment]; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:2424Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24).)