"Hark! What's That?" or, Prepare to Meet Thy God

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The Call.
“HARK! What’s that?”
“Oh, it is only the bugle-call of the rifle corps. They have to fall in for battalion-drill this afternoon.”
Anon both speakers retire from their window of observation, and bestow their thoughts upon other matters. That bugle-call was no summons to them.
Very different results, however, were produced in one whose ears caught the sound, for that call bade him prepare to obey a second, which would soon sound, ordering him to “fall in.”
Before the battalion band he will presently be seen, his axe upon his shoulder, a pioneer: his heart proudly exulting that he is thus preparing himself, in the event of his services being required, to fight in defense of his king and country. And he stood high in the estimation of the members of the corps to which he belonged, for he had taken great pains to make himself efficient, and he was known to be a brave man.
One day, however, his courage was suddenly put to a severe test, and it failed him altogether. He was in the vicinity of Portsmouth on the occasion of a Brand review, and then his soul was stirred to its utmost depths, but not by the clamor of trumpets, the clashing weapons, or the roaring of cannon, but by the sight of five simple words which were painted up upon the side of a house, and the words were these: “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD,”
This was a call to which he was consciously unfit to respond, and the fact caused his heart to sink within him.
When he reached his home again, he was only too desirous to banish the incident from his mind. He was diligent enough in obeying the bugle calls, but he tried to forget the heart-searching summons that had terrified him so much. Are you even now doing the same, dear reader? If so, may God make it impossible for you to forget these words, “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”
Some two years after the occurrence narrated, he was standing upon a railway bridge. His health had failed him, and he had been compelled to give up his employment. No longer could he “fall in” in response to the bugle-call. The bridge was near his residence, and as he stood upon it he noticed that someone had written something on one of its sides, and he read these words: “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”
This second summons to prepare to meet his God, emphasized, as it certainly was, by the solemn fact that he was now weak and ill, was more than he could endure. That handwriting upon the wall filled him with terror, and he turned away to look over the opposite wall of the bridge, and at that very moment two servants of the Lord reached the spot.
They were going to visit a dying Christian, and, without knowing why, they had taken a rather roundabout route to get to his house, and so found themselves upon the bridge.
Their attention was arrested by the sight of the stranger, looking so ill and so melancholy. They accosted him in a gentle way, and spoke to him of the love of Christ. One of them passed on: the other paused, and looking him in the face, he said, “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”
Did ever aspen leaf tremble more in the wind than, did this man at this third summons? Terror-stricken, he wended his way home, wondering whither he could flee from the wrath to come!
God, who had sent these three calls to him now sent another of His servants to point the poor trembling sinner to Jesus, his Saviour and Deliverer. The Lord heard him, and delivered him from al his fears. He found in Christ salvation and peace and the words “PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD” now lost their terrifying effect upon his heart and conscience, and he knew the blessing of perfect peace with God.
So changed was he that, save One, none could have possibly foreseen that the once terror-stricken rifleman would become so bold and fearless as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? This was the Lord’s doing, and marvelous in the eyes of those who were privileged to witness it.
To those about him and to those who came to visit him, he testified of Jesus, who had delivered him from eternal death. He followed the Captain of our salvation in the bright assurance of His triumph. And when the last conflict came, calmly and fearlessly he awaited the coming up of the king of terrors, and with earnest gaze fixed upon Jesus, he said, “Is this death?” This was uttered in such a tone of triumph during the final struggle that those who stood by could but realize that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loveth us.