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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

139- A Perplexing Question


In Los Angeles in 1971, a young simple Coptic man took a car ride with an American man. It was late after midnight. On their way, they had this conversation:

Where are you going? Asked the American.

To the Coptic Church at Robertson Ave.         Image: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ صورة: المجيء الثاني للسيد المسيح يسوع Image: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: المجيء الثاني للسيد المسيح يسوع

Are you crazy? Is there a prayer held at this hour of the night?

Its the bright Saturday eve which precedes Easter.

Come on, say the truth. Are you going to a bar?

No, Im going to church.

After a long period of silence, the Coptic young man asked the American, Whats your religion?

The American mocked at him and looked at him as if he was retarded. Then there was a moment of silence after which the Coptic young man asked, If, after your death, you found yourself face to face with God, what are you going to do?

The American man kept silent until they reached the church. The American then asked if he could enter with him the church. Indeed, they both entered. The American was astonished to find a large congregation worshipping God at this hour. He started to cry asking the young Coptic man to start visiting him to tell him more about God.

A person who is honest with himself, even if he was agnostic whenever faced with the certainty of death will say to himself, What will I do if I come face to face with God?"

This is the reason the communists in their writings avoided, to a great extent, to mention death. It is said that Lenin wrote a letter to a friend, twenty years, after the death of his son. He revealed to him that he had lost his peace and that his son had just died recently. Time was not able to give him consolation for the death of his son.

 I found a poem written by an agnostic soldier who turned into a believer in God the night of his death on the battlefield. Costi Bendeli documented the poem in his book The Ways to God.

Hear me O my God.

I never spoke to You before.

I was told that You do not exist.

As a fool I believed this.

Last night from within the bomb hole that I was in, I saw Your heaven.

Hence I was sure that they tricked me.

I love You dearly; I want You to know that.

Look, a big battle is about to take place.

Who knows? I might meet You this night.

It is a strange matter, but since I got acquainted with You, I no longer fear death.

→ English translation of the story here at سؤال محيِّر: ماذا بعد الموت؟ Divider

Those who live in pleasure fear death, but those who live in sorrow seek death to quickly depart from this world.

(Father Aphrahat).

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