Andy Rosetti woke up Thursday morning with his heart pounding. It was 5:33 a.m., and he did not have to get up for another hour. He glanced around his bedroom anxiously, wondering what had interrupted his sleep. Everything seemed at peace in his room, yet his heart was still pounding against his chest. Suddenly the sound of heavy raindrops hitting his window caught his attention. Instantly his bedroom became illuminated with bluish-white light. Within two seconds, crackling thunder erupted. Andy’s heart began to pound more heavily. He took a deep breath and placed his head in his hands.
Andy had hated thunderstorms his entire life. The thought of his house getting struck by lightning terrorized him during every storm. He knew the storm was right above his house as lightning and thunder began erupting simultaneously. Burying his head beneath his pillow, Andy attempted to fall back to sleep. Three crashes of thunder later, he knew it was a lost cause.
Andy’s cell phone began vibrating on his nightstand. He grabbed a hold of it, fearing the worst. Who would call him at 5:36 a.m.? He glanced at the caller ID and smiled. Lisa Ankerman.
“I figured the storm was keeping you awake,” she greeted Andy as he answered the phone. “I thought you might like a distraction.”
“You’re good,” Andy laughed, feeling his heartbeat slow down at the sound of his best friend’s voice. “Woke you up too, huh?”
“Yeah, we’re going to have horrific weather today,” Lisa replied. “My game’s probably going to be cancelled.”
“Jeff and I planned on watching you and Chantal cheer,” Andy said, throwing the covers over his head. “If the game’s cancelled, we should all hang out at my house or something.”
“I made plans with Leslie for after the game,” Lisa replied. “We’ll keep our plans even if the game is cancelled.”
“You sound like you’re up to no good,” Andy sang, knowing Lisa all too well. Lisa laughed, “You can tag along if you’d like.”
“Nah, not today,” Andy replied quickly. “Chantal would kill me, and I can’t make a habit of traveling that road. Once this week was enough.”
“You’re such a goody-goody,” Lisa sighed, “but I love you for it.”
“I’m Class President. I have huge responsibilities,” Andy stated sarcastically. “Seriously, what would you guys do without me?”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure we’d fall apart,” Lisa laughed. “All right, I’m going to hop in the shower before we lose the power. I’ll see you at your locker, all right?”
“Sure thing,” Andy replied. “Thanks for calling, Lis.”
“Only cause I love you that much,” Lisa said. “Bye, Andy.”
“Bye,” Andy sang, flipping shut his cell phone. Lisa had been Andy’s best friend since childhood. She knew him better than anyone else did. Andy smiled, grateful to have such a caring best friend. He glanced at his alarm clock, deciding it was time to start his day.
Since September, Chris Dunkin had made a habit of praying each morning before school. He found the days he skipped prayer to be arduous. School, which used to be a giant social playground for Chris, had become a war zone.
Something amazing had happened to Chris, but no one wanted to hear about it. It seemed as if his classmates liked him better as a burnout than a competent jock. Chris never had trouble getting people’s attention before. He had always been the center of everything worth paying attention to. No one had ever questioned his leading. Everyone had always followed him with ease, but now they were abrasive.
Whenever Chris had found out about a new drug circulating, a new bridge to jump off, or a new pit to party at, everyone had extolled him. Now that he had found something greater than all of the above, no one would listen to him. In the past month, kids at school had begun throwing strange glances in his direction. He knew it was the result of Jason’s rumors.
Chris’s childhood best friend, Jason Davids, was a punk. Quick witted, articulate, and as charismatic as anyone could be, Jason was a harbinger of destruction. He could make people laugh like no one else, and everyone loved him for it. His words were as slick as black ice. He was usually high during five of the eight periods in a day, yet he pulled off As in every class. To top it off he dated one of the Kagelli twins, whom everyone wanted to get with. Jason knew how to work the system.
Chris and Jason had been best friends for ten years. Chris had never expected Jason to turn on him with such force. What grieved Chris’s heart was not the harm done to his reputation, his tainted image, or the strange way people were treating him. He couldn’t have cared less about what people thought of him. What grieved his heart was that he knew where Jason was headed. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” When Chris had read that in Proverbs, he knew God was ministering to him about Jason.
Getting on his knees at the end of his bed, Chris prayed, “Father, help. Despite what Jay is doing to me, I still love him like a brother. I want him to come to know You. He needs You. He needs to see that he is in darkness and that everything he is living for is futile. Please open his eyes. Please, whatever it takes, bring him to the end of himself.”
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