December 25- 7:30 AM
The constant beeping was the first thing that Caleb noticed when he came back to consciousness. He must have been on one heck of a pain killer because he couldn’t feel any pain in his stomach. He cracked his eyes open and was instantly blinded by the light that flooded behind his eyelids.
“He’s awake!” Caleb could tell that several people had crowded the sides of his bed, though he still couldn’t tell who they were. Slowly his sight normalized, and the figures of his sister, father, and a nurse came into focus.
“You made it in for Christmas,” he said to his sister. “That’s good.”
“And you made it back for Christmas,” his sister responded. “Just too stubborn to stay dead, I guess.” There were tears in her eyes, and Caleb could tell that she was overjoyed to see him awake despite her words. Suddenly something hit him.
“What do you mean ‘stay dead?’” he asked.
“You were clinically dead for five and a half minutes,” his father explained. “It’s only by the grace of God that you pulled through.”
“Amen to that,” Caleb concurred. He thought of something else. “What about Kristy? Is she alright?”
“Yes, your girlfriend is just fine,” his sister said. “It’s about time that you got one, by the way.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Caleb said in exasperation, knowing that he would never hear the end of this.
“Sure, whatever,” his sister said. “Whatever she is, she’s been sitting in the waiting room with her parents most of last night and about an hour this morning. She must like you a lot!”
“Shut up,” Caleb told his sister. “What about the men, the ones in the van?” he asked his father. “Did they get away?”
“I should say not,” Mr. Henry answered. “They’re all awake now, but you sure did a number on them; they were still out cold when I got to the scene. Oh, and it turns out that you can’t help but aid the police. When we started to question them, four of them weren’t saying anything except that they wanted their lawyers. The fifth one, on the other hand, started to spew information like a broken fire hydrant. Turns out these kidnappings that I’ve been working on are related to a large human trafficking operation that we didn’t even know about. We’re still working on it, but it looks like we’ll be able to shut it down.”
“Quite the Christmas present, huh,” Caleb said with a small smile. “More work, more crime, more cases.”
“Whatever I can do to help people,” Mr. Henry said.
It wasn’t until considerably later that day that Caleb saw Kristy. He heard a knock and looked up to see that she had stuck her head into the room.
“Hey,” he said.
“How are you doing?” she asked as she approached the bed slowly.
“Not too bad actually,” he answered. “They’re pumping so many drugs into me that I can’t feel anything below the waist.” That was a lie, of course. The pain killers had started to wear off, and his wounds burned like everything, but he didn’t want to worry Kristy.
“So, did you hear about the people that attacked us?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Caleb answered. “Pretty crazy, huh. Who would have thought that there was that sort of thing around here?”
“Seems like you can’t help but be a hero,” Kristy said. “You already helped to rescue about a dozen girls and now it looks like it’ll be even more. Not to mention what you did for me.”
“It was nothing,” Caleb said.
“This,” Kristy said, motioning to the hospital room and all of its equipment, “is not ‘nothing.’ I was thinking about what you said just before the attack.”
“What was that?” Caleb asked. “The doctor says that it’s the trauma, but I can’t remember much of what we talked about.”
“I asked you why you had tried to help me and Emily at the gas station, and you said that it was because you didn’t want to see me die and go to hell,” Kristy explained. “You said that you didn’t know if I was a Christian, and you didn’t figure that my kidnappers would have told me about Jesus.”
“I said that?” Caleb asked in surprise. “I sure don’t remember it.”
“Well, you did and I’ve been thinking about it,” Kristy said. “Seeing what you went through to protect me from those kidnappers yesterday made me realize that whatever you were saying has to be true. There’s no way that anyone would go through what you have it wasn’t.”
“Oh, it’s true alright,” Caleb assured her.
“Well, I was thinking about everything else that you said yesterday…”
“What else did I say?” Caleb interrupted to ask.
“You presented the whole plan of salvation,” Kristy said. “And I decided that if you believed in this stuff enough to give your life for me, it must be true. And so I want to give my life to Jesus. Will you pray with me?”
“You realize what you’re saying, right?” Caleb asked. “I don’t remember what I told you yesterday, but did I mention exactly what becoming a Christian entails? How you have to follow Jesus’ plan for your life and live like He wants you to live?”
“You told me all that,” Kristy said. “I know that it won’t be easy, but I want to do it anyway.”
“In that case, I would be thrilled to pray with you,” Caleb said.
For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.