Hey everyone! I finally finished my second fiction short story for teens, New Life!
This fiction short story for teens is actually a piece I wrote for a magazine called Ugandan Pages, which is edited by a girl named Selah. This story will be featured in her Summer issue, so don’t forget to pick up a copy of that by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The magazine is a donation, so shipping is free.
Well, enjoy reading this short story, and please leave a comment at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts!
Katrina sat down in the back pew. Another boring sermon, thought Katrina. She had come to this summer camp thinking it would be all about having a good time. So far it had been fun, but Katrina hated the parts where she would always have to sit down and listen to that long sermon. The speaker there was okay, but if he could just stop talking about redemption and something called propitiation, then Katrina was sure she would have a lot more fun.
“Justification is the result of becoming saved, and because of that justification you are redeemed by Christ…” the speaker went on. Katrina tuned herself out from the sermon and slumped farther down into her chair. The speaker was talking about being saved and all that, but Katrina was already a Christian. Well, she thought she was, at least. She did lots of good things. Her family went to church every single Sunday and they never worked on the Sabbath day. Katrina tried to be good all the time… well, at least she tried to be good when her parents were around. At school, well, that didn’t matter. After all, she had a long life ahead of her to make up for all her mistakes. Right now her goal was to enjoy her life as a teenager, have fun, and worry about religion later.
Suddenly, something the pastor said caught Katrina’s attention. “I thought good works would get me to Heaven,” the speaker continued on. “I thought I was a Christian, but really I wasn’t. Everyone, turn to Ephesians 2:8 and we’ll read what Christianity really is.”
Katrina had brought her Bible with her, fortunately. As she turned the dusty pages, she realized how long it had actually been since she had opened this book. It had been on the packing list for this Summer camp, but if it hadn’t been Katrina wouldn’t have thought to bring it. She hadn’t even known at first that there would be these long sermons at this camp. Her friends that had invited her had said that there would be lots of fun activities; swimming, sports, campfires; but no one had mentioned the fact that this was a Christian camp. Oh well, thought Katrina. I’m here now. It’s kind of too late to leave.
“Jesus died on the cross for our sins,” the speaker continued. “He gave us the grace we needed to be forgiven.”
What is this guy even talking about?! Thought Katrina. He doesn’t even know what he’s saying. Despite the anger and doubts filling her mind, Katrina opened her Bible and slowly turned to Ephesians chapter two. She hadn’t navigated to a book in the Bible in a long time, so it was a bit difficult finding the book of Ephesians at first.
She eventually found it and she was able to locate the chapter and the verse just as the speaker was reading it aloud. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The speaker continued on reading the chapter, but Katrina’s thoughts were on the first sentence. Katrina sat up a bit straighter. She didn’t think she’d ever heard that verse in church before. And if she understood it right, she didn’t think she’d ever heard the meaning of it either. For by grace you have been saved… What did that mean?
Katrina, snap out of it! said a voice in her mind. Now you’re getting into all that weird Bible religion stuff. You don’t like these sermons, remember? You just came to this comp to have fun.
It was as if Katrina was having a battle with herself in her mind. It was all she could do to sit still in her seat and act like she was listening to the sermon. But this is getting kind of interesting… Katrina thought, contradicting herself. I wonder what it means to be saved by grace…
“Do you know what it means to be saved by grace?” the speaker immediately said. Katrina’s head snapped up in surprise. It was as if he could hear her thoughts! Now Katrina was paying attention. “It means that we can be forgiven by Jesus, no matter how much wrong we’ve done in the past. When Jesus came down to earth and died on the cross, he paid the price for our sins. He took the punishment that we deserved. And guess what? Three days later, he rose again! Now Jesus is alive, up in Heaven!”
The speaker’s words seemed to be filled with excitement. Suddenly, as if a wave of energy filled the room, teenagers began to stand up and clap. They weren’t clapping to say goodbye to the pastor, but for sheer joy of what the pastor said. Katrina stood up with the rest, but for some reason, she didn’t feel the enthusiasm of the others. Doubts were beginning to enter her mind. You don’t even know who this speaker is. Why should you listen to him? All of what he’s saying is a lie.
But what he’s saying makes sense, doesn’t it? Another voice nagged at her mind.
No, it doesn’t! Katrina couldn’t take the fighting in her mind anymore. She had to just ignore it. Think about something else.
“If you want to be saved by Jesus right now, raise your hand,” the speaker said. Katrina suddenly felt panicky. She never signed up for this! She had to get out of here.
Without thinking or looking back, Katrina sidestepped through her row and began walking through the aisle toward the door, her shoulders tense. But as she reached the door and was about to grab the handle, something compelled her to look back. And when she did, she saw all the hands raised. Half of the room had their hands raised. Half the room! That was crazy.
Something held Katrina back from opening the door. Whether it was amazement of how many were raising their hands or just sheer curiosity, she didn’t know. Katrina tried to count the hands that were being held up. Twenty… thirty… forty… and there were still more hands being raised!
“If you want to be saved by Jesus Christ today, raise your hand! Raise your hand, and you can accept Jesus’ payment for your sins, ask to be forgiven, and have a new life, like being born again!”
Something in Katrina’s heart stirred. So many were getting saved, why couldn’t she? Why shouldn’t she?
Katrina’s last thought before she got saved was fleeting, but Katrina remembered it for the rest of her life afterward. And looking back on that moment, she remembered the wonderful feeling of submission, of raising her hand, of becoming saved. Her life was never the same afterward, and as she later would tell her story to her children and grandchildren, she said “If I hadn’t turned back, if I had opened that door and left the service, I would have never listened. I would have continued to turn my back on God. Yet Jesus cared about me. He allowed me to turn back. And now, I’m so glad I did.”
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