David Gink rose before dawn last Friday. As he turned the light on in the bathroom he heard a soft sucking noise which he thought came from the bathtub drain. “An airlock,” he thought to himself as he closed the door. He was numb with weariness, and moved a half-step toward the sink.
David Gink was thirty-five years old. He had been married to Sheila for thirteen years and had three children. He worked for an insulation firm, in sales. His parents were church-goers. In fact, they were church workers—the sort who go every Sunday but always look like they’d rather be somewhere else. He had been through eighteen years of Sunday School, but when he went to the university the old church friends scattered and he dropped out. Now and then he went to hear special speakers or good music. But when he got married, the summer after graduation, Sheila pressed him to go to church. So he managed one service a week and felt pretty good.
When the kids came, he would read them a Bible story at night. That’s all the Bible he read, but it was lots more than before the kids came. His work was successful, his marriage okay, his kids out of trouble, his attendance at Sunday morning service regular—why get fanatical about Bible reading and prayer? Besides, David Gink could think of nothing more boring than to sit and read the Bible.
David Gink froze. He had heard his name. It sounded a thousand miles away but he knew it came from behind the shower curtain. Before he could decide whether to answer or run, the snake coasted out on the edge of the tub, black and smooth. David Gink was terrified. He had never had a spiritual experience in his life, let alone anything supernatural or charismatic or demonic. His heart was pounding so hard he could feel his pajamas move. He could see himself grabbing at the door, flinging it open and running violently out of the house. But he couldn’t move.
The snake’s eye stared into the eyes of David Gink. Then it spoke with a flash of its tongue. “I’ve come for you, David Gink.” David Gink opened his mouth to scream but instead words came out: “I don’t want to go.” He heard the words as though they were spoken by someone else. “Stop it,” he said to himself. “This isn’t real. You’re dreaming. You’re sick. Stop it. Don’t take him seriously. Get out of here.”
The snake interrupted his thoughts: “Of course you want to come. You’ve already decided. Look at your life. You are mine. Whenever the heavenly rival speaks, you are bored silly. Your heart is already with me. You love what I love, not what he loves. Even your terror shows you are mine—his true saints aren’t so surprised when they meet me. Come now, David Gink, your time has arrived.”
For an awful moment the mind of David Gink was like a man slipping over a cliff. His mental fingers grabbed wildly and clawed for something to save him. “God!” he screamed. But the word was as empty then as it had always been. Finally, he snatched a black root but it turned out to be the snake and they plunged together with a hideous sound of terror.
At his funeral on Tuesday the pastor remarked about David Gink’s faithfulness to the Sunday service. And he read a verse from the old Bible that David Gink had underlined as a boy: “Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”