By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
Over the last several years, “Left Behind” has been a popular Christian fiction book series.
I read the first book because I had met one of the book’s authors, Tim LaHaye. I found myself waiting for the next in the series to come out. Because of the series’ success, countless people now are familiar with the words, “left behind.”
I became acquainted with the words “left behind” early in life, but they had a slightly different meaning. We were living in Kansas City, Kan., while Mother and Daddy were in seminary. One weekend, our family along with three other pastors’ families went to the Missouri State Fair. It was supposed to be a tremendous event. The parents thought it would be great entertainment for the kids and good entertainment for four families on tight budgets.
There were 11 children and three cars in the caravan. We met early one Saturday morning to leave. Those were the days before seat belts, so all the kids just piled in whichever car they wanted. It didn’t matter — kids sat in others’ laps, and then at gasoline stops, the kids would switch to someone else’s car.
After about 100 miles into the trip, we stopped for gasoline. I don’t remember the details, but Daddy told us the entire story later. We filled up the cars and all the kids switched cars again for the 20-minute ride to the fairgrounds.
We arrived at the fair, parked our cars in the giant dirt parking lot, and lined up family by family to pay at the entrance. That was the moment when the words “left behind” hit us all. As the families gathered, we realized that Susie, my sister, was missing.
My mother panicked.
“I thought she was in the car with you,” she said as she turned to the other mothers in desperation.
“Well, I thought she was in the car with them,” another mother cried as she pointed to one of the other cars in the caravan.
Hysteria set in. Daddy rushed back to our car. He peeled out of the parking lot, stirring up a cloud of dust. He turned onto the highway and headed for the last stop we had made some 20 minutes back.
We were all terrified. I can remember mothers having a prayer meting outside the gate at the Missouri State Fair.
Twenty minutes later, Daddy turned into the gas station. He spotted 4-year-old Susie sitting on the steps drinking Coke with a Missouri State Police officer.
Daddy jumped out of the car, and gathered Susie up into his arms.
“We knew you wouldn’t be long. We knew you would come back,” said the patrolman. “I asked her who her daddy was and where she was going. She told me that her daddy was a preacher and she was going to the circus.”
Daddy thanked him and the gas station owner, and then headed back with Susie to the gates of the Missouri State Fair and a joyful reunion.
That was my first encounter with “left behind.”
The reality is that Jesus came so we wouldn’t be “left behind.” The cross, for those of us who accept it, guarantees an eternal reunion.
And from what I read, it is far greater than any fair or circus.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: