What happened? Did God change his mind? What if Mr Camping was just a day or two off? Perhaps the Gregorian calendar has not been perfectly kept, or perhaps Christ was crucified a day later than Mr Camping had suspected, and so perhaps we have not yet reached 722,500 days since Golgotha? If you’re asking yourself these things, this letter is not for you — yet. But I hope you’ll bear it in mind and return when you’re ready. Because, my brother, my sister, I think we’ll all still be here a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.
This letter is more for those who are wondering: How did this happen? Why was I deceived? Why did God allow me, when I sought the truth in prayer, to believe this and go into the cities and distribute flyers and tell my loved ones that they should prepare for the Day of Judgment? How do I face the mockers now? And how do I know that my faith as a whole is not a falsehood as well? When I once went about with my youth group or college group or small group and proclaimed the gospel, and told people earnestly that Christ had died for them and that they should receive God’s gracious offer before the end — was believing that and pronouncing that any different than believing and pronouncing that May 21st was Judgment Day? What if it’s all just a silly story, and I’m a fool to believe it?
Tonight the Rapture Parties will go on. The atheists will gloat, the mockers will mock. Yet there’s nothing funny about this for you. You are broken and crestfallen, left abandoned in the ruins of unfulfilled expectations, among them the very highest expectations a human can have — the hope of union with God, the hope of a world made new, the hope that every tear will be wiped away. You are left disoriented. You were so sure of this. People you love and respect — perhaps your parents, your pastor, your mentor, your brother and sister — may have believed it too. You do not feel relieved that the end of the world did not arrive. You are not rid of this world yet, so all of its weight fell back upon your shoulders.