“There once was a little girl who was as beautiful as you can imagine. She woke up every morning with a smile on her face, ready to conquer the world. Her mother loved her but everyone knew she belonged with her father. He was a big man, both in heart and in body, and they were inseparable. He would walk her to school each morning and they would sing songs together as they tried to kick a pebble the whole way. At the school gates, she would begin their special handshake; a mix of slaps and dance moves that took an afternoon to choreograph and a full minute to perform.
One day the little girl started to cough. Just a normal cough, like a tickle in the throat. But as the day wore on, the cough worsened until it hung onto her and demanded attention for minutes on end. Her father came to collect her from school and grew concerned. They went to the doctor and were immediately rushed to the hospital where, after many hours of waiting and trips to the vending machine, an oncologist invited father and daughter into his office. Your daughter is very sick, he said, she may not live much longer. The little girl's father was devastated and cried for days in the bathroom while putting on a brave face for his strong little girl. She was taken to different hospitals and eventually moved to a hospital in the next town over where she would spend her last living days.
Family and friends came by the dozens to say goodbye. Everyone she had ever known visited her. Everyone except her father. She called out to him in her sleep, a last dying wish, but he never came. On her final day, he called her on the phone and promised that he would do his best to see her but needed help to get there. She listened, too weak to talk, and prayed to God that someone would help her daddy reach her in time before she died.
In the next town over, the little girl's father hung up the phone, devastated, and walked out to the street where a young woman was waiting for the bus. He swallowed his pride and approached her. With all his dignity left back in the phone booth, he asked the young woman for a small loan so that he might board a bus to say goodbye to his little girl.
“That young woman was you,” God says, “and you said no. Without a second thought you denied this man a chance to see his dying child. Jesus said to love thy neighbour as thyself and to lead with love. How am I supposed to accept you into my heavenly kingdom when you so clearly turned your back on your neighbour in his time of greatest need?”
Standing on the other side of the gold bars, I sigh, I knew this would come up.
“God,” I say, “The first thing he asked for was my number. He made mention of bills and doctors appointments in a clear attempt to induce pity. He joked for ten minutes about the weather and smoking before even mentioning a sick daughter, and he had on a brand new pair of Jordans. When I asked to see a photo of her, he said he didn't have any, which I found to be greatly suspicious. He asked me for sixty dollars when I knew for a fact that the bus only costs seven fifty. After assessing the signs, I deemed him a hustler and responded accordingly.”
God is silent as a realisation hits Him. That though seated high up in the heavens and ruler of all things living and unliving, God himself had just been hustled. Doubts start to enter his mind. If this man did not have a dying daughter, what else had he naively believed? Did that man really need eighty cents for the bus? Could he really get rock hard abs in just seven days? Did Bill Clinton really not have sexual relations with that woman?
“Well I'll be damned, it's lucky I never carry cash on me eh!” He bellows as he unlocks the golden chain to let me in. I laugh politely and walk through the open gates into the heavenly kingdom without a second thought.