That Glorious Day
Senior Bible Quizzing is an amazing ministry, and with it comes the North American Bible Quiz Tournament (NABQT). For nearly an entire week, quizzers from across the nation come together and quiz, play games, and just generally fellowship with their friends from across the country. This is the high point of the year. For nine months you’ve studied verses, you’ve memorized charts, you’ve pored over the concordance, and you then have one chance to culminate your entire year’s work in just a few short days.
You get up in front of hundreds of people and prove you’re among the best in the nation. If you don’t actually prove that, you can just go and hang out with your friends anyway. Sounds like a win/win to me. There’s the Prayer and Share service, which gives last year quizzers the opportunity to speak from their heart and express what quizzing has meant to them. It’s always a beautiful atmosphere in which to connect with God and worship Him with other Christian youth.
The awards banquet is the climax of the NABQT. You get good food, good fun, and a feeling of pride as you see your friends honored for their hard work. After all this fellowship; after all this adrenaline rushing through your veins; after all these tears shed in prayer, there’s only one thing left in the NABQT: the end. This always leaves me with a pit in my stomach and a hole in my heart.
I’ve spent the last week of the season in constant relationship with some of the smartest, funniest, and kindest people I’ll ever meet. Now I have to go home and see none of them again for at least three months. I’m sure all quizzers have the same thought I do—why? Why does it have to be this way? There must be some way to stretch this out just a little bit longer, to keep it going for just a couple more hours, to keep it all from ending. But eventually, we all must enter our vans, board our flights, and go home. The one thought in our brain as we go throughout the next year is almost laser in focus: nationals.
I have to learn that one more verse, I have to memorize that one more chart, I have to flip through that one more page of the concordance. Maybe there’s some info in here that will help me answer one more question. Maybe that one more question will win us one more game. Maybe that one more game will earn us the right to go to nationals. By the time we do return once more to nationals, it feels like barely a few weeks have gone by since we saw each other last. We’ll all be joking like we were just twelve months ago, quizzing each other, praying for each other, cheering for each other, and then missing each other.
This very feeling is one we all—quizzer or not quizzer—will feel eventually. God did not design us to have to leave each other. Yet at the end of the NABQT, we must all go our separate ways. In like manner, at the end of this great journey we call life, we must all die. God did not design us to die. God designed us to live forever. But we don’t live in the world God made for us. We live in a world marred by sin, a world we will leave some day to go and meet our Savior in Heaven. When we go, we leave others behind. Those others will be left with a pit in their stomach, a twist in their gut, a hole in their heart.
Until the day we go on ourselves, we are those others. We live with the loss of brothers and sisters in the Lord. Those who live without God are left destroyed and wracked with grief over the loss of their loved ones. They have no hope. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We have a promise that if we seek God with all our hearts and we follow His will, we will one day follow our dearly departed into the heavens. We therefore live not in constant loss and pain but in pride and anticipation. We are proud that our compatriots in Christ have earned their trophy up in Heaven, and we anticipate the day when we will do the same. That glorious day in which we’ll be just like we were a few hundred years ago, laughing with each other, teasing each other, and praying for each other. That glorious day where nobody will need to miss anybody again.
This article was written in memory of Norman Paslay II., a master quizmaster, quiz coach, and the portrait of Senior Bible Quizzing.
Caleb Beardsley is a veteran Bible quizzer from the New Jersey/Delaware District. He attends the Newark United Pentecostal Church in Newark, Delaware where his dad, Steven Bearsley, is the pastor.