For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
1 Corinthians 4:9 KJV
Diane & Lydia
Gabriel wandered up and down the gold streets. He was feeling restless. He looked to the east and saw a waterfall flowing down to an ancient fig tree. It was the tree of life. He sighed as he looked down at all the humans below. So many of them were empty. He saw them as they raced to and fro, looking for happiness. If only they knew.
He outstretched his wings and flew a little further down. He smiled as he peered through a house and saw a woman sleeping peacefully with shining, long, blonde hair. He watched as her eyes fluttered open.
Diane got up for the day and spied her new favorite book on the shelf. The Bible! She opened it and began to read. “Lamentations 3:22,” she said out loud, “It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because his compassions fail not.” Diane began to be teary eyed. The compassion of the Lord! She smiled in thankfulness. For a moment, she felt a twinge of guilt because of her past, but she pushed it aside and began to pray for the day.
“Lord Jesus,” Diane prayed “I am tired of my past weighing on me. I give it to You and believe it is covered by Your Blood!” Gabriel saw as a spiritual light filled Diane’s room and knew His Master was there. As Diane began to lift her hands and pray in a heavenly foreign language, the light shone brighter and brighter unbeknown to her. Suddenly, she felt a peace engulf her as she felt the heaviness of despair begin to lift off her. Gabriel laughed as he saw a dark cloaked demon begin to run away, his tail tucked under his legs. Jesus was breaking the chains! Diane had been praying and fasting for this day and the moment finally came!
Gabriel moved closer, inspecting the matter further. Diane had fasted like the Word of God said and Jesus had delivered her. It would never cease to amaze him what God did for these humans.
Lydia walked in the house. She scowled at the sound of her mother praying. When was Mom going to leave that ancient, archaic stuff behind? She sighed and turned up her hard rock music louder in her ears. She snickered. Thank God for smartphones with passcodes on them. Lydia tossed aside her long hair and smoothed her long skirt down. She felt a twinge of sadness. She had just left praise singing practice and had a nice time talking with her friends but she wasn’t sure she believed in any of this anymore.
She sighed as she saw her Mother come into the room. “Lydia!” Diane said, hugging her daughter. “How was school and praise singing practice? Lydia mustered a smile. “School was great!” She said “I got an A on my exam and praise singing practice was great.”
“Oh?” Diane asked with her eyes lighting up “Did everyone at Praise Practice pray in a circle again?” Oh, for Pete’s sake Mom! Diane thought Do you always have to ask that kind of stuff? Lydia let out an airy laugh. “Of course, Mom!” she smiled “We prayed for a bunch of people.”
Gabriel frowned as he saw a dark, black hooded demon whispering things into Lydia’s ears. She looked down at the phone on pause that had been playing those lyrics. Lyrics that questioned God, uplifted depression and pride were playing in sweet Lydia’s ears. She rubbed her eyes. If only humans knew of the fallen ones that haunted the singers’ lives at night. If only they knew of the singers that made a pile of money, but still needed drugs and alcohol to sleep every night. Fury rose up in the angel. If only he could chase the demon away but he knew that Diane’s daughter had to make that choice.
Far away in the distance, Gabriel heard a sound in the wind. It was someone praying in another country. He flew away towards it, looking back at Lydia and Diane. He had his work cut out for him.
Michael the Archangel was frustrated. He watched in horror as a Chinese communist soldier began dragging a preacher from the pulpit while the congregation was gripped with fear. The preacher was in agony, praying in tongues as the soldier handcuffed him and began kicking him. Men, women and children began fleeing in different directions, screaming as they ran from the evil men. They were met outside with more soldiers who began shooting the frightened saints. In minutes, the smell of death permeated the air.
Michael tried to get to the woman who was hidden under a pew crying and shaking. However, one of the dark, black hooded demons darted in front of him. Michael fought to protect the frightened woman. What was happening? He looked up and saw Gabriel glow. It could only mean one thing. Gabriel had heard another person praying! Gabriel’s glow grew stronger as Diane fell on her rug and prayed with an intensifying burden on her. “God!” She cried, seeing a vision of death hovering over a city. “Please save someone!”
Gabriel snatched a ray of light into his hands and threw the light in Michael’s direction. Michael nodded slightly as he caught the ray. He watched as the light sunk deep into his hands. The prayer was transforming him stronger! The demon was menacing over him. “Do you think you’re going to win? See how I can oppress an entire country and kill your Lord’s people?” Michael was not to be hindered by these challenging words.
“The Lord is my comfort, my shield!” Diane cried as she groaned in the Spirit. She didn’t understand the severity of the circumstances that burdened her in prayer. She only knew that she must keep praying until she felt the urgent need satisfied.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints!” Michael cried. With one last heave, Michael slashed the demon with the Sword of the Word and the demon whimpered, running off.
The angel of Light rushed towards the woman. Somehow, the Chinese soldiers had arrested the pastor and killed everyone. Or so they thought. Biyu trembled in stifling silence, scared to move. Once she realized the danger was passed, she stood and ran outside. When her eyes saw the dead, a deep moan escaped her lips as she collapsed on the soft grass.
Lydia & Diane
Four Years Later:
Diane couldn’t help but feel jealousy. She was so glad to see her sister in the Lord’s son praying and being refilled with the gift of the Holy Spirit but she felt hollow inside. “Lord,” she whispered as the organ played and the praise singers worshipped “Where did I go wrong?” She looked over at her nineteen-year-old daughter who only came with her to a church service to appease her. Her daughter had a hardened look on her face, her glory was cut off and gone was the sparkle of happiness she used to see in her daughter’s eyes. The Lord gently tugged her heart. Keep praying for her. The voice said. She wiped away a tear and nodded somberly. “Yes Lord,” she replied “Please touch her today.” At this prayer, an angel with blonde hair and blue eyes - one that looked exactly like Diane touched her shoulder and Diane felt a spiritual strength return.
The music abruptly stopped. The pastor removed his hand off of a praying person’s forehead and wiped his head with a handkerchief. He approached the pulpit. “There’s someone here that the Lord is leading me to ask to testify.” He looked over at a small oriental woman. “Biyu, will you tell your story?” Biyu nodded and approached the pulpit.
Soft brown eyes looked out at the congregation. “Praise the Lord everyone,” Biyu said in greeting. An echo of her greeting filled the room from the congregation. “My name is Biyu. I come from the country of China. I was raised in Pentecost my whole life up until I was about 18. We heard of underground churches all the time that would be discovered and arrested but after years of not being caught, we let our guard down. Somehow, someone found us. In the month of April, about four years ago, my mother and father were killed by the Communist government.” She squeezed her eyes, remembering the pain of seeing her mother and father dead and she let out a sob. “My mother would read the Bible and pray with me every day when I was little. My father would lead family devotions every night when he came home from working at a sweatshop. I was baptized in the Name of Jesus like the Apostles baptized. They instilled a love for God in me and praise God! I received the gift of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other languages when I was 9 years old!” Clapping filled the room. She let it die down before she spoke. “But I rebelled against God. I hated Him for taking my family. I went down a dark path.” She let out a sigh as she wiped away her tears. “I didn’t understand that God was still concerned for me. Instead of being grateful I lived, I became bitter and cold. I hid in all kinds of sins. I would go down the path of partying to numb my pain but it didn’t satisfy me.”
Tears began to form in Lydia’s eyes. She was flooded with memories of when she was seven years old and God had filled her with His Holy Spirit. Something inside of her had begun to bubble up and she had begun to speak in a foreign language as the Spirit of the Lord gave the utterance. Years later, after she had stopped praying, she had counted it as all gibberish but maybe, just maybe this thing was real. Could God really deliver her from her alcoholic ways? She listened closer. “If God can deliver me from it then He can deliver you!” Biyu said. “He let you live so you could have a second chance. Today is your day for freedom!”
Clapping filled the little sanctuary again as Lydia felt something different. She let the tears flow as an elder walked up to her and gently asked, “Do you want to pray?” A black winged creature ran up and began hissing words in her mind.You don’t really WANT to pray. Do you? Think of all the things you did! You’ll never be delivered. Lydia almost wavered but then remembered a Scripture. One her mother taught her.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning…”
Something began to well up in her. Lydia’s angel flew to her and whispered comforting words again. Try God out. One more time. Give him a chance. Gabriel watched as Lydia went down to the altar and raised her hands. Diane came practically running to her daughter. Could it be? Could it be the Lord was answering her prayers after four years?
She looked over in tears as once again, she heard her daughter praying in a heavenly language. Lydia began to smile, to jump up and down in excitement as she surrendered the most unruly member of her body which was the tongue to the Lord Jesus! Something like a cleansing water was flowing through her and she felt so light, so free! Tears were flowing again. It wasn’t of guilt. This time they were of joy! Diane began to jump and praise the Lord with her daughter. She knew all her daughter’s doubt and pain would be over soon. It would take baby steps, but at last her daughter was home!
Gabriel could only stare.. There was so much he still didn’t understand about humans. He didn’t understand why more humans didn’t approach the throne of God boldly when his kind could only worship from a distance, but this was refreshing to see. Curiously, he moved closer and watched as the Power and Spirit of God that filled the heavens was filling the sanctuary. He couldn’t help but be in awe. Jesus’ mercy towards these humans was really something else.
Thank you for reading!