...“You have no place here,” I said addressing their leader.
“Why can we not dwell where we choose?” He asked saucily. Silfun had been a messenger angel and I knew how he worked. He was bluffing, stalling for time. I had no time to loose, I wasn’t sure how long their Carrier had been at work, and so I cut right to the point.
“You cannot dwell where you choose, because you have no authority over the Lord.”
The demon paled, as did the others with him. Without losing a beat, I motioned for Phineas to take out the
Carrier. Joran and Marcus moved closer to me. Rolf and Wes moved into a defensive crouch, never once releasing the tension on their bowstrings. The showdown was about to begin.... ~ Triumph Over Evil Part I
Triumph Over Evil ~ Part II
I closed my eyes and put my hands to my head. The voice I argued with was smooth like a polished kitchen counter, and gentle. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, but I didn’t really want it to go away. It had a soothing affect.
So, what will you do? Will you give up the chance to eat and likely be beaten again, all for the sake of a dead man?
It was getting harder to fight back and even harder to want to. Jesus… isn’t… dead.
Really, then why hasn’t He come for you? Why hasn’t He delivered you from this trial? Eat the food. What harm would it bring?
I opened my eyes and picked up the plastic fork next to my plate. What harm would it bring? I thought hungrily. I could see the Afghans grinning and rubbing their hands in pleasure.
Before I could scoop up a bite of steaming rice, a second voice broke through my thoughts. The voice was strong and powerful, but not as calming as the first. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Stand firm against, what? The first voice hissed. Suffering? Pain? What is the point?
The first voice did not answer the questions, but continued to address me. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong!
I will. I will! I thought.
NO! There is no point! Eat the food. Stand up after you have had a chance to rest!
The first voice was sounding desperate, but I was feeling encouraged. “NO” is right! I will not rest until my work is done! I am a soldier of Jesus.
You are no soldier of Jesus. You thought things that Jesus would not approve of. He will hate you! The first voice was beginning to sound more like a shriek.
He is right, I acknowledged soberly.
Yes, the first voice said soothingly, I am. Come, you are hungry. You cannot think well on an empty stomach. Your reasoning is disjointed. Eat.
I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
The second voice spoke with such authority I could almost feel the first voice cringe. The second voice wasn’t finished. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be strong and courageous! With those words in mind, I knew what I had to do, and without giving any more thought to the matter I threw the fork onto the floor. “I will never eat your food if I have to deny Jesus to do so.”
“NOOOO!” The demon Carrier shrieked in horror. I smiled with satisfaction, knowing that Kasil probably won that battle. The cry was cut short as the demon crumpled to the ground. Phineas had tapped him a little too hard over the head with his hammer. Enraged, the demons retaliated, immediately engaging Joran and Marcus in combat.
Silfun pulled a black, double-sided ax carelessly from his belt. As he moved forward, a bloodthirsty gleam entered his eyes. Instead of lashing out at me as I anticipated, he swung towards Rolf. Rolf ducked and fumbled with his bow, but Silfun swatted it away. His blade lacerated Rolf’s arm, leaving a deep gash. Rolf fell to the ground with a cry, cradling his arm.
The demon drew back his arm to finish Rolf off, but before I could block him, Wes shot an arrow straight into the demon’s eye. Silfun howled in pain and ripped the arrow from his skull. Wes moved to comfort his brother.
Silfun threw the arrow at me. I gingerly avoided it. I moved towards the unprotected Kasil, who seemed undisturbed by the pandemonium around him. Silfun’s face was streaming with blood and he had an empty socket where his eye had been. He raised his ax and brought it down with a tremendous thud, right where my shoulder would have been had I not moved in time. I thrust my blade into the monster’s unguarded rib cage. Infuriated and wounded, he roared, swinging his ax at my mid-section. I plunged my sword into his thigh and he screamed.
Pulling the sword out of his leg, he flung it to the ground and backed up weakly. He glared furiously at me, then flew away on his bloodstained wings. The other demons retreated too, taking their unconscious Carrier with them. “You can’t win every time!” Silfun screamed over his shoulder.
“NO, but God can!” I shouted back.
The three men stopped smiling. As they looked from the fallen fork to me, then back to the fork, I could tell that these guys weren’t happy, and I figured I wouldn’t be either when they were done with me. Shorty was the first to break out of his trance. He bent over and picked up the fork, nearly stabbing me in the eye with it.
“Won’t eat? Still love Jesus?” he spat.
“Yes. I still love Jesus,” I replied, knowing I had made the right choice.
But when the Cheshire Cat Man drew a gun and pointed it at my chest, I wasn’t quite so sure.
“Deny Jesus, or he shoot you,” Tall Guy threatened.
“I won’t deny Jesus.” I said strongly and soberly. I had just resigned to die, but I didn’t feel afraid.
Cheshire Cat Man started his obnoxious grinning again as he came closer and closer to me, changing the aim of the gun to my face. He kept coming until he was inches from me. I looked into the barrel of the gun, and closed my eyes.
Joran and Marcus both had minor scratches from their skirmish. Phineas was unscathed, so he carried Rolf. Wes wouldn’t leave his side. Rolf’s arm was severely wounded, but he would survive. Kasil had his arms folded across his chest again. I didn’t understand how he could always stay so calm.
Suddenly, a loud popping noise shattered the silence. The Veil burst and we were suddenly standing outside John Morton’s door.
“Captain, what happened?” Joran asked.
I didn’t really know, but I stated the obvious, just to sound smart. “Something broke the Veil.”
“How?” Wes queried, without looking away from his brother.
“I don’t know,” I admitted, shaking my head.
“Look.” Kasil said softly. His voice had changed, but it was still full of authority. We all turned to see where Kasil was pointing.
The door that led to John Morton’s Veil was gone. In its place was a purple cross.
Lord God, why did you let John die? I prayed in horror as I flew down the corridor. I was commissioned to help him, but I failed. All I accomplished was getting my men wounded. Please give me a glimpse of your will!
I was silent. The Lord answered in His own timing, so I waited. It wasn’t long before I heard the voice of my Maker, my King. His voice made me feel small, yet at the same time, great, because I had the ability to speak with the King of the Universe with an intimacy that startled most humans.
Daric, you did not fail. You did exactly what I intended.
But how, Lord?
My way is the best way. John was being tested. I wanted him to make his own decision, as I want for all of my people. Had you not done as I wished, John would have suffered.
Did he make the right choice?
Daric, what did you see on the wall in place of the door?
A cross, my King.
John Morton died for my sake. So, did he make the right choice?
Anything done for your sake is the best choice anyone can make.
You are correct, Daric. Remember, all things work together for good for those who love me. Nothing I am a part of happens in vain. Do you believe this?
I do, Lord.
When I was finished, I felt better. I no longer felt tired from my fight, and I was filled with a sense of peace and contentment. I kept that feeling all the way back to heaven, even when I went through the portal. I no longer felt frustrated that I had wasted my time when the Lord already knew John was going to die anyway. I felt glad that I had gone. If we hadn’t, John Morton might still have been alive, but he would have rejected the Lord to do so. I was glad I could be part of such a life-changing moment.
I had heard the gun go off, and everything around me went black. I could hear the men talking in Arabic, but it soon grew muddled and a single Voice rang out above the din.
Well done, good and faithful servant. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven!
A pinpoint of light shattered the darkness. It was small, but it gradually became bigger as it came towards me. No, I realized, I am going towards it.
Home is where the heart is, people always said. Well, my heart belonged to Jesus, and as the light shone brighter, I knew that I was going home.
|"Well done, good and faithful servant..."|