Monday, April 14, 2014


Inspirational Fiction by Angeline M Duran Santiago

(I love to write stories. They just come into my head and I have to write them down. Today this scene came into my mind as I thought about our future as people of faith. I don't know what tomorrow holds. One thing I ask the Lord. Help me dance in the fire until my dance takes me into your presence.)

I remember getting ready to go to work. Friday was finally here and I was looking forward to meeting with my family after work and enjoying a night out together. Truth was, it had been a long time since we'd plan and actually went through with the plans. You know how it is. We get caught up with work and all of a sudden, all our energy and thought is taken away by our work and somehow, without wanting to, family takes second place. But, I knew in my heart that God had blessed me with a family and I had to make time to nurture them and care for them. After all, God had trusted me with them if only for a while. 

So, as I finished picking out my favorite gold hoop earrings, a loud knock came to the door. I'm being nice when I say, loud, it was in deed a horrible banging as if someone was desperately trying to get my attention because their life depended on it. My heart began to beat as if wanting to push through my skin and run out of me. My mind raced to the countless families in other parts of the world that had been signaled out for their faith and had been taken away. Detained, was the word, for security reasons. Detained? Who would ever think of detaining a family solely based on their faith? I turned quickly to face my kids who were getting ready for school, and my eyes locked with my husband's eyes. We knew.

The unjustified knock became angrier and more intense, now accompanied by voices. "Open up in the name of the Global government. We are here to take you to a public hearing to decide if you have willingly and unlawfully served in criminal activities against our world. My husband had spoken the what if's of this kind of day coming, but we'd thought maybe God would have allowed His Son to come forth and take all of us away before anything this cruel and unthinkable could really happen. I just thought of my kids. "Lord, what will we do?"

With fainting hands, my husband opened the door to find armed and uniformed men pushing through before he could finish opening the door. With military artilery pushed into our faces, we were told to gather our identification and anything we felt we needed to prove who we were, and to prepare to leave immediately. The look on my children's faces tormented me and pushed deep into my stomach. "God, what now? Will you come to our rescue. We have placed our hope in you." I began to pray, "Lord, save my children. Hide them under the shadow of your wings." The silenced ride didn't stop tears from rolling down our cheeks. I wanted to hide my children far away and keep them sheltered from what was to come but I was powerless to do anything to protect them. I was powerless within my hands, but in my heart, the power of the name of Jesus resounded in me as I called upon Him to come and cover my children and my family.

We were taken to a holding area where many more families, people of faith, the Christian faith, had been brought to await a trial for invisible crimes that had labeled them guilty. Faith.These few stood here, their day interrupted because they had been numbered with those who had said, "I believe what the Bible says." or "My Savior lives and He will return for me one day." of "God is greater!" Their testimony had become a threat to the new systems of justice and order in place.  These believers of the way, had been gathered to use as an example to the world, to prove that anyone not willing to be tolerant of the new world's order's viewpoint, was no longer worthy to be part of a good life, but only worthy of death.

The trial took place behind doors. I cannot tell you what happened as we were all separated and the walls were think and heavy and voices were lost within them. I couldn't see my children any longer. I was lost in a room of faces that were suddenly discouraged, broken and lost. I decided to speak and remind them we were here because we had chosen to stand and trust in our King. Many smiled and nodded, uniting with me and refilling themselves with hope. "Pray my brothers and sisters. Pray right now for God's covering and protection. Do not faint. Greater is he that is with us, in us and holding us right now, than he that is in the world against us."

With rifles I'd never seen before pushed against our backs, we were pushed forward and into a courtyard. We were pushed into small rooms where we were forced to remove our clothes and put on itchy, burlap gowns of brown, beige and white. Many were told to remove their shoes and others were allowed to keep them. I never stopped scanning the crowds to look for my children. My heart prayed without stopping for my children. "Lord, remove them from here. As you did with Elijah, send your chariot of fire and take them up into your throne room and hide them." I searched for my husband but I couldn't find him. Around me were people of faith who began to weep and lose hope. Some prayed but many were sad and this saddened me because it was now that we needed to take courage, fill ourselves with hope and hold on to what we had professed for so many years as our hope.

As night time came, we were commanded to enter small boxed homes, like dorms, with cold beds. Once more, my family was no where in sight. I ached for them but I knew that I had to trust in my Savior. He would not let me down. For days in and days out, before the sun rose, we were called out into the outer court by a loud siren and made to stand in the sun or rain, quietly, unable to move, unable to eat or drink, and unable to leave for the privacy of using the rest room. We were humiliated and forced to relieve ourselves where we stood. We were made to remain there, in the midst of human waste filling the air and causing many to become nauseous or vomit. For days, weeks, or time I do not know, we were made to do the same thing, day after day. Until one day, the rooftops were filled with armed soldiers, and we were called outside. A man came and stood in the middle of the courtyard, as we all remained by the entrance of our now homes. He began to offer those who were here in this camp, freedom. He spoke of a better life, a new world, a system that would take care of our health needs, our sickness, our financial burdens, and all we had to do was put away our foolishness, our beliefs, deny this Messiah we spoke of, and take an oath of allegiance to the new establishment leader and amended constitutions. 

I hear the screams and cries of many who pulled at their spouses or children, "No!' as they watched them walk away from the homes and walk towards this man who offered them a new life. He called them to come. Many left. They could not endure. They had forgotten the God who would be with them in the wilderness, in the valley and in the storm. As I watched them, I heard a voice in my heart. "Do what you used to do." I thought of so many things that I used to do and I wanted clarity. "Lord, what are you asking me to do?" A vision of slaves clapping their hands, and dancing consumed my thoughts. I saw them singing and in a dance as if battling, fighting, and using their hands and feet for war. I heard the voices singing a song I didn't understand. I heard the hands clapping and I felt a rush of strength overwhelm me. In the midst of the fire, they danced. In the midst of their captors, they worshiped. In the midst of the fire, they praised with their songs, their movements, and their hearts.

As the guards escorted those who had decided to leave out of the courtyard, I heard the voice once more and knew God's Spirit was in this place, calling me out to do the unexpected. With my heart dying within me, fear almost gripping me, and my weakened body trembling, I began to move gracefully, as a dancer would do as she walks on to the stage preparing to wait for the music to begin. I made my head straight, stretching my neck and pushing my shoulders back in sign of readiness. I moved to the center of the court yard and with the music of praise and worship from days of my youth engraved within me, I began to dance for the audience of One. I moved in dance, declaring praise to the One who had died for my sins, to give me life and hope. I twirled in honor of the One who was crucified. I moved from side to side and lifted my hands to worship the One who had removed all the hurt from my life and filled me with joy and a reason to live. I danced as one who remembered those who had been placed into the fire for refusing to bow down to idols when they music was played and I knew that that same Son of God would be with me in the fiery furnace.

"Dance!" I heard the Spirit of the Lord in the wind over and over saying, "Dance!" As I danced and moved as one who was fearless, my movements changed into interpretive movements of warfare, declaring to the presence of darkness holding us in that place that their power was being destroyed as I danced. I moved my arms and feet in motion declaring all works of the enemy against my family and those present to be disarmed. The soldiers just watched, and laughed at me. They ridiculed and some began to spit towards me. I looked around me at other believers watching me and an anger arose within me. I reached my hands towards them and invited them to come and join me in a dance of freedom, a dance of releasing God's presence into the darkness and breaking every chain. With my eyes focused on God's presence, I saw angelic beings enter the courtyard and stand around those believers that had remained. My courage was fueled as I knew God was here with me. 

As I danced in a circle by myself, I saw when a few women and some men slowly began to walk towards me. I found myself surrounded by a large circle of worshippers no longer afraid. We united our hands and without words or music began to move in a circle, as prayer filled our lips and worship filled our hearts. Our hands let go as we felt a mighty release of God's Spirit join us and we began to dance, the dance of warfare against things unseen, only felt by those who have God's presence. Angels began to move around us as we worshiped and danced. We could feel the wind caused by their wings as they danced around us. Armed soldiers began to fall off the rooftops with no one touching them. This made them upset and those still standing assembled against us, calling for back up.

The soldiers began to gather and question what to do. They began to run out and try to stop others from joining the dance. Soldiers began to call for more soldiers as they could feel a change in the atmosphere and began to feel a riot coming on. How could we riot? We were barely able to dance. We had not been fed or taken care of but, God's power had filled us in ways they could not understand. Armed soldiers with shields arrived and began to push believers back into their temporary homes. They began to hit those of us dancing. I felt the sharp pain of something cold upon my back and head, and then my legs. My world went dark.

Around me, shadows danced and fell to the ground. Voices cried out. A breeze came and began to shake the courtyard sending soldier's armed vehicles twirling away. I wanted to rise, but I couldn't. I felt my cold body being carried and then thrown into a pile of what seemed other bodies. My life had ended somehow, but I was fully aware of what was taking place below me as I felt myself being pulled away, flying away, lifted away into a dance of victory, into the presence of the One who I had lived for. As I entered the heavens, I rejoiced and saw my children sitting in the company of beautiful angels. God had hidden them, protected them, removed them. I searched for my family and my husband. I couldn't find them. As I turned to look behind me, an angel said, "Don't worry. They too will be with us shortly." They too would have their dance come to an end, but they would soon be here before the King of Kings.

I began to run towards my children to embrace them and hold them. The sound of many shofars filled the heavens and I knew the Lord would be before us soon. As I reached out to them, the brilliance of a thousand lights surrounded me, blinding me and allowing me to fall down on my knees. I reached out trying to hold my children, but only felt my blanket and my husband's arms softly patting me on the shoulders, "Honey, wake up, you're having a bad dream. Wake up." I opened my eyes and began to cry from joy as all kinds of emotions overcame me. I wanted to share my dream but I couldn't stop crying. "Oh the dream that I've just had. We have to pray. We have to prepare our family to believe and hold on to God no matter what comes or what happens. We need to make sure they have a relationship with Jesus and are not afraid." I was so thankful it had all been a dream. 

Rising from bed, I went to my children's bedsides, hugged and kissed them awake. "Oh mom." They were upset as they wished for more time to sleep. But, how could I not hug them or kiss them after such a dream. I walked to the bathroom to wash up, clean my tear stained face and get ready for work. As I grabbed the towel to rinse my face, the most hateful banging crashed against my door.

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