Friday, April 3, 2015

A Call To Battle

By Angeline M Duran Santiago

Part 3 On Heavenly Wings

The sound of music seeped through the doors as Saul reached the last step of Living Water's Worship Center Church. Saul opened the door to the church building, holding it for Ariana to go through. The guitar, the keyboard, the drums, and the voices all joined in unison, lifting up a sound of praise and adoration to the One True God. Finding their usual seats, Ariana moved in next to Saul, placed her purse on the seat, and quickly immersed herself in the atmosphere of praise and adoration. Closing her eyes, and singing the words in her heart, she allowed herself to draw strength from the verse, "Hold me close to your heart, Lord." As she sang, she found herself releasing tears and a cry, long awaited and needed to be given. She was no longer able to sing, but just surrendered in prayer to her Savior.

As the time of singing came to an end and Pastor Jake began to share, she nodded her head in agreement, "Yes, the Lord had taken care of her this week and would continue to do so." Pastor Jake went on to talk about difficult days ahead and how believers were going to have to either put on the Armor of God and truly depend and trust on God's power, or they were going to go astray, let their faith begin to disappear and not be able to experience God's Hand at work in their lives as He showed up in their hard times. He spoke of the believer's need to truly read the Scriptures, not just listen to others talk about it. We need, more than ever, to know God's Word and have it hidden in our hearts, in our minds, and ready to speak in our lips. 

Isn't that what Ariana had been doing lately? Just asking God to speak to her heart? Knowing all she could do was wait on the Lord, she closed her eyes and immediately the walls of the church shifted into a subway station. She opened her eyes, blinking a few times and wondering if she was going crazy. The loud speaker repeating what train was coming and in how many minutes it was expected was loudly sharing in the background. People were rushing all around her, and some were pushing one another forward as the doors to the train just stopped opened. Angry voices yelled as some tried to push further into the train, not allowing others to come out. Ariana stood there, motionless, wondering, "How? and Why?" As she lowered her head into her hands to take a moment and try to find her sanity, the train station shifted back into the church walls. The sermon was over and the few people left in the sanctuary were saying their final farewell. 

She bent towards the seat in front of her, and resting her forehead on her arms, she allowed herself to surrender her heart once more to the Lord. "God, I don't know what's going on, but reveal your will to me. Please. I'm not crazy. Am I? Am I losing my mind?"

Feeling someone walk and stop besides her, she opened her eyes and looked to her side. An angelic presence shining with the kind of light that overwhelms your eyes when the sun's radiance fills the skies, stood there by her side. "Do not fear. When you enter the battle, you will not be overcome."

"Wait!" Ariana yelled out, but it was too late. The angelic being was gone before her eyes had a chance to blink. "Honey, what is it?" Saul asked, rushing to her side. "I just saw an angel. He was right here! Didn't anyone else see him?" she answered with great emotion in her voice. "Honey, you were praying and maybe you just....I mean, look, no one else is here except us and Pastor Jake. Come on, honey, you need to rest. Let's go home." Saul offered his hand to Ariana, and waited for her to take hold of her purse and sweater, and follow him out of the church. 

Saul held the church door open, as Pastor Jakes stood there watching. "I'll be praying for you both." he said, and as Ariana took a step through the church doors, she breathed and said, "I'm going to need it, Pastor." They walked to the car and Saul unlocked the doors and got in. Ariana got in on her side. Saul began to try to get the car to start, but it refused to cooperate. Saul came out of the car, opened the front hood and looked for signs of why is was not turning on. He re-entered the car and went through all the motions again. Nothing. It refused to start.

The couple sat there, in the church parking lot for a few minutes, before Saul finally said, "Honey, I'm sorry. I would call us a taxi but I left my money on the dining room table. Unless you have enough for a cab, we're going to have to walk down to Roy Street and hop on the train to get home."
At that moment, somehow, Ariana didn't have to wonder if that was the right choice. She had enough for the train, exactly enough for the train ride. Without hesitation, she got out and up from the car. She took her purse and placed it sideways around her chest, and looked at Saul.
"I don't know why this is happening, but I know God will not abandon us."

Saul and Ariana walked away from the car after making sure it was locked. They began to walk, quietly, their thoughts far away in regards to what they had been through this weekend. The train station up ahead made them get ready to cross the street. Saul reached out and took hold of Ariana's hand. "Together, " he said, "Whatever comes, we'll face it together." Ariana lifted her eyes with a smile that agreed, as they descended into the train station.



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