Friday, April 3, 2015

Into the Arena

By Angeline M Duran Santiago

CONCLUSION, (Part 4) On Heavenly Wings

Ariana and Saul added a few dollars to their Metro Card. They swiped their cards, walking towards the downtown trains. Ariana's heart was a little quicker now, as she remembered some of the things that had happened in church that morning. As she walked, she noticed she could hear sounds she had never heard before. Thinking someone was talking to her, she turned around to face the person, only to find no one was behind her, or trying to speak to her. Again and again, she heard conversations, so clearly each word. She looked into the faces of those waiting in the station and she saw through their expressions, identifying their hurts, their anger and frustrations, their intentions and the darkness that placed hurt and lies into their spirits.

Feeling overwhelmed, she walked towards one of the poles and leaned against it. Scriptures of comfort and strength poured into her memory and she held on to them, speaking them into her heart and reassuring herself that God was there with her. Even though she didn't understand how all this was happening, she knew God had a reason and that He would show up when she felt like she couldn't do it or was going to fall apart. 

A foul smell and heavy panting came and stopped at her back. She looked at Saul to see how he would react to someone so close to her. She felt the sweaty heat and the hard breathing of someone on her back and still no reaction from Saul. Slowly she turned around to find a young man near her. His eyes told the story of being wounded, of pain, and of wanting to find whoever had hurt him years ago and pay them back a hundred fold for the damage and the pain that had been inflicted on him.

As Ariana turned towards Saul to tell him what she was experiencing, her eyes were opened and suddenly she not only heard the cries, the angry insults, the curses and the dark thoughts in so many minds, now she was able to see the dark and disgusting creatures standing near so many of the weary travelers. Even men in suits, and women who looked like they had just come from a magazine shoot, were being harassed, confused, chained and lied to by these demonic beings.

"Speak the Words I have given you and they will go."

The voice was soft, yet it was louder than all the other voices in the train station. Immediately, Ariana remembered what had happened in church while Pastor Jakes preached. She remembered the moment she had momentarily disappeared into a train station and then she remembered even more. She had seen these creatures before. Yes! In her dreams, they had taken her and tormented her physically and mentally. She remembered the torture, the violence and she remembered the Word of God lifting her up and out of the battle field.

Closing her eyes, she began to pray in her mind and heart.
"Lord, I don't know your purpose, but I know I trust you. Give me courage to do what you are telling me to do. I ask that you fill me with your Spirit and empower me to face this darkness. Let your presence in me be the ammunition to speak with power. Let your Light in me, spread out and make these messengers of darkness leave these people alone."

Before she knew it, she was praying aloud and her eyes had opened to see and hear like never before. The dark creatures now had their eyes on her and prompted people in the train station to react to her prayers. 
"Oh my goodness, this lady is crazy!" 
"Somebody call the mental ward, this woman needs to be taken away. Get the hell away from me!"
Laughing, another said, "You can't pray. It's against the law to pray here so you better stop."

The creatures moved in around the passengers, making some of them start doing repulsive things in public, speak out loud dirty and disgusting things to her, and even threaten her if she didn't shut up.

Ariana realized God was there, or else this would not be happening. She began to thank God for the Victory. She began to worship the Lord and declare Him the God of Victory, the God who reigns in the midst of the darkness.

"There is no God like Jehovah! God reigns and overcomes the darkness and everything that attempts to be greater than my God!"

She heard the voice again, "Command them to go!"

"In the Mighty Name of Jesus, I command every spirit of darkness in this place to leave. I speak with the authority given to me by God's Word. Go!"

The creatures were infuriated! People yelled at her. Saul got in front of her to stop a homeless woman from hitting her and the dark creatures began to incite the crowd against them.

"Lord, I walk forward with your presence as my armor. You are my shield. You are my sword. You cover my back and my front. You are before me. I will not fear."

The sound of the incoming train overpowered her declaration, but it didn't stop the dark beings from coming towards her. She readied herself as if she knew what to do, into a posture that said, "I'm ready for battle. Bring it on."

People came off the train and others pushed to go inside. Just like in her experience in the church, she saw the madness. The creatures began to run towards her and as she readied herself to engage in a fight, she saw her husband Saul now stood ready to fight as well. His eyes showed he was in shock as if all hell and reality had just been revealed to him. Standing side by side, they began to pray and declare God's word. The images of the train transformed into the arena of her dreams. She saw the weapons of torture on the ground. She saw dead bodies, ripped apart by weapons, animals and the unknown. "Please God, I can't do this alone!"

A mighty wind softly and carefully wrapped itself around Ariana and Saul. Their church clothes were now gone and they were dressed in battle clothes she had never seen before.

"They will come against you but they will not prevail!" God's voice was peaceful and clear.

She saw two, grotesque creatures come boldly towards her. She realized she was somehow able to fight back, although she had no knowledge or experience on how to fight. She lifted her arms to shield off the blow that was coming towards her but was not able to stop the other being from hitting her full force across the face. The side of her face burned and her head began to ache, a throbbing pain that felt like someone was playing drums on her insides.

Bending forward, she took a few breaths and cried out to God for direction. "I don't know how to fight, God, I don't know what to do."

Within seconds, God allowed Ariana to see she was not alone. A host of heavenly warriors were surrounding them and some had already engaged in keeping the creatures away. This didn't mean she would not have to engage in battle. She still had to prevail in Jesus name. God was here by her side. Her eyes took hold of weapons on the floor and she rushed to grab what seemed like a sword. As she ran towards it, a creature filled with scabs and sickness all around it came full force towards her and swung his chained weapon, a ball with spikes that he whirled around, and hit her legs as she ran. She fell to the floor with great pain, feeling the impact on her waist.

For the first time in a long time, she felt an anger rise up in her, but an anger to do away with injustice, to do away with darkness and lies. She pushed herself upward. A heavenly warrior came to her side and pulled her up. 

"Do not pick up the sword on the floor. Speak the Word of the Lord and you will be given what you need when the time comes." he said.

Ariana looked for Saul, but he was on the ground trying to get up. She couldn't go to him or she too would be destroyed. She saw tall, beautiful angels walking to aid Saul and this gave her peace to face the demons.

"You come to me with your weapons of darkness! You come to me with every work of iniquity! You come to me using sickness and torment! You come against me with violence and depression! You come against me to kill and destroy me but I come against you in the Name of the Lord of Hosts!"

Running towards the being that had attacked her legs, she cried out to God, "I come against you in the name of JESUS!" As she lashed out to try to punch and kick at the demons, because it was all she thought she could do, her hands were filled with a brilliant light and a sword appeared to be connected to her hand. 

For a moment, she thought, "God, I don't know how to use a sword. I don't know how to even pretend to fight with one."

The angel beside her said, "Do not doubt. Do not declare fear. You can walk on the water if you believe."

With a smile rising on the part of her face that was not injured, she pressed onward. As she swung her sword to hit the demons and dark beings, the weapons would come out of her hands allowing her to pierce into the darkness in Jesus name. As she fought on, she saw many that she thought were dead on the arena's battle floor, still breathing. She went towards them and yelled, "Get up! Get up and finish the fight! God is with us!"

She saw angels standing by many who were getting up from the ground. The angels placed their hands on the wounded and they were strengthened and these believers, wounded and bleeding, joined in the fight against the powers of darkness. 

Ariana's arms became heavy. Her waist, her legs, and her face reminded her of how badly she'd been hit. Then she saw Saul on the ground, struggling to get up. She looked to the end of the arena and saw people she knew. She saw those she loved, friends and family, and she saw how the enemy had stricken them with sickness, fear, sadness, and tormented some of them. 

She began to make out the faces of those who had risen from the battle field and gone back to fighting, and she saw the faces of her brothers, Titus and Alexander. She saw them, through their physical afflictions, rising to finish the enemy. Pushing through her pain, she ran to them. "Hold out your hand!" she cried, and as they did, "All kinds of majestic light wrapped around their hand, placing an unmovable sword in their hands, changing their clothes in battle garments like hers, and increasing their strength to push on.

Ariana, Titus, and Alexander fought the armies of darkness in that arena of death. They fought until the last foul creature disappeared. They fought until their bodies and spirits refused to go any further. They pushed through for themselves, for their families and friends, and because they saw they were never alone.

Saul would take time to recover. Angels lifted him and placed him near Ariana's family by the arena entrance. A beautiful, warm light bathed the arena, filling Ariana, Titus, and Alexander.

As Ariana smiled and began to rejoice in God's glorious presence, the images began to fade and she found herself once again in the train station. Saul was sitting down on a seat. An EMT was attending to his wounds as he had been stabbed by the homeless person when he tried to shield Ariana.

The people in the train station only stared momentarily, but everyone acted as if nothing had ever occurred. There were no voices, no visions, no creatures from darkness, and no angels. 

"Rejoice!" came a whisper into her heart. "Sing."

Knowing it was futile to ignore any heavenly command, Ariana looked at Saul and began to sing softly. 

"Our God a mighty warrior
You're a consuming fire
In victory You reign
We triumph in Your name
Jesus the great commander
You conquered death forever
In victory You reign
We triumph in Your name."

The EMT placed their arms around Saul to help him walk towards the stairway. They would have to carry him up. Ariana kept singing softly, and she went on to repeat the verse, a nearby woman leaning against a pole began to join her, singing, "Our God a mighty warrior." Smiling at the woman, Ariana grabbed Saul's back pack that was on the chair. A fire began to consume her heart and she lifted her voice in song, as she did, more voices began to resound through the train station. Believers from different corners of the train station, believers of the One True God going down the stairs, joined her in loudly singing, "In Victory You reign!"

Walking away from the station, and getting into the ambulance, Ariana could still hear the song behind her. The believers had fearlessly joined her in worship and what a beautiful, thunderous sound it had been. 

She thanked the Lord. The EMT looked at her and said, "Madam, did something happen to your face? Are you ok? Let me look at you."

The ambulance door closed. The siren wailed and cried telling cars nearby to move out of the way and let them through. The streets were once again normal, no demons, no angels, no voices and no heavenly light. 

But soon, soon the battle field would open again and the enemies of darkness would come to declare triumph over God's people and once again, God will prepare and raise an army to take a stand.

Brothers and sisters, I write this story using parts of my dreams and parts from my personal experiences. We may not see or hear as Ariana did. We may not even engage in battle the way she did. But, we are hit with sickness. We face problems in life, depression, and all matter of trials that I believe are the enemy's way to attack us to destroy God's work in us, weaken our faith, and make us want to give up when we're hurt and weary. 

Rise up, warrior of the Lord and know you are not alone! Here's the song I chose for Ariana to sing in my story. Enjoy it!

 Other parts of this story:
 Part One

Part Two

Part Three



By Angeline M Duran Santiago  The storm rages on and the winds buffet the lands in violent twirls. Some say it is the season for hur...