Catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye left Elisa feeling insecure. Jerry was away on his quarterly business meeting; Elisa had trouble sleeping that night. Tomorrow would be busy and should help the time to pass quickly.
Elisa did grocery shopping while the kids were in school. Then it would be soccer practice, during which she would get the oil changed. Somewhere in there she'd get dinner ready.
With the oil change finished Elisa went to pick up the kids. She gave a quick glance in the rearview mirror. That's when she caught it again. Scared, she stopped the car on the side of the road. Jumping out, she looked in the backseat – empty. Able to rationalize, that she was stressed out, she pulled herself together to go pick-up the kids. "I still have to make dinner", was said more to get herself moving rather than reminding herself. She was looking forward to Jerry's return in two days now more than ever.
That evening she was more vigilant than usual – checking around corners, locking doors, lights on. She was coming out of the bathroom to answer the phone –there it is in front…was in front of her for less than a glimpse. The figure of a person?
"Hello, we can't come to the phone so please leave your number and a message. Beeeeeep."
Elisa knew it was Jerry calling to say goodnight to her and the kids.
"Hi everybody! It's me calling to say goodnight. Where…"
"Do I tell him."
"…I'll give you a minute to come to…"
"Tell him what?"
Elisa rushed to get the phone, "Hi Jerry."
They went through the usual night time routine as best they could over the phone; an update of the day, prayers, "kisses". That night Elisa kept lights on staying up reading. It was strange – she didn't feel "terrorized" scared like someone was going to break in, but incredibly uncertain about what she was dealing with. Still sitting up, she finally fell asleep by two a.m..
Her neck was stiff as she cancelled the alarm.
Still groggy, "What day is it?" She recounted to the day Jerry left, then counted the days forward. "Jerry's coming home. It's Saturday." She didn't have to wake up at six-thirty. Elisa looked over at what she was reading last night. The book of Matthew, chapter 28. The red lettering in verses 18-20 caught her attention.
Elisa read softly, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."1
Elisa found comfort in these words - feeling Jesus was speaking directly to her. Jerry was expected home at ten p.m.; there was still much to do before his arrival. The kids would be out most of the day with friends. Elisa made an effort during the day to focus on what Jesus said in His word. The phone rang. It was Jerry telling Elisa he started his drive home and should be home on time. Elisa was happy. Hanging up the phone she turned to finish preparing dinner - she saw someone go around the corner. Fear struck her; but not panic as she remembered the Words, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."2 She struggled not to lose control now that the kids were home.
Instinct took over as she checked their bedrooms. All was well.
As the kids were finishing the dishwashing chore Elisa could hear peals of thunder rolling through the sky.
She found herself thinking, "What if the electricity goes off!"
She inconspicuously looked for flashlights and candles for every room as flashes of lightning were now accompanying the rumbling thunder. Elisa checked the door locks. The brightness of the lightning now pierced into the house; thunder caused things to rattle. Two quick flashes of lightning with a crack of thunder - the lights were out. Before Elisa could get to a flashlight a shaft of light came from nowhere in the center of the kitchen. Elisa and the kids tightened their grip on each other. There appeared in the shaft of light the figure of an angel. Elisa and the kids momentarily lost their breath.
"Be not afraid. I bring you a message from the Lord. 'I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'"
As sudden as it came, the shaft of light disappeared, lights came on, the front door opened.
A familiar voice said, "Honey, I'm home. Hi kids."