Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: With Us He Stands
By Trevas Walker
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For three years now, the culling had been taking place. Mark had known that this day would come. Looking around he marvelled at how many remained - their bravery in the face of terror was moving – thirty in all. The others had left when the armies started exterminating the church members.
This congregation wasn’t the first to become a target and it wouldn’t be the last, but together they would stand for their Lord. There was little chance of victory this night, but they chose to pay with their lives; for their love for Jesus, and for what they believed. So many had run, but these few remained, faithful.
Mark looked over the group as they began to file out into the church yard. He could hear a sob from one, and quickly recognized it as Amy Thompson. He wasn’t sure that he could count how many times he had heard those sobs. He had counselled Mrs. Thompson when her husband had been unfaithful. What surprised Mark about the couple now, was the fact that they now stood together once more. Behind the couple old Frank Golson stood, which was even more surprising to the young pastor. The old man hadn’t said two nice words to anyone ever and yet here he stood, looking terrified but full of resolve. It was a ragtag group that stood up for what they believed this night.
As Mark followed his congregation out into the church yard he heard a few of them gasp. It only took him a moment to see what had elicited the sounds. The night sky was beautiful, a picture-perfect star-filled night. The kind that rarely was seen in this part of the world anymore. It had been a year since any of them had seen through the unnaturally clouded sky. When the war had started, the nukes had left the sky obscured by dust. Tonight though the stars shone brightly on this group, and a noticeable change came over them as the fear left them.
It was then -- as they stood under the majestic beauty of God’s great universe – that the first of the demon horde broke through the trees. Timed seemed to slow, as though he was watching a slow motion replay on the sports channel, as Mark watched the first of the horde arrived.
Mark watched as the demons reached the front of the small group. Gail Armani, God bless her old faithful soul, was the first to fall. He watched as old man Golson, seemingly possessed with rage, ran swinging his salvaged machete and screaming “for Jesus” at the top of his lungs. As one after another the small group fell, it was clear to Mark that they would die quickly; but then, something changed.
As the quickly as the battle had begun it was over, and over half of the congregation was still standing, bloodied and yet amazingly alive. A thousand demon corpses scattered the church yard, along with the few men that had fallen. As the demons had started to drive the little group back towards the church, a man had appeared. A single man bathed in light, wearing sandals, a robe, and holding a shepherd’s cane. The man appeared and the demons fell, as if they were paper. The ground was now scattered with the bodies of the entire horde.
Mark knew his simple prayer, Jesus please stand with us, had been answered; he had come.
A simple shepherd, who had once given his life to save the world, had appeared once more to give hope to a dying world. The twenty remaining members of the congregation fell to their knees, in awe and admiration of this man.
Mark could hear tears of joy from his left. The dark of the night accentuated the light surrounding the man as they all knelt in front of him. A sense of peace came over the young pastor as the man faded into the night. The words go be a light in the darkness, echoed through the night.
Mark turned to the remaining church members. “Come we have much to do.”
“For Jesus,” Frank Golson said again, with awe painted on his face this time.
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