It starts as a speck, no bigger than a grain of dust. Then slowly, imperceptibly, the mustard tree begins to grow.
Numb head thaws. Stopped heart awaits signal. Any time now.
Dots of truth absorbed into waiting brain cells sprout roots, travel downward like a lightning bolt, to fill empty crevices. Fresh blood flows from unclogged arteries.
Germs of faith saturate fertile soil, one drop at a time. A chain of Resurrection DNA loops itself around fear's stronghold, plucks out weeds not planted by our heavenly Father.
Stiff tissues grow warm. My heart begins to beat. I stir, mind lost in a fog.
Where am I?
My newly sensitized nostrils detect a sweet rose smell.
"In Him we live and breathe and have our being..."
Ah... Where have I heard those words before?
A less pleasant scent hits my nose. Smells like a bird cage.
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
The words fall on my skin like a thousand miniature swords. Giving me goose bumps, pricking my nerves. An irritation begins to build.
"The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores... "
"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
The scriptures lash my pride like a whip. Then it hits me: I'm the factory that caused the pollution that's making me sick.
My head begins to spin as images of my most recent memory surface. I was standing in the field, watching a hawk. Then suddenly I felt the blow. What happened after that?
As the pressure in my nasal passages increases, a sermon I heard years before springs from a hidden closet in my brain.
"God's word, the free seed you can't earn, is the truth that feeds your spirit and heals your soul. You need to meditate on it. Otherwise Satan might vacuum-suck it from your brain - through miniscule magnetic notes too faint for the natural ear to hear. I'm talking 'I' tunes here, sung by a host of foul, demonic fowls. Garbage-mouth grackles, robbing robins, warped warblers, and psalm-stealing starlings tweet a not-so-sweet hurricane of deceit designed to sweep you off your feet. It's a crime."
The preacher's words touch me deeply, like a blanket on a cold day. Way too personal! It's like he's getting right up in my face, eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose, mouth-to-mouth. Brr.
"Beware those faith-seed-eating birds and the sinister disease they spread," he warns. "It's called Chirpies, and it's highly contagious. Cain had a real bad case of it and so did Esau. And don't forget Pharaoh's chief baker, who dreamed of birds eating bread from a basket on his head. Those birds symbolize the quarreling crows and rotten egg wrens who wish to peck away your faith. If you let them, they'll leave you empty as the famed prodigal son."
Who wished to fill himself with pig food? Yuck, sounds scary.
"But there was hope for him and there's hope for you, if you'll fill your stomach with Jesus Christ, the bread of life. He's the only bread that truly satisfies, the blessed manna from on high, which if you eat, you'll never die. He's also the author and finisher of your faith, who paid an unimaginable price to get you right with God. He died a terrible death on a cross and three days later rose from the dead. In order to receive it, all you need do is believe it. Surrender to the breath of His Spirit."
By now the conviction is overwhelming. I hungrily devour the message, feasting on every syllable, my lungs stretched to bursting. At that point a light bulb goes off in my mind, like the revelation that knocked Paul off his horse.
Ah, I see. Ah, I get it now. Ah, I can't hold back any longer.
"Ah, ah, ahchoo!"
Seven sneezes and I'm wide awake. I open my eyes. Bye bye, Chirpies. Hello - "Hey, wait a minute. You're not my dad. You're... you're..."
And so, having raised him from the dead, Elisha gave the boy back to his mother.
Scriptures: Acts 17:28, Romans 3:23, Isaiah 1:5-6 & 64:6, Matthew 13:4 and 19, Genesis 40:16-17, John 6:33-58, and II Kings 4:1-36, among others (all verses KJV)
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