RACING TOWARD THE LIGHT
© 2009 Sandra Pavloff Conner
If you haven’t read the previous chapters, you can find chapter one HERE.
The following night another storm moved over the coast, a little more severe than the one the previous night, and the weatherman on the late night newscast said that the national weather bureau hadn’t been able to establish a specific reason for the repeated pattern over the last two weeks. They had mentioned several possible causes but had not been able to make a definite determination yet. The most unusual aspect of the storms was that they materialized out over the ocean about five miles from shore and after hitting the coast along a five mile stretch and moving as far inland as the county line beyond Hamsted, they just seemed to wear out.
The following day was Sunday, and Serenity and her family attended services at the Christ Community Church just outside of the town. There were three other churches in Hamsted also, but Serenity’s great-grandfather had helped found this one, and they liked being a part of it. The sermons were always encouraging messages from the Word of God, and the worship was beautiful and heartfelt. They had invited Noah to services there, and he slipped into one of the back pews just as the first song was beginning. He loved going to church, but he hadn’t been in the community long enough to really get to know anyone yet, and he didn’t feel up to a lot of conversation with new people this morning.
At the close of the service, Pastor Carlyle called for anyone who needed prayer to come forward, and after they were prayed for, he suggested that the congregation as a whole stand and pray against the serious storms that had been plaguing their area. “I think it’s pretty clear that these storms are a result of the evil forces trying to misuse the elements of weather that the Lord planned for our good,” he said, “and we have authority over that. So I think we need to come into strong agreement this morning that those evil forces will be bound and their power to usurp the elements of weather for unnatural uses be broken.”
Several people said, “Amen,” and everyone stood to their feet. The pastor led the prayer, inviting anyone else to add something more if they felt led to do so. Noah felt really good about that prayer . . . and about this church. This was a church that he was going to feel comfortable in, he was sure. So as everyone began filing out, he waited to speak to the pastor and a few of the members. David came bounding down the aisle to talk to him and shake his hand in a grown up way, and following him came Serenity and Clint.
“Good to see you this morning, Noah,” Clint said, shaking his hand.
“It’s good to be here.”
At that time, the pastor turned to their group, and Clint introduced Noah. “Welcome, Noah. We’re glad you joined us this morning.”
“I am too, Pastor. I got a lot from your sermon, and I was really in agreement with your prayer about the weather. I believe we’ll see a turn around in that storm situation tonight.”
“Amen. I like that kind of talk,” the pastor answered. Someone else had touched his elbow to get his attention, but before he turned around he added, “Please come back to service tonight. We’re having a service that’s all testimonies and worship.”
“I’d like that. I’ll try to make it.”
“Good. Talk to you folks this evening then,” he said as he turned to the member wanting his attention.
While that conversation had transpired, another conversation was going on in the part of the atmosphere that was just beyond the visible realm. One of the captains of the Hosts of Heaven was addressing his troop of angelic hosts, all of them dressed in brilliant white garments, their glistening, diaphanous wings unfurled in readiness to carry out their orders. Each of the angels wore a large golden sword, sheathed at his side. Their commander was dressed much as they were, except that he also wore a golden sash across his chest with words in the language of Heaven inscribed upon it.
At his command, each angel drew his sword, and suddenly the brilliance of the golden fire that shot from all of those swords lit up the surrounding atmosphere brighter than the sun that was shining high in the center of the sky. “The saints have prayed in one accord,” the captain said. “They have spoken the words of Jehovah against the demonic powers that have been ruling the elements of weather over Hamsted and have bound them on earth. Therefore, Jehovah, true to His Word, has bound those forces in the heavens.
“Now . . . you are released, Hosts of Heaven. Go at once to the north, the south, the east, and the west. You now have the authority to rout all of those demonic hosts without exception. Then minister peace to the wind and the water and command them to rest for the next seven days.”
Instantly, there was a mighty rushing sound as the army of angelic beings separated to go in four directions, singing the praises of Jehovah as their battle cry, and speeding out to put the enemy forces to flight and bring victory into manifestation for the people of God. It didn’t take long. By 1:00, the sky was the clearest blue the people along the coast had seen in months, and the air was fresh and sweet, and carried along on a breeze so light and gentle it was like a caress. The sun shone without let-up until it slid gracefully beneath the horizon at a little after 8:00 that night.
By that time, the members at Christ Community Church were deep into their worship service. They were singing at the top of their lungs, clapping, shouting, and even dancing around the sanctuary with joy in the Lord. Some of the members of the Hosts of Heaven, although invisible to the human eye, were nevertheless present in the little church also, and were enjoying and even participating in the praise of Jehovah and the Lamb. They liked nothing better than this rejoicing that came from the redeemed of the Lamb. There was just nothing else like it, even in the halls of heaven. The redeemed of the Lord, coming with singing unto Zion, as the Word of the Lord described it.
The longer the praise continued, the more powerful came the presence of Jehovah Himself into the little sanctuary. After a while, most of the people were on their knees or even lying prostrate on their faces before the Lord in worshipful prayer.
But hidden away in the garage that belonged to the empty house beside Lacey and Troy Dillard’s home, the group of would-be sorcerers were applying every work of divination that they had learned up to this time, still attempting to conjure up another severe storm, specifically a hurricane. They repeated all the enchantments that they had learned from the Sally Stone materials and the connected web sites — at least all of those specifically about using the elements of weather to effect their own purposes or to bring evil consequences on someone who had treated them in an unacceptable manner. But when Lacey sent Troy to look outside, they discovered that nothing was working.
In the unseen realm, there was activity, but not what the group wanted to achieve. In truth, there were plenty of demonic spirits prowling around the edges of the atmosphere surrounding the coastal community, but they couldn’t get past a certain point. The beautiful, majestic Hosts of Heaven were on guard. They were stationed, north, south, east and west, permeating the whole atmosphere around them with peace and light. They could see the demonic beings pacing back and forth, red eyes piercing, tongues hanging out from panting with the desire to gain back the territory they had occupied for two weeks prior to this afternoon.
It was indescribably sad to watch these beings who had once been part of the glorious beauty of Heaven. But pride and rebellion were ugly things, and they produced ugly offspring. So these pitiful demonic beings had horrid black, leather-like skin in place of their once glowing, bronzed, angelic bodies. They moved in slinking, crawling, shameful ways, and right now they were pacing and prowling and growling . . . wanting to get into this space and cast the elements into chaos once again. But they just couldn’t break through.
The angelic hosts didn’t say a word. They didn’t have to. They were on duty by Divine order, as a result of earnest, faith-filled prayer by righteous sons of Jehovah, the redeemed of the Lamb. And as long as those prayers were in effect, Heaven’s occupation of this territory couldn’t be thwarted. In fact, the Heavenly Hosts were beginning to feel even stronger as the evening wore on. And eventually, they received more of their troops coming alongside as reinforcements. They knew what that meant. The people of God were releasing their faith in worship and prayer even more.
Sure enough, in the little church, the believers were thanking the Lord again, out loud and in unity, for His deliverance from the storms. They were confessing that they would all sleep in peace that night, free from the troubling elements that had brought uneasiness to them for two weeks now. Then they began to praise God again for His goodness. Finally, the service drew to a close and they began to disperse.
“My goodness,” said one lady as she stepped outside of the church. “Doesn’t that sky full of stars look beautiful? I haven’t seen the night sky that way in so long, I’d forgotten how beautiful it is.”
“Yes,” Serenity said as she stood beside the woman. “And I don’t see a cloud even on the horizon.”
“Does that mean the storms are over, Aunt Serie?” David asked.
“I believe so, David.”
“Goody!” he said and then turned to speak to Noah, who had just walked up to them. “The storms are over Noah!”
Noah nodded at David. “I know, Dave.” Then he looked at Serenity briefly before his eyes scanned the sky again. He took a deep breath. “Feels good, doesn’t it?” he asked her.
She nodded her head. “Mmhmm!”
Clint joined them just then. “Come by the lighthouse for a cup of coffee before going home, Noah.”
“Are you sure it isn’t too late?”
“Of course not. It’s only 9:00. Another hour won’t hurt surely.”
Noah looked at Serenity. She was looking especially beautiful tonight. She had left her hair down, and wore it swinging freely around her face from a simple side part. Her lightweight slacks and top made her look fresh and unsophisticated, although Noah knew that she was actually quite a sophisticated young woman. She was rather well known in journalistic circles. She had done a good deal of free-lance work for a number of periodicals, and she had two books on the bookstore shelves across the country. She wasn’t exactly famous, but she was making a name for herself.
“Would I be interrupting any of your work, Serenity?” he asked her now.
“No, I’m taking this evening off, so don’t let that bother you.”
“All right,” Noah said, turning back to Clint then. “I’ll come over for a short visit.”
“Good, good,” he answered and started walking toward the parking lot beside Noah, while Serenity and David followed at a slower pace.
Back in the garage, Lacey was growing more and more angry. Finally she jumped up. “Ooooohh! It’s those believers! It’s those believers!”
“What?” asked Darrin. They were all looking at Lacey, a little worried at the force of her tantrum. After a minute she answered.
“My spirit guide, Luna, told me today. She said it’s the believers who are blocking us. Their prayers!”
“Well, I’m tired of this anyway,” Nick said now, but Lacey continued as if she hadn’t heard him.
“Luna said we’d have to arrange a worthy sacrifice if we want to succeed.”
“What . . . what kind of . . . of worthy sacrifice?” Kelly asked, swallowing hard, trying to swallow down her fear. She was remembering the kinds of sacrifices described in the Sally Stone books, and she could hardly bear to think what Lacey might have in mind.
But before Lacey could answer, her brother spoke up. “Aww, I agree with Nick. I think we’ve spent enough time on the weather. This is getting boring. I want to do some fun stuff. I though that was why we started studying those books and playing the games anyway . . . so we could have some fun with these spells and curses.”
“Yeah, I wanta do some of that stuff they did in the Sally Stone movies,” Nick said. “That was really neat. That’s what I want us to do.”
“Let’s vote,” said Troy.
“No!” shouted Lacey.
“Lacey, when we started this coven, we all agreed that we would vote on what we would do,” her brother reminded her.
“I told you we can’t be a real coven until we have thirteen witches! We’re “The Middle School Order of the Magic Arts.”
“I know; I know, but still, you gave your word, and you can’t go back on it now . . . and you can’t change the rules without us voting on it.”
“Yeah,” Kelly chimed in.
“Oh . . . all right . . . if you all have to be such babies about it.”
“Babies!” Darrin said, obviously insulted and becoming angry himself.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Lacey finally said. She was getting tired of trying to convince them anyway. Her head hurt and she felt a little queasy in her stomach. She decided she was ready to go home anyway.
“Okay,” Troy said. “Everyone in favor of ending our plan to conjure up a hurricane raise your hand.”
Every hand except Lacey’s went up.
“Majority rules,” Troy said. “No more hurricanes.”
“So what are we going to do?” Darrin asked.
“I want to find out how to get my spirit guide to appear to me,” Nick said. “I can hear her voice, but I can’t see her yet. I must be doing something wrong. And Kelly said, she can see hers, but she can’t always understand what she’s telling her.”
“Well, we need to play the game some more,” Troy spoke up. “That’s how Lacey and I got to know our inner guides and understand how to follow them. We played the game over and over with Miss Parker in the after-school library hour.” He looked at Darrin then. “And, Darrin, you do pretty good now with your guide, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m getting a lot better at hearing him and seeing him.
“Well, okay,” Nick said, “bring the game when we get together Tuesday night, and we’ll play it.”
“All right,” Lacey answered in a disgruntled voice. “Now I’m going home. I don’t feel good,” she said and got up and blew out the candle that sat on the floor right in front of her.
“Me too,” Kelly said, following suit with her candle.
Troy shrugged his shoulders and looked at the other two boys. “Might as well. Oh, by the way, Lacey and I are going into Barclay next Saturday with Mom, and we’re going to go to the big bookstore there and buy the new Sally Stone book that just came out last week. Maybe it will give us some great ideas.”
“Great!” Darrin said. “Do you think, if I got you the money, that you could pick one up for me too?”
“Sure,” Troy said. “Anybody who wants a copy, just bring your money to Lacey and me by Friday.”
“Okay,” they all chorused.
Troy looked over to where his sister had been standing, but he saw that she was already leaving the garage and starting to their house. “Well, we might as well get out of here. Lacey’s already halfway to the house, so I need to catch up with her. If we go in at the same time, we have less chance of waking up Mom and Dad.” He picked up his equipment and turned to go. “See ya later.”
“See ya,” the others replied and filed out of the garage and closed the door behind them.
Once again, they all went their separate ways, all of them except Lacey secretly glad that they hadn’t had to live through a real hurricane. And Kelly was even starting to wonder how she had let herself get so far into something this scary anyway. She didn’t like it. It wasn’t the kind of fun she thought it would be when she’d read the first two books. She thought maybe she wanted out . . . but . . . if she remembered what the books had said . . . nobody really got out . . . because they couldn’t be trusted to be on the outside once they’d been on the inside, learning how to be a real witch. And she didn’t think she wanted to get to know her spirit guide any better. She didn’t like talking to her.
When Miss Parker, the school librarian, had started teaching them how to play the “Inside Myself” game last year, Kelly had thought that it sounded like something really grown up, and she had looked forward to learning things that would help her feel more sure of herself. But the more they played and practiced receiving their inner spirit- guides, the more uncomfortable she felt.
Of course, the Sally Stone books made it all sound so ordinary — listening to a spirit and letting it tell you what to do — the books made it sound as if there were nothing to be afraid of — but she was afraid. She began to shiver just thinking about it, and when she got to her room, she didn’t even bother to undress. She just jumped into her bed and covered up, with the covers all the way over her head — and then she cried herself to sleep.
But out in the unseen realm, the Hosts of Heaven were smiling and putting away their fiery swords. The enemy had turned back. One by one, and then two and three at a time, the demon spirits had spat out one last abusive insult and turned away and fled, leaving the atmosphere free of their filth and their stench. This battle was over. The faithful believers had stood their ground and won.
Oh, the angels knew that Jehovah would keep a contingent of the Hosts of Heaven in the area for a couple more days, just to ward off any of the enemy that might get the silly idea into their heads that they could make a comeback any time soon. But the heavenly troops felt sure that the actual warfare was over. At least this particular battle for control of the elements of weather in this specific area. But there would be more warfare in the near future. They had known the day that Gloria Dillard had bought Lacey the first Sally Stone book to read that they were soon going to be engaged in a vicious battle for the souls of the people of Hamsted and this coastal community — as well as those of others who were interconnected with the people who lived here.
It was no secret to the Hosts of Heaven that demons were assigned to move into communities and homes where the Sally Stone books were welcomed. They used the books as mediums through which to connect with the people who read them. That was bad enough, but the books then led to the movies. And when the first two movies were brought to Hamsted and shown in the little theater, an army of the powers of darkness had marched into town with them. And, of course, as the human beings watched the movies avidly, they automatically opened themselves up to become new hosts for the spirits that had come to town looking for just that opportunity.
The angels could only hope that the believers here would listen to Jehovah as He attempted to give them the revelation of what was going on and how they must fight against it on their knees and in His Word. Because until the redeemed of the Lamb, who were the priests of the covenant on the earth, began to pray and speak the Word of God out of their mouth, the Hosts of Heaven were restrained. After all, man had given the devil a legal right to function on the earth. And the only authority that could over-ride the devil’s power in the earthly circumstances was the authority of a man of God speaking the Words of God in the name of Jesus.
One of the glorious beings spoke to their commanding officer, asking the question on all of their minds. “Do you know yet, Captain, what these believers in Hamsted will do?”
He shook his head. “Not yet. Of course, Jehovah knows, but He hasn’t passed that information along to me. It must not be the right time yet.” Some of the angels on duty wondered now what Jehovah was thinking, knowing what His people would do in response to this attack of the enemy. Was His heart grieved because He knew they would fail to believe and obey — or was He rejoicing, proud of these children of His, because He knew they would trust Him and love not their lives unto death?
Some of the Hosts of Heaven who were in this particular detachment had worked with Noah Bennett last year — when he’d gone through the most trying events of his life. They discussed their concern for him now. “That situation was similar to this,” one of the angels was saying, “only even more serious.”
“Certainly more deadly,” another answered. “At least so far.”
“But Noah was totally committed and faithful then, and he did everything Jehovah needed him to do,” a third member of the hosts added.
“But,” the first angel spoke again, “he was severely wounded emotionally in that battle, and like any wounded soldier, he’s seeking rest and healing. I don’t know if he’ll be ready to stand in faith the way he did last year . . . or if he’ll even want to do so anymore.”
“Surely Jehovah will give Noah’s personal angel — who is it that has charge of him?”
“Naam has him,” one of the others answered, and his friend continued to make his point.
“Well, surely, Jehovah will give Naam something special to say to Noah that will give him courage and hope to try again.”
The others nodded in agreement, and then their captain spoke. “He must try again, because it looks more every day as if the people of Hamsted are going to need Noah Bennett and his experience desperately.” He paused thoughtfully before continuing. “But perhaps that is why Jehovah has led Noah here to recover. Because He knows what’s in Noah’s heart . . . even better than Noah himself.”
“Yes,” they all agreed, “Jehovah knows.”
“Yes,” the captain added, “and He always has a plan to rescue His people, if they will just listen to Him and obey.”
Look for Chapter 4 tomorrow.