Elijah stood at the top of the stairway. The light from downstairs barely lit the still darkened hall. Something amazing had happened to him that he was bursting to tell everyone. He paused for a moment not sure how to explain it. Then, without waiting to figure it all out, he rushed down the steps, leaping over the last few, and ran out to the kitchen; where Gram had been preparing breakfast and lunches for school.
“Elijah! Are you all right? You're all out of breath,” she exclaimed as he flew into the room.
“I don't know, I mean yes! I'm O.K.,” Elijah replied frantically.
“What's got you so worked up? Sit at the table and have some juice.” Gram filled a glass and sat down next to him.
Elijah took the glass and emptied half of it with one gulp. His eyes then looked straight into his grandmother's. “Something happened last night! I had a dream.” He paused. “But more than just a dream, a vision.”
“You had a what?” Becca entered the kitchen staring at her brother with a total look of disbelief. “Gram, you hold him, I'll call the nut house.” She sat down and grabbed a piece of bacon from the table and took a bite.
Elijah's eyes quickly dropped to the table. It hadn't crossed his mind until now that anyone would not believe what had just happened to him. What if his grandmother didn't believe him either? What if she thought he was crazy too? His mind was racing on what he should do or say next when he felt his grandmother's hand lift his chin until their eyes met again. Her eyes were full of tears, but her smile told him that everything was fine.
“Elijah, don't pay any attention to her. I believe you,” she assured him. “Listen, something happened to me last night too! I had a dream. In the dream I was at church and I saw a man dressed in white calling my name. At first I thought he was really tall, but then I realized he was floating off the floor. I couldn't move I was so scarred. The chapel was empty and I was just about to call out for help when he said, 'Be not afraid, Sarah! Tonight the Spirit of the Lord is abroad in this land and across all of God's creation. Members of your family will be moved upon by the Holy Spirit to do the will of the Lord.'”
“Then he said that you had a marvelous work to do for the Lord and that you would be a blessing to me and all of our family,” Gram continued putting her hand on Elijah’s shoulder. “I thought this morning that I was just dreaming it because we talked about going to church at dinner last night.”
Becca sat in complete bewilderment and listened with her mouth wide open. Suddenly she smiled. “Ha! Ha! April Fools was like last week. I expect such things from him, but Gram, honestly.”
“Becca, I'm not kidding! Something wonderful’s happened!” Gram exclaimed.
“Alright, you two are like totally creeping me out!” Becca stood up and started walking out of the room. “I'm going to take a shower.”
Elijah and Gram turned to each other. Gram spoke first, “Tell me what you saw, hon.”
“Well, I'm not sure how long I was asleep when it started. At first I thought I was still awake, my eyes were closed, but I was still thinking about going to church. Then I heard a voice. It was quiet at first; I had to strain to hear it. As it got louder, I could tell it was calling my name.”
“Before I knew what was happening, my room began to fill with light. Where the light was brightest I could see a figure standing. He called my name again. 'Elijah David Abbot, behold, you have been called of God to spread His word among this people.'”
Elijah's eyes grew wide as he looked past Gram recalling the vision. “Then I was sitting at the top of a tall tree, so high I could see the whole Earth. From out of the clouds I could see the Spirit of God shining down like beams of sunlight, touching people all over the world. Those that the light touched were filled with joy. As the Spirit rose back into the sky, they began to share God's word with those around them. They started to build their own churches, gathering together according to their beliefs. This seemed to go on for many years until over time the churches had spread the word of God all around the world. But there was something missing. The Spirit hadn't stayed with them."
"Near the tree there was a boy kneeling in some woods. He was looking up and the sun lit up his face. I can't remember where, but I know that I've seen him before. There were figures floating above the ground talking to him. Angels I guess? The Spirit was all around them. Soon the angels left, but the light of the Spirit stayed with the boy. Straight away he went to work on a large building. From the foundation you could see it was going to be huge.”
“As the building grew, others joined the boy and started helping him build. It was a giant church with steeples all around the top. The light of the Spirit began to shine around those that joined him too. Before they finished the building, many of the people started spreading out in all directions, building other buildings everywhere they went, and the light stayed with them. More and more people joined them as they went, but most ignored them. In some places people even started fighting against them and tried to drive them away.”
“While that group of people continued to spread across the Earth, the sky began to get dark. There were great floods, hail storms, and earthquakes all around. Storms like I’ve never seen. There were people hurt and starving everywhere I looked. Wars began to break out in the distance with giant explosions and smoke rising into the sky. It was like the Earth was going to be completely destroyed.”
“But the natural disasters and wars were not the worst part. All of that seemed to fade away as people started to get sick. A plague began spreading across the whole world. It was like what they taught in history class about the “Black Plague” in Europe. Hospitals were full and there were dead bodies in the streets.”
“People crowded around their country's leaders begging for help, but no one seemed to know what to do. When it seemed like there was no hope left for anyone, the leaders gathered for a big meeting. One of the leaders came forward and said that he could save the people. He convinced people to come together. They stopped fighting and began rebuilding cities. They started getting the plague under control. More and more people began to crowd around him. Before long everyone was looking at him like he was some kind of savior. He pretended to have the light, but all around him was darkness.”
“Those that followed set him up as their king. At first, he continued to rebuild, but before long he started making demands on the people. He told everyone that if they were going to continue to have peace, everyone would have to be loyal to him alone. This included anyone who believed in God. He said that there was no God or if there was, that God had forsaken them. His followers persecuted anyone who believed in Christ.”
“Next the people worshiped this man and prayed to him. They marked themselves to show their loyalty. The more power the man gained, the more God's followers were persecuted. I started to feel sick in my stomach. I screamed at the top of my lungs for God to do something.”
Elijah looked towards the ceiling and his voice softened. “Before the words left my mouth I saw a light fill the sky. It covered the Earth. As the light spread, I felt like my heart had caught fire. Those who didn't have the mark of the man fell to the ground and began praying. Down from the light came a person; it must have been Jesus, Gram. Behind him came countless numbers of angels.”
“I started to climb down. I desired to be with them more than anything I have ever wanted. Before I got far, the voice of the angel started speaking again. 'Tell what you have seen to all who will listen. The Lord will be with you always. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.'”
“Next thing I knew, I was laying in bed again. I don't know how long the whole thing lasted, but the sun was shining through my curtains. At first I wanted to jump up and come running down stairs, but my whole body felt tired like I'd ran a marathon. I forced myself out of bed, got dressed as fast as I could, and came down here.”
Gram sat staring awestruck at Elijah. As he finished she spoke. “What do you suppose it all means?”
“I'm not sure, but I believe it was the events leading up to the second coming of Jesus.”
“This is a lot to take in. Most of what you saw are signs of Christ's return. We need to get all of this written down. Let me get some paper,” Gram said as she went to a cabinet drawer. “Let's start from the beginning.”
Gram began to write as Elijah recounted the vision. When they got to the part about the boy building the church Gram stopped. “You say you've seen this boy before? Is it someone from school or maybe from T.V.?”
“No, he was dressed in old fashioned clothes. It was someone from a picture or maybe a book. Maybe I have to find out who he is and help him build the church.” Elijah was just starting to grasp the fullness of the vision. What was he supposed to do now?
Suddenly Becca appeared in the kitchen archway. She was dripping wet with a towel wrapped around her mid-section and another around her hair. Her face was pale, as if she had seen a ghost. She stared at them for several seconds before she finally spoke, “Have you guys been listening to the radio?”
“No dear, what's the matter?” Gram asked as she stood up from the table.
Becca put the portable radio she was carrying on the table. Gram and Elijah looked at each other not sure what to make of it. Becca always had a radio on blaring songs from the one station they could pick up that played “anything worth listening to.” But this morning it wasn’t music that was playing. The voice from the speakers was that of a woman, sounding more like a reporter than an early morning DJ.
“.....We are getting reports from all around the globe this morning of people claiming to have seen visions in their sleep. Most of these reports are unconfirmed, but the wide spread nature of the reports is leading many to believe they are legitimate...”
Gram slowly got up from the table, her eyes never leaving the radio. As the person on the radio paused she quickly walked into the living room and turned on the television as Elijah and Becca followed. Grabbing the remote off of the coffee table she started clicking up through the channels, it seemed like every station was showing reports on the “phenomenon.” She finally settled on the local news channel.
“Shut up!” Becca uttered to the T.V. not believing what she was seeing and still dripping wet.
Elijah felt his heart start to pound in his ears. He fell into the couch as his knees got weak and started to give out. Gram rushed over and took his hand. This was the kind of thing he had dreamed of for as long as he could remember, but now as reality began to sink in all he felt like doing was throwing up.
“Are you O.K., dear?” Gram asked.
“This is more than I can take!” Elijah groaned from the couch. “I'm not sure I can handle this.”
“Well, lay on the couch for awhile. You better stay home from school today,” Gram advised.
Elijah sat up. He could see that Gram was concerned, but he didn’t feel that staying home was an option. “I don't think I should, I mean, I don't think that's what God wants. I feel like I need to start telling others right away.” He paused as his stomach continued to turn. “Oh man! I've never talked in front of a crowd before. Besides, if I can't even get Becca to believe me who else will?” He looked into his grandmother eyes, hoping for some guidance. “What should I do?”
Gram looked surprised at this question. “First of all, you can spread the Lord's word just as good as anybody else, and secondly, if the Lord called you he won't leave you hanging out there all by yourself. Many prophets in the Bible were worried about how they would share what God told them, but the Lord always provided a way.”
“Elijah, I'm sorry I didn't like believe you at first.” Becca sat down beside her brother and touched his shoulder. “It's just we've been around each other our whole lives. It's hard to believe anyone's received a vision from God, let alone someone you've seen snarf chocolate milkshake out their nose. And that wasn't all that long ago, either.”
This made Elijah smile.
“Your father won't be home until the weekend, but I think we should give him a call before you leave the house,” Gram said in her ‘that's an order not a request’ voice.
“It’s still too early where he is, Gram. I don't want to wake him,” replied Elijah unenthusiastically.
“Under the circumstances, I'm pretty sure he'll understand,” said Gram as she walked over to the phone and began to dial.
Tom Abbot had been away from home for the better part of a month. He had left his old job to become a consultant for a large “Head Hunter” company. This meant he would work away on a 12 to 18 month contract and come home on as many weekends as he could. He hated to be away from the kids so much, but they desperately needed the money that traveling provided. The medical bills and expenses that his late wife Rachel's illness created was more than he could afford on his old salary.
Elijah missed his father more than he ever let on. But he knew that his dad was doing what he had to do to keep the family afloat. He always looked forward to the weekends when his dad was home. Most of what Elijah knew about computers he learned from his father and Dad's weekends home were times for Elijah to show off new tricks or programs that he had picked up.
Fortunately, Gram was able to take the kids in and watch over them while Tom was away. She had always been there to help with the kids when their mother was in the hospital for her cancer treatments. Now she was trying to fill part of the void that was left behind when their mother passed away.
Hundreds of miles away, Tom slowly rolled over as the phone rang. He was used to getting calls in the middle of the night from the new data center. “Surely this could have waited 2 more hours. This had better involve an act of God to be important enough to call this early,” he thought to himself. “Yeah,” was all he could manage to mumble.
“Tom,” came the voice over the phone.
The familiar sound of the voice made him sit up with a jerk.
“Mom! Is that you? What’s wrong?” he snapped.
“Yes Tom, it’s me,” replied Gram, “Sorry to wake you so early, but Elijah needs to talk to you.”
“Why, what’s going on? Is he alright?”
“Yes! Yes! He’s fine! But you need to listen to him,” said Gram trying to sound as comforting as the situation allowed.
“Well, put him on, Mom.”
After a brief pause Elijah took the phone. How would his father react? Would he be like Becca? He feared his father would think he was nuts or worse a liar.
“Uh, hey Dad! Sorry to wake you up so early, but Gram said we should talk right away.”
“Well, don’t keep me hanging! What is going on back there?” Tom’s frustration was starting to show in his voice.
“Um, first maybe you should turn on the T.V.” Elijah thought this might be a good place to start. If his father could see he wasn’t the only one seeing visions, maybe he would sound more believable.
“Alright, if it will get me some answers, here you go.” The muffled sounds of the television rose in the background. “Any particular channel?” Tom questioned sounding aggravated.
“Any news channel should be good. I imagine they're all saying the same stuff.”
The sound of voices started coming through the phone. Elijah waited, giving his dad time to gather what was going on. After a long minute Tom spoke. “What's this? There’s a bunch of jokers claiming to have had visions? Is that what this is about?” Tom demanded. “You woke me up at the crack of dawn for a bunch of nuts seeing things in their sleep!”
“It's not like that, Dad! I’m not nuts,” Elijah blurted out. He knew Dad hated to be interrupted, but his words were too painful to let continue.
On the other side of the phone, Tom instantly wished he could take back his comment. He could hear the hurt in his son’s voice. Quickly, Tom thought about how he could point the call in a more positive direction. He looked around the small apartment he was renting. The sun was just coming up through the tall buildings of the city. Before he had a chance to come up with a plan, Elijah spoke.
“Gram had one too! And she’s not nuts, either.”
“I’m sorry, son! My mouth is up and running, but my brain is still in bed. Please, tell me what happened.” Tom said apologetically hoping to calm Elijah down.
Several minutes passed as Elijah recounted his vision to his father. Tom listened in disbelief. How would he respond to this? He was always good under pressure at work. Not only was he good at solving computer problems, but his years of managing had trained him how to handle people in almost any situation. Any situation, except one like this. This wasn't an employee, it was his son and this was no ordinary problem.
Dad already felt guilty enough about being away so much. His last promise to his wife was that he would take care of the kids. He was managing to keep the promise financially, but he knew he was sacrificing the emotional support they needed.
As his thoughts refocused on the phone Elijah spoke again, “Well, what do you think?”
“I don’t know yet, buddy. I’m going to have to let this sink in a little. The important thing now is for me to come home.”
“You don’t have to do that! Gram’s here to watch out for us,” said Elijah. He wanted his father home more than anything, but he didn't want to come off as sounding needy like a child.
“It’s O.K.,” asserted Tom as he started running through his plan of attack. He couldn't think straight about the situation yet, so he would rely on his project management skills until his parenting skills kicked in. “I’ll call the airline and get my next flight bumped up to today. My supervisor doesn’t get in til eight, so I’ll call and tell him I need a few days for a family emergency.”
“But Dad…” Elijah started to say before Tom broke in.
“Don’t argue! I promised your mother I would always be there for you and your sister. I want to be there for you buddy. Believe me that you and Becca are far more important to me than any contract,” Tom allowed a short pause and added. “Oh! And don’t call me a butt dad!” Tom and Elijah both laughed at his comment.
“Just lay low until I get there tonight. Now put your grandmother back on.”[Home] [Chapter 1] [Chapter 3]