Chapter 4

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

Elijah was quiet on the ride home. It had warmed up enough outside to have the window down and he held his hand out the window to let the wind blow through this fingers. The sun had burned off the early morning fog and the sky was a brilliant blue. Becca, on the other hand, was not being quiet at all. She was rambling on about how the school didn’t have the right to make them leave.

They made a left onto Warm Springs Road - the long way home. He knew this meant he wasn’t getting out of the car without talking to his grandmother. Maybe he'd get lucky and Gram's old clunker would over heat again. Even then he'd still have to talk about it eventually so Elijah gave in early and began telling her everything that had happened.

“Well, when one door closes another one always opens.” Gram always seemed to have a saying to match any situation. “Try not to worry about it. Right now I just hope the front yard isn’t covered with reporters. By the time the school called me to come get you I was already answering the phone saying ‘Grand Central Station’. I was surprised they hadn’t reached the school yet.”

“That’s it!” Elijah exclaimed.

“What’s it?” Gram asked.

“The open door! I’ll talk to the press.”

By the time they arrived home Gram’s fears had come true. Several vans with television logos had arrived from the surrounding cities, as well as the local newspaper. Elijah’s heart began to race. This was the perfect opportunity. Now he could reach far more people than standing on a wall at school.

Gram barely had room to squeeze the car into the driveway. She could feel the stares of the reporters as they pulled past. It made her skin crawl. These people were here for a story, one that would boost their careers, not one that would help a young boy tell the world of a miracle.

Elijah was holding the door handle before the car had come to a stop. Several reporters were already at the car hoping to get in the first question. Gram reached over and touched his arm. “I’m not sure it’s a good idea to open up to them. They look like a bunch of hungry lions waiting for a lamb to pounce on.”

“It’ll be fine, gram! I can’t just sit around the house doing nothing. Besides, the angel said to tell anyone who would listen,” Elijah said, trying to sound as reassuring as possible.

Before Elijah was fully out of the car, there was a microphone in his face. At the other end of the microphone was a man in an expensive suit. He appeared almost angel-like. His bronze skin glowed in the sunlight. His hair was so perfectly set in mousse that the spring breeze didn’t stand a chance of disturbing it. He met Elijah with a wide polished smile. “Mr. Abbot…”

********

Elijah couldn't eat a bite at dinner. Gram had thrown together a few ham and cheese sandwiches knowing that everyone was far too excited to eat much of a meal. Time seemed to have slowed to a crawl as minutes passed like hours.

This was going to be great! He had recited the vision perfectly to the reporters this morning. He’d hoped they would have shown some of it on the twelve o’clock news, but instead they just kept showing still shots and saying that the big story at six would be word from the local boy prophet. Now it was almost six and thousands of people would be able to hear the message the Lord had given him.

It seemed six o'clock would never arrive. His grandmother had called around to friends and family to make sure they would tune in. She, too, had a chance to tell the reporters about her dream, but mostly she and Becca stood back and let Elijah do the talking. As six approached Elijah, Gram, and Becca all gathered to the living room, each heart trembling with enthusiasm.

“Tonight’s top story, local boy prophet speaks and channel 9 was there,” said an attractive anchorwoman sitting behind a tall desk with a picture of Elijah floating in the air beside her head. Seeing his picture made him shake even more. The screen then flashed to the bronze skinned reporter, who continued with the report.

“Over the last twenty four hours thousands of children from all over the world have come forward claiming to have had visions from God. This morning one local boy gave us his account of a vision in the night.”

The television then changed from the bronze skinned, perfect haired reporter to Elijah standing in the driveway in front of several outstretched arms. It was strange to see himself on T.V. He looked so unlike his own self-image, younger and smaller as he stood dwarfed by the reporter's microphones.

Elijah's heart was pounding so hard on the inside of his chest he thought it was trying to burst out. This was it! Now he would reach more people than he ever thought possible.

“Funny,” he thought to himself. Yesterday, he would never have been caught dead standing in front of a news camera. This morning he wasn't sure if he could even talk to his friend Ben, let alone the crowd at school. Now he was going to be heard by people all across the state, maybe farther.

The video clip that flashed on the screen had hardly started his recounting the vision when the camera switched back to the reporter who quickly moved on to ‘man on the street reactions’ of the prophet phenomena. The screen flipped past several people expressing belief or disbelief. Ms. Foster from down the street was standing on her front lawn trying her best to cover her smug look with an expression of concern. “With no mother to raise him and his father being away so much it's no wonder he would want a little attention.”

“The nerve,” Gram called out in shock as she scrambled to her feet. “She talks like you’re living on your own like a couple of orphans.”

Elijah felt his heart sink deep into the darkest depths of his stomach. How could they do this? The news was supposed to carry the message, not take shots at the messenger.

“To try to find out more about this young visionary, we went to his high school, but faculty was unable to comment,” the bronzed skin reporter continued. “One student I spoke with was willing to give me his opinion of his fellow student, turned prophet.”

The camera then flashed to Mark Roche, who was looking even more pompous than he had at school that morning. The microphone was close to his face, but he leaned forward slightly for dramatic effect, like he was about to reveal some deep dark secret. “I've known him since before we were in school and I think he's full of it.”

Elijah's anger shot up from the depths of his stomach like a fiery shell launched from a cannon. “That Jerk!” said Elijah furiously as he stood from the chair. Darkness surrounded his eyes tunneling his vision solely onto the one he felt was now his mortal enemy. “I’m going out there and telling them what I think of Roche and their terrible report.”

Before the news could go any further Gram turned off the television. “Elijah I know you’re upset, but you have to keep it down. There are still reporters outside and they are just waiting to see what kind of a reaction they are going to get from you. Now is not the time to go off half-cocked and say something you can't take back.”

Becca was now at Elijah's side. She put her hand on his shoulder trying to comfort him. “Don't worry little brother. Everyone at school knows Mark Roche is like a big, arrogant jock who thinks he’s God’s gift to girls and football.”

Elijah touched her hand. “Thanks, Becca. It's more than just Mark, though. Why? Why did today have to turn out like this? First I get sent home from school and now the news made me look like an attention hungry fool.” He slumped back down in the chair and buried his face in his hands trying to hide the tears that were filling his eyes. “Why would God give me a vision just to let me get crushed every time I tried to share it?”

“Well, that certainly wasn't the proverbial 'open door' we had hoped,” sighed Gram. “But now is not the time to be questioning the Lord's motives.”

“But why?” Elijah implored. “It's just not right! I should have never opened my mouth.”

“Now wait just a minute, young man!” Gram said firmly. “You had a vision, right?”

“Right,” replied Elijah timidly looking at the floor.

“And you know God gave it to you, right?”

“Right!” Elijah's spirit suddenly felt a jolt of strength as he realized where his grandmother was going with her questions.

“Well then, don't throw in the towel the first day. Everyone didn't jump up and start believing Jesus was the messiah the first time he stood in front of a crowd. Most didn’t even believe after seeing Him do miracles, like raising the dead.” Gram let this sink in a moment. “Maybe we rushed into talking with those reporters before we found out what God really wants us to do! I still believe there's an open door here somewhere. What was that passage?” wrinkles etched lines across her aging forehead as she strained to recall the words. “Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened to you! Before we go any further I think we need to step back and ask the Lord to show us the next door.”

Suddenly there was a loud banging at the front door. Becca let out a shriek, making Elijah and Gram jump twice as high as the noise alone would have made them. Once everyone regained their composure they cautiously made their way to the door. Gram reached for the doorknob, Elijah and Becca looking over her shoulders, and swung it open. In stepped Tom Abbot, suit cases under each arm and several reporters shouting questions from the steps behind him. He looked worn out as he gave a tired look across the faces of his mother and children. Dropping his bags to the floor and raising his arms questioningly in the air he exclaimed. “This is laying low?”

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