Ted felt his pulse pound in his temples as he grasped for a quick breath. Oh no, I can’t be sick here, not in front of these people. Ted managed to steal a look around the quiet chapel. Evidently no one else felt the bare wood floor shake, or heard the sound of breaking glass out in the church sanctuary. How can this be?
“Help! I can’t take this. Can’t you see it?”
When Ted looked up again, he could breathe normally and his hands stopped their mad race. Yes. That’s the other thing. The shakin’. So uncontrollable.
A chorus of, “Ted, are you all right,” fell on his ears, distant at first, then loud and in his face. He looked up to see Pastor Herb leaning over him, shaking him hard. “Ted. Wake up!”
The light female voice of Elise Sorenson wavered toward him in alarm. “Look how he’s shaking so.”
The deep male voice of Ralph, her husband, seemed to rock back and forth in his head, starting the pounding all over again. “Look. He’s comin’ ’round.”
Strong arms seized Ted and heaved him up onto the sofa chair.
Ted looked up to see bright lights and faces spin around at first but then slow to focus on Pastor Herb’s concerned features.
Ted gasped out the words as if his life depended on the answer. “Didn’t any of you hear glass break or feel the floor shake?”
Elise jumped up in answer and ran toward the auditorium. “Oh my.” Her petite footsteps echoed on the hardwood floor, stopped, then hurried back. Her puzzled look answered his question. “I don’t see any broken windows or glass on the floor and I didn’t feel the floor shake. Did any of you?”
Puzzled looks passed from one to another as they turned to Ted in question.
Pastor herb broke the silence. “I believe Ted either experienced a vision or is having some kind of fever.”
Herb’s wife, Diane, forever the nurse, reached over and felt his forehead and pulse. Her voice deepened into her mothers’ tone which brooked no nonsense. “You do feel flushed and have a rapid pulse. “Ted. What’s going on here?” In a moment she looked at Pastor Herb. “Adrianna.”
Pastor Herb jumped up from his thought. “Yes. That’s it, the name I’m trying to remember. Thanks Diane. Listen everyone. Ted had a vision of some kind. It’s the same shakes. The same disorientation we learned from Adrianna. She was a… How would I say this?”
Diane broke in, shaking with the feeling of the memory. “She tore into our lives years ago during our short term mission trip to Haiti with her intense visions and…, she was right on, every time. You know how we’ve been praying for revival, both for Ravenna and, well, the entire country. A vision could mean God is about to answer. Only Ted knows.”
Ted coughed again as he shook his head. “No, no. You don’t understand. This is the third one. The others gave me such a sense of Calm Assurance, but this one, wow, I mean, well, I don’t know if you’ll believe me.”
Diane bent over to look right into Teds eyes, trying to gauge the depth of his feeling. “Ted. Whatever you saw is of God. Just like our friend Adrianna. She experienced visions that shook her but also gave her inner Peace. She too had difficulty explaining what she saw or felt. Then…”
“Yeah. That’s the scary part.” Herb stood over by the small chapel window looking west over the bluff toward Ravenna. “Adrianna had her visions. Then Haiti was devastated by a savage earthquake. That was in the seventies. I’m afraid that’s what this may mean too.”
Ted stopped shaking and silenced the group by raising his hands in an outward motion. “No. That’s it only in part. Well, here it is.” He gulped and cast a quick glance around the circle of friends. “I saw an angel. Not some storybook angel, but a real live angel. At first I was so afraid I fell down flat on the ground but he helped me up. When he touched me… It was if a glow of healing washed over me and I could stand up and then… I received a new sense of understanding. I could see and understand things at a different level. I really don’t know how to explain that. More colors of richer hues than you could ever imagine and a fragrance that I’ll never forget.
He took me to a beach along a coastline, somewhere on the east coast I think. We stood there for a moment with the water lapping at our feet, then all of a sudden the water rose until it covered up to my back and flooded far inland behind me. Then I was right back here and the floor shook so hard I couldn’t stand. Glass shattered. That window broke through, all over the chapel, and then nothing. Next thing I knew you were shaking me and well? You know the rest.”
Elise squealed in her impossible high tone. She shook as she covered her face with both hands. “My mom! She said that too! That’s why her an’ dad carried on with such a passion to build the warehouse, the multi-purpose building, you know. All of it! That’s why…” She gripped the edge of the worn desk for support. “That’s why they had such a determination to build a means of provision. Kind of like the Noah thing, ya know? They put their entire life’s savings and sold their businesses… All of it for this one goal… That we might survive to tell the world about Jesus…”
Pastor Herb straightened up away from Ted until he felt a vice grip on his wrist.
Ted looked up with a stare that stopped the group. “There’s more…”
The others turned at his two words.
Ted grimaced at their return stare. “I… I saw the face of darkness. Something beyond ugly, so beyond description, trying to subvert this country for a vile purpose…”
Ted waited as words formed. There’s more… So much more. A time of evil rising out of the Middle East. An ancient power. Can’t think of words to describe that either. Just so… An’ it’s out to get us, not by accident but in cold calculated extermination!”
What does it mean?”