Chapter Forty Three
A quiet and grim faced district pastor sat in front of Herb. Herb knew Rev. Cliff Knowlwood most of his adult life. Cliff’s been like an anchor for me, a friend of friends and a pastor to pastors. Now he looks grim…, tired too by the look of him. I wonder what it is this time?
Cliff waited in the dead silence wondering where to begin. “I’d rather come to you today with a busload of eager volunteers ready to help you out, but…”
Herb settled back in his old chair which groaned back with its usual squeak and shudder. He waved off the need for small talk. “Yeah, I know, this hit all of us too soon and with too much. Let me guess? Money and resources again?”
Cliff nodded and shook his head while looking back in an absent manner. Rather than looking at Herb, he turned to look past the door where a baby suddenly erupted in a crying fit. “Yeah, money and resources, of which I have none to share with you. I didn’t want to come here today empty handed.” He leaned toward Herb, suddenly earnest with his news. “Giving is down to the point where my chair is in question. Somehow we’ve lost the message, lost the ‘touch’ that used to be there. It’s as if God isn’t relevant to an irreverent people. Know what I mean?”
Herb didn’t blink. “Yes, I know exactly what you mean and up to yesterday I didn’t have anything to help you with either. But now? That’s all changed! Settle back in that ol’ chair and give this a listen. I can hardly believe it and I was here for, well, most of it.” Herb leaned forward in his old chair with another squeak of protest. “It’s God. Plain and simple. You’ve been here for some of our prayer sessions for revival. Remember those? You and I. Usually Elise and Ralph, and Ted of course, or some of his gang like Gordy or Rita. Well, it seems like God answered, big time…, and guess who don’t like that one bit?”
Cliff nodded back in understanding. “Ah yes, our adversary the devil, casting about, seeking whom he may devour. Hmmm, and all this puts you at the top of his list, huh?”
Herb grinned back. “First time I ever made the top ten of anything.” Then Herb turned serious. “It’s right in our face here. First with Ted and Rita facing down demons in Chris. Then not one but two terrorist attacks. I know who in the spiritual realm is behind those but not, you know, who he’s working through around here.
But even that isn’t the whole story. The true part that fills me in worship is seeing people rush to hear about Jesus. It’s the start of revival. I can feel it. Oh, and there’s this too. Comes with a story of its own.” Herb pulled out the crumpled envelope with the check. I still can’t believe this one.”
Cliff nodded. “Yeah, I heard about that but I wanted to hear it from you. I’ve talked to some of your people and they think revival is starting too. And something else, can’t quite put my finger on it.” He looked up at Herb and snapped his fingers. That’s it! The Spirit like never before! You’ve seen visions, survived direct demonic attacks, seen people turn to Christ in droves. That’s His Spirit!”
Herb acknowledged that Cliff was correct, then added. “How ‘bout this? An old man, dressed in a dirty old gray overcoat came up to me after the service. Said he’d been watchin’ us and, well here. It’s Reggie Thornton, you know, the banker from downtown and pretty much this whole part of the state and beyond. Owned most of the town, he did, and that’s all gone now, buried or washed away. So he gives this to me and wants to join with us, support us even, oh, and I should call him Reggie…, but that’s not it. He said something else that stuck in my mind. What good will it do me to die with millions and not let thousands hear about Christ! Ain’t that somethin’?”
Cliff didn’t know what to say. Wow, so much is happening here…, too much to absorb right away. Hmmm… “So now what? You have a basement and auditorium full of mothers with small children, and a building that’s more of a clinic, and Tent City. And they’re all hurting with loss, need practical help and a listening ear. I know what I’m going to do. As soon as I get back. I’m going to take a healthy dose of His Spirit and your enthusiasm and spread it around. We’ll see if we can shake loose some nurturing Christian workers to help disciple those who’ve turned to Christ. How ’bout Ted and his gang? Are they grounded ’nough in His Word to share?”
Herb brightened at the thought. “How ’bout that gang of his? What’s the chance of a rough bunch of bikers coming to this town and then this church, finding Christ and now leading the revival? That has to be of God ‘cause nothin’ else would make sense. Hmmm, I wonder…, I wonder what they’ll do now? The factory or other businesses where they worked are gone in the quake and they’ve shown a remarkable ability to stand up to whatever the devil’s thrown at them. They might be just the thing to continue to lead the revival…, as in paid workers, now that we have this.” Herb picked up the check again. “Maybe the timin’ of this check isn’t just a coincidence at all, just more of God movin’ way ahead of us, preparin’ the way…, just like the prophets of old.”
He looked over to see Cliff stand to look out the small chapel window. “The business side of me tells me this country is in for a rude shock. As tough as it is already with high fuel and food costs, when news of the river closing hits the market, this country will take a hit on the stock exchanges. Mark my word and get ready, for Mr. Chaos is comin’ to this town and every town across America, and it ain’t gonna be pretty!”