Sunday, March 16th
E.V. dialed the number of her earthly father. After a couple of rings, he answered. “Hello?”
“Daddy, could you invite Auntie Florrie and Uncle Eddie, and Jinx to our Sunday dinner? There’s something really important Gracie and I want to talk about.
“Sure honey. Is everything alright?”
“It is now, daddy. But we’ll talk about this later.”
“Okay, honey...I guess I can wait…” He hung up.
E.V. surprised all by volunteering an explanation to the situation before anyone could ask questions. Tears began pooling in her eyes, her chin quivering. She steeled herself, and pushed on with what she knew she must do. “First of all, I need to apologize to all of you for all I have put you through over the last few months. I’ve acted foolishly and not listend to the advice of my friends and family...” She looked at Jinx, then Gracie and smiled sadly. “I’m not going to lie to you” My pride and stubbornness kept me from seeing the truth.” She looked down, embarrassed. “...and I’m ashamed of it.” The tears began rolling down her face again. Almost everyone in the room was glassy eyed. Sue dabbed at her eyes, joined by Evie, Florrie and Jinx.
“If I didn’t understand what I do now, I would feel totally hopeless, but I began to understand last night that the Lord is always there and loves me, but I’ve always turned my back on Him.” She couldn’t think of anything else to say, and for a moment, there was an awkward silence. She looked at her father. “Daddy, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly. Would you mind praying for me?”
The Holy Spirit come upon Frank, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit started speaking through him. “Evie, child of mine by God’s providence, we have loved you since you joined our family. We all have prayed for you in your journey here on this Earth, and the Lord has shown Himself faithful, and opened your eyes to the truth. We rejoice in your salvation, and welcome you to the family of God.”
“Thank you, daddy.”
Frank turned to his oldest child and said, “Gracie…child of God and daughter of mine: your heart is wounded, and you are very angry; you must give all your hurt and anger to him.”
Tears now rolled down Gracie’s face, in earnest. Frank was talking, but she recognized the authority behind his words.
Frank now looked at her. “Gracie, do you know what you’d like to do?”
Gracie was crying now, but managed, in between sobs to say what she knew she must. “Yes. Very much so.” She knew that what Holy Spirit was saying through Frank was true, and suddenly the misery she had gone through with Peter made perfect sense. She could sense the veil lifting further from her dark, sad mind, and she knew she must be willing to give up her current course.
“Do you want us to lead you in a prayer to the Father, or do you feel comfortable praying yourself?”
“I’ll pray, daddy.” Gracie now understood that she really needed to pray, and trust God for all things, including her relationship with Peter. Further, she needed to give all the hurt and anger in her heart to Him. The prospect of that, in a tender, yet bittersweet way was very appealing to her now. “Thank you for your prayers for me, and for Evie.” She looked around at all her family and friends. “Would you agree with me in prayer?”
All gathered around her and E.V., and silently waited while she began the first earnest conversation she had had with the Father in what seemed like an eternity. “Oh Father...please forgive me for not trusting you for my happiness. I know very clearly now that the anger in my heart has broken me. Lord Jesus -- please forgive me and cleanse my foolish, prideful heart. Lead me and guide me through this life.” Her tears flowed freely now as she looked towards Heaven. “I love you, Father.” Her eyes, filled with tears, turned to her sister. She hugged her tightly, and continued. “And Lord, please have your love work mightily through Evie. Guide her and lead her through this life, and let her know her strength is in you, and not in herself.”
E.V. just hugged her.
VD, her partner Poisonous and several other demons that had been hounding Evie so gleefully, felt the effects of the Holy Spirit as if a bomb had gone off. They were cast so far away from Evie and the Chen household; they barely had time to collect their wits.
“I just hate it when we lose them. But there are other fish in the sea.” She gave Evie and Gracie the ‘three-snap’ of dismissal. “I am so through with you two.”
She and the others reported to Politically Correct to await orders for another soul to harass, but most of the demons were licking their wounds. This was not just another soul that had escaped her clutches: this was a former angel, who had fallen from grace, like her. Yet, love had now redeemed the angel. This gave her pause. “Goodness...could the same happen to me?” She smiled a hopeful smile for a brief moment, but quickly put the notion out of her mind, and went on about her business. She hid her head from everyone’s view because a tear had formed in her eye. She didn’t try to stop it. She even let the hope she felt deep down inside — away from the prying eyes of the other demons — dare to grow.
A knock sounded on the door. “I’ll get it,” said E.V, walking to the front door. “Peter!”
“Look, Evie,” he said quietly. “Don’t make a commotion. I just want to talk to Gracie. Could you please tell her? Ask her to come outside when she gets a chance.”
E.V. smiled warmly. “I’m glad you came, Peter. I’ll be praying that you two will work it out.”
“Hold on. Let me go get her.” E.V. walked back inside, and tapped on Gracie’s shoulder. Turning to her sister, who had quieted down some, she gently admonished, “Gracie. I think someone needs a hug from you.”
Gracie looked at her quizzically. “Who on earth...” She slowly began to understand. “I’m not sure I want to talk to him.”
“You owe it to him to at least listen to what he has to say.”
Gracie said nothing for a few moments, and then slowly turned and walked towards the front door.
“What is it you want, Peter?” She crossed her arms in front of her chest, keeping her churning emotions at bay. Her face was expressionless.
“Gracie, I know we’ve fought and said some mean things to each other, but...well, I really want you to give us another try.”
She blew out an exasperated breath. “I’m afraid that we’ll just fight a lot. I realize I have a temper, and it gets out of control. I don’t want to hurt you any more Peter. I’d make both of us miserable.” She took a deep breath, and swallowed hard. “I love you too much to want to hurt you any more.”
“I think I’ll take a chance on being miserable. It sure beats being without you, and, well; I still love you too, Gracie. Just can’t help it. You’re worth the effort.”
Tears rolled down her face. “Are you sure, Peter?”
“Yes. More sure than I’ve ever been.”
She managed a tired, but happy smile. “Oh, Peter...I love you.” She walked to him and held him tightly, kissing him for all she was worth.
For the first time in a long time, E.V. realized that she had a big family: both on earth, and in New Jerusalem. She beamed with pride that Michael considered Gracie his sister as well, but mostly she was very overjoyed to have her big brother back. Of course, having her Father hold her was something she would always cherish. As she contemplated these things, a familiar light floated into the living room, and Michael landed on the carpet. Michael turned his eyes towards her. “How’re you doing, sis?”
She felt tears starting to come again, tears of joy this time. “Michael, I need to tell you something I think we took for granted in Heaven. I love you, Michael, with all my heart. Now I’m sure of it because my heart is a very real thing that I don’t take for granted any more. You are the best big brother a girl could ever have; more than you will ever know.”
She turned towards her older sister. “And you, Ms. Grace Susan Chen.”
Gracie’ eyes turned towards her, red from the tears and, not saying a word, managed a weak smile. Peter stood next to her.
“I love you too, sweetie; even if you and I butt heads sometimes.” She couldn’t help but grin.
Sunday, March 16th
Back in the Operations room, Michael prepared for a debriefing. Cydnie walked in, tears in her eyes.
Michael greeted his fellow operative and friend. “Hi Cyd.”
“Hi, Michael. I...” She looked away, embarrassed. “I’m sorry…I’ve never cried like this before.”
Michael smiled. “Don’t be ashamed. There is nothing wrong with realizing you care. In fact, I am quite proud of you. You were a real help and steady warrior on Evie and Gracie’s behalf. I couldn’t have accomplished my mission without you.”
“I’m honored to have helped,” she choked.
I’m just letting you know, I think of you as a friend and a younger sister. I don’t even think Faroh or Vick will mind.” He winked.
Cydnie blushed, and wiped the tears from her eyes, trying to regain her composure. “I’m your friend...and sister? Really?”
His smile broadened. “Yes. You don’t mind do you?”
Cydnie blushed harder. “No, no; of course not.” She said nothing for a few moments, but regained her composure and playfully smiled at him. “You won’t be jealous if I talk to other guys, will you?”
His head shook and his eyes rolled. “No Cyd…I won’t mind.”
Michael looked over the Evie report.
“This is quite a story,” said Faroh.
Cydnie entered the room and joined them.
“Can you hang out for while Cyd? I have an item of business to take care of.”
“Sure, Michael; what’s up?”
Michael looked at Faroh and Vick. “Hey, I need you guys around as well. Can you guys hang out for a while?”
“Sure,” they both said in turn.
“Good, because I have a certain CIA agent who needs to have his eyes opened. Hold on a second while I go get him. I’ll be right back.”
Andy Farooqi relaxed on his couch, watching the Sunday ‘March Madness’ basketball championship games. A beer occupied one hand, his remote control took up his other hand and some chips and fruit sat on his coffee table. A bright light came towards his window and caught his eye, taking his focus away from his television. It was not the sunlight coming in; it was even brighter. As the light got closer, he noticed what looked like a tall, robed creature coming towards his window.
A second later, a very tall male figure in a bright white robe, looking all lit up, started talking to him. “Agent Farooqi. I need a few minutes of your time. You need to come with me.”
“But who are you?” Andy still didn’t believe his eyes.
“I am Michael the Archangel,” the creature said, “although you have always seen me as Agent Michael Angelo. You should by now have figured out that my code name really described what and who I really am. ‘Angelo’ means ‘angel.’ You’ve been after me for all the wrong reasons, and I need to enlighten you to a few facts you haven’t considered before. Come with me.”
Andy didn’t understand why this creature, which he’d never seen before, would beckon him to follow. “But where are we going?” He never got his answer; before he knew it, the creature that called himself Michael led him away from his apartment through the window, into the air, and into a strange place where all the beings glowed like this Michael who had brought him here. When they arrived, Andy marveled at the sites around him. Bright and beautiful buildings, golden streets and creatures like Michael floating through the air. In the distance, on what looked like a mountain, a very bright glow emanated which filled the entire city. Many beings that looked human, but had a different kind of energy about them, walked by. A very shiny river flowed from the glowing mountain, smooth as glass, the likes of which he had never even imagined to exist. He saw the walls of the Heavenly City on all four horizons.
In contrast, he noticed that his clothes now looked old, worn, and ragged, and had a rancid odor to them. Shame covered his face. All around him, he felt a great sense of peace, calm, and absolute holiness. By contrast, his heart felt heavy within him; all the things he had done in his life produced a profound sense of guilt.
“Where am I?” he asked.
“You are in what is called Heaven, or as we call it, ‘New Jerusalem.’ You see, Andy, this is the truth of what goes on in the part of reality that you never see, and have never thought about much.”
Andy noticed there were three other winged beings there also. Faroh, Cydnie, and Vick introduced themselves respectively. “But why am I here?” The reality of these strange events sank in.
“You see, Andy,” said Michael, “you and I had a conversation at Christ Community Church back in Washington, D.C. You said ‘…religion has no practical place in my life.’ Well, here is the absolute reality. The God who created you abides here in the Throne room in the center of New Jerusalem. I would let you talk to Him, but your corrupt heart would necessitate your dying – instantly. Did you want to go talk to Him now?”
Andy cringed at the thought of some god on a throne putting him to death. “Um, I don’t think that would be a wise choice.”
“You’re right. The reality is, you need to make it right with Him. You see all the people here?” Michael swept his hand towards all the Believers in the Lamb who occupied the Holy City. “They made it right with Him. Do you see Mohamed here or men with their concubines and treasures here for their dying valiantly for the holy war?”
Andy’s heart sank. He couldn’t deny what his eyes saw; all that his religion had taught him had nothing to do with this place. “But how can someone like me who was brought up a Muslim ever ‘make it right’ with God?”
“Very simple: there is one who sits at God’s right hand, called Yeshua, the Lamb of God, whom you Muslims call, Yasū. He paid the price for all who desire to be reconciled with God. You just need to acknowledge that The Lamb paid the price, and you need to let Him be your Lord and Master.”
Andy pondered this for a while. He sighed loudly. He looked again at all the people with peaceful countenances. He couldn’t deny the reality of what he was seeing around him, and it was nothing like what he had read in his Quran. Further, the longer he stood in the midst of all the perfection and peace, the more ashamed he felt. “But how do I ask this ‘Lamb’ those things?”
“Would you be amenable to having us help you?”
“Sure, if it wouldn’t be a bother.”
“Oh, honey,” said Cydnie, “It would be a pleasure, trust us.”
“Are you in a position of authority?” he asked.
Cydnie smirked. “Yes I am; and no, I’m not a member of someone’s harem. Things don’t work that way here.”
Michael said, “That’s Cydnie, my 8th-level officer. She commands many squadrons of angels on their missions. But to the business at hand.” They all came to Andy, and put their hands on him. Michael said, “Just repeat after me.” He and Andy prayed the sinner’s prayer, and the life and power of Ruach Ha-Kodesh filled Andy at that very moment. Immediately, his guilt and shame were replaced with an even deeper sense of peace and joy. His garment was a white robe like all the others wore. Tears poured out of his eyes for the immense joy and forgiveness he felt.
Soon after, One who looked like an ultimate Authority approached him. “I am the One they call The Lamb,” He said. “Welcome to the family and Kingdom of God. As you can see, many others here have decided they wanted to be counted as part of my Heavenly family. Your sins are now forgotten to me, never again to be counted against you.”
Although this being appeared formidable, Andy sensed a warmth and a love he had never known while he was in His presence. “Th-thank you sir,” he stammered out. “Thank you very much.”
“Fear not, my son,” The Lamb said. “He whom the Lamb has freed is free indeed. From now on, no matter your circumstance, you will know the joy of your salvation.”
Andy smiled hesitantly. He felt light and carefree – as if someone had just lifted a great weight off his shoulders. All his previous notions of life and the afterlife disappeared. He looked around at all the saints, and the One called The Lamb, and Michael and the other bright beings, and shed more tears from sheer joy. “I’m really glad this is to be my future. It promises to be a bright one.”
After Michael had dropped him off back in his apartment, he said, “Be sure to read The Book, which is more commonly called The Bible. It is a guide written to you sons of men to give you God’s truths.”
Andy realized he didn’t have a Bible. He decided to go out and purchase one, right away. “I will,” he answered. “I want to understand more of God, The Lamb, and you angels. But most of all, I want to understand the hope I now have.”
Michael smiled. “See you later, Andy.”
“Good bye, Agent Angelo.” He grinned.