Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Storm a' Comin'" by Susan Estes

“There he is again, Horse.”

I pulled my hat down, ducking my head, hoping he’d not notice me. My hope died as my enemy stepped off the boardwalk, heading my way.

I was leading the black horse down
Main Street
in a little cow town way out and gone from anywhere except the center of grass country. A gully of water ran around the west end of town, making a sharp bend just after traveling beneath the bridge designating the beginning of
Main Street
. I’d just walked over it in a torrential downpour. The dry country needed rain and praise the Lord for it, but I was cold, miserable, and wet. Now the Accuser was after me.

Of course, why shouldn’t he be? I was weak and vulnerable, just right for a thrashing. Knowing I wasn’t strong enough on my own, I mentally dressed in the armor of God. I certainly needed it.

“Hey, you, Preacher!” He slogged across the quagmire of the street.

I didn’t stop. I wanted a hot bath and a warm bed, some strong coffee and a well-done steak.

He grabbed my arm. “Hey. I’m talking to you.”

“So I noticed.” Meeting his eye, I said, “Take your hand off me.”  

 He did, but said, “I’m speaking in the church. You have no place here.”

I replied, “I have a mission here. You know God wants a word with these people. Jesus will see I’ll say my piece whether you like it or not. And I don’t need to speak in the church if that’s your particular.”

“You leave town now, or you never will.”

“So you say.” He gave me chills. It wasn’t easy talking to him like that, I can tell you. I wanted to run and hide, but I stood on the foundation of Jesus and it was rock solid. “It’s cold. I’m not gonna stand around and jaw with you. Go away. Better yet, you leave town. Jesus and me have some business here.”

His look was ice cold before he walked away.

“Horse, that is a spook from the old water.” The black stomped his foot and shook, spraying water. I couldn’t get any wetter.

That night, the creek overflowed and flooded the town. Most of the people came to the two-story hotel as the water inundated their houses. I helped serve hot coffee and hand out blankets.

While wrapping an old man in my own coat, I received a warm, “God bless you, young man.”

“Thanks, Pop,” I said. “He does.”

Just as I said it, I felt the enemy nearby. I looked up to meet his gaze across the lobby. “So, this is our battleground. Take command, Lord Jesus, my General, and lead me.”

Evil came across to me and said, “You should have left town. These are my people.”

I looked at the old man hunched in the chair. “You may have a few, but not all.”

“I have the important ones.”

“Wrong again. The important ones are those who belong to Christ. And the ones you have may be lost for now, but they can be won for Christ too.” Reaching into my vest, I took out my weapon.

There was stirring from the man beside me. “Young man?”

“Yes, Old Timer?”

“Is that a Bible?” When I nodded, he smiled. “Does that mean you’re speaking at service tomorrow?”

“No it doesn’t,” the enemy said. “The church is flooded. No one will be there.”

“Jesus doesn’t dwell in buildings made with hands,” I said. “He can be preached right here.”

The enemy took a step toward me. “I’ll have you thrown into the street.”

“Try it.”

He did. Raising his voice, he cried, “Manager, this man is disturbing people.”

A thin man came hurrying over and almost bowed to the evil. “Yes, what is it?”

The Accuser pointed at me. “He’s roughing up people, scaring them. Toss him out!”

I received a long, thin look from the long thin man. I was about to speak when the old man rose from his chair. “Derry,” he said to the hotelier, “go back to your desk and leave this young man be. He’s a preacher and I want to hear him. Get everyone to sit down and pay attention for a few minutes.”

The elderly man’s word’s transformed the Manager from affronted entrepreneur to a smiling, lanky kid. “Sure, Pa.”

I smothered a laugh, hearing a sharp intake of breath behind me.

Smiling, Derry said, “Come on. You can use the stool behind the counter.”

Seated, I opened my Bible as Derry rapped the countertop, getting everyone’s attention. Beyond the faces looking at me, I noticed the enemy going out the door. A few others followed, as always, yet I had at least fifty there as I began to read from Galatians.

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