Nineteen years later
In the midst of my reverie, a slight rustle stirred behind me. Someone stood in front of my paper covered desk. I shrugged my shoulders, but did not turn around.
“Sorry, but I’m tied up right now. You’ll have to talk with my secretary, Connie. She should be at her desk just outside my office,” I said, pointing with my left hand to the door, not looking over my shoulder.
I resumed typing, even though no sounds of movement occurred behind me.
Three minutes passed with an awkward silence echoing off the walls of the office. I finally threw my hands up in disgust, pivoted around in my chair, and said, “Okay, what do you – ”
The rest of my sentence withered away into nothingness.
There, in front of the walnut desk, stood an enormous angel with black shiny hair. A loose white robe covered him from his elbows to knees, but it did little to hide his muscular build which reminded me of a celestial Andre the giant. But unlike Andre, a holy presence radiated from the heavenly visitor. Although the angel’s face appeared peaceful, a combat readiness radiated from him.
Still, the angel did not speak.
I felt flustered and wondered about the proper etiquette for greeting a heavenly emissary.
“What do you want?” I eventually spit out.
“I have a message for you from the Lord,” said the angel in a crisp staccato cadence without any discernible accent.
“What… what is it?”
The angel’s emerald eyes stared into mine.
“The Lord says that you need to resign from the American church beauty pageant. The pretentious church system you have so enthusiastically flaunted is only beautiful to men, and not to the Lord Jesus. He loves another church which is considered ugly to most men,” said the angel. Then he paused a beat before adding, “What response should I give to the Lord?”
If the ceiling had collapsed upon me, I would have ignored it. The angel’s words rendered me speechless with their authority and power. Like most Christians, I had followed the traditional path for believers with a preacher’s calling on their lives. I attended a respected Bible school, was ordained, started a church, and now was the senior pastor of it. I seemed successful, anointed, and was engaged to a godly woman. And now this?
“Pl-please wait a moment,” I whispered. “Would it be okay to ask some questions?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“Why would the Lord ask me to make such drastic changes now, in the midst of my most productive years?”
“Because there is still time to deprogram you and prepare you for the future.”
The angel’s blazing eyes forced me to look away. My hand automatically moved to my cap, adjusting its position. Why me? I thought. Why not someone else?
But even in the midst of my discomfort, I somehow remembered several Christian pioneers who suffered similar heart wrenching setbacks. The early church referred to those experiences as limps, much like the limp Jacob incurred after wrestling with God at Peniel.
“What does the Lord want me to do?” I asked without looking at the angel.
“Resign your pastor’s position from the church, move to Los Angeles, and become a car salesman.”
I gasped, but no words came out of my mouth.
The heavenly visitor paid no attention to my anguish and seemed totally detached from the whole scene.
“What answer shall I give the Lord?”
(The above is the second part of Chapter 2 for a new novel I’m writing, The Day LA Died, © Larry Nevenhoven, 2012.)
(Continued in Part 6)