Every part of me trembled from a fear so overpowering that my teeth chattered aloud. All I could think about was Kyle’s death grip on my neck and how the next time, he would finish the task. I didn’t know what else to do so I climbed into the top bunk and curled up in a ball, resigning myself to the fate soon awaiting me in Cell 27 at County Jail #4.
My exhaustion and fears struggled with each other for a few minutes, before exhaustion won out. I fell into a deep sleep.
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his memoir, Stride Toward Freedom, about his receiving forty or more death threats per day during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. One particular phone call late at night pushed him over the edge. He walked into the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, and sat down in a chair at the kitchen table. He tried to think of a way to quit his leadership position without appearing to be a coward. Finally, he prayed and asked God to help him because he was too afraid to continue. The presence of the Lord cloaked King, assuring him that He would always be with him in the days ahead and forever. King never again doubted or feared for his life again.
What the Lord did for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the kitchen table, he did for me in that top bunk.
Was it a dream? Was it a vision? Or did I really ascend into the second heaven? I don’t know for sure, but you can judge it for yourself.
In my sleep, I heard my voice echoing the earlier prayer: “Lord, thanks for giving a seventy-three year old geezer, like me, a second chance to be a part of the action and not allowing me to retire from Your kingdom work. And Lord, use me even more in the days ahead.”
My words came out of an intense darkness without shadows. Yet, peace, love, and joy filled the same darkness. A spotlight then came on, shining on Reverend Morgan Churchill, the most godly man I had ever met and father of one of our closest friends, Faye Strawmeier. He was the founding pastor of Jedidiah Smith Community Church, which Jane and I attended for thirty years.
“Dylan, give me your hand,” said Reverend Churchill.
I sat up and offered my right hand to him. He grabbed it and we took off, up through the ceiling of Cell 27, through the roof of the Hall of Justice Building, and up into the heavenly realms. Even though I figured we were traveling at the speed of light, my eyes had no problem adjusting to the speed. I could focus on images as we zoomed past them.
We stopped thousands of miles above San Francisco.
“Today, you are going to begin learning about your enemy and how to battle him in the days ahead,” Reverend Churchill. “Pay close attention to what you see, okay?”
I nodded my head, but my mouth itched to blurt out questions.
Reverend Churchill had been an easy-going leader with an infectious sense of humor when he pastored. His blue eyes always looked ready to smile and enjoy a good time with people around him. But on this day, his manner mirrored the solemnity of the occasion, as did his dark suit, starched white shirt, and red-stripped tie. His chronic back problems seemed no longer an issue for him because he stood tall and erect before me.
“Look over there,” he pointed toward a radiant being sitting on what appeared to be a golden throne covered with jewels located in the realm next to us. “What do you see?”
“It looks like a god. I almost feel like worshipping it.”
“What you’re viewing with your eyes is the ruling principality over San Francisco −”
“But he’s beautiful!”
“The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, ‘For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.’ That is the spirit of depravity and how you’re seeing it right now is how most San Franciscans − believers and unbelievers alike − view this principality, as something good, and not evil.”
Reverend Churchill reached over with his right hand and covered my eyes. He then removed his hand.
“Now look again at the creature now that your spiritual eyes are opened up two levels.”
The being changed in one nano-second into a grotesque creature, much like a King Kong-sized gargoyle. His body parts appeared to be a surreal mixture of wolf, reptile, and goat parts with a stubby tail, talons for feet, scale-covered wings, paw-like hands, and misshapen goat-like face with two outlandish ram’s horns covering his wolf-shaped ears. His open mouth was filled with hideous teeth. There was nothing beautiful about him at all.
On closer inspection, the principlity’s throne was not made of gold, but rather out of worthless pyritic minerals or fool’s gold. The jewels decorating the throne were nothing more than worthless colored glass.
“In the days ahead, you will expose the spirit of depravity to the people of San Francsisco,” said Reverend Churchill.
“By revealing God’s goodness to the city because it is through His goodness that people’s eyes will be opened to repentance.”
Before I could say another word, he held up his hand in a stop sign manner.
“Your first teaching on spiritual warfare is over for today, but from now on, you will walk in His peace. Nothing will faze or upset you in the days ahead because His presence within your heart will be a roaring fire, burning all doubts and fears that may confront you.”
Seconds later, I returned to my bunk a changed man.
(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)
(Continued in Part 14…the full series to date can be read here.)