A man prays to God and finds his prayer is answered, though not how he had expected.
A Small Warning/IntroductionWhile the verses quoted in this story are actual quotes from the Bible, the actual theories and reasoning may not be the generally accepted doctrines of any given denomination of Christianity. While I myself am Christian, much of the logical reasoning and examples are my own thoughts. I like to think that I'm at least close in my beliefs, but I also believe that while doctrine is important, it is not what makes a Christian a Christian. Therefore I have no fear in putting these thoughts to paper in a fictional story and making it clear that they are an individuals beliefs. If any readers have questions or want to say something about this story, send me an e-mail or review. I'll respond.
The Gift of SightJohn sat by the hospital bed and held his head in his hands. His mother slept comfortably under the plane hospital linens. He looked up as the door opened and his father walked into the room. The man paused to look at his sleeping wife, and then crossed to where John sat.
“You should go eat something,” John’s father whispered.
“I’m not hungry,” responded John.
“You need to get out of this room. At least take a walk. It won’t help anything if you make yourself sick too.”
John looked up at his father and asked, “How can you be so calm? We know that mom has a fatal cancer. Nobody has ever survived this cancer. It will surely kill her, that is if this treatment doesn’t do it first.”
“God is good. His will be done. If she is to be called home, then I will follow when my time comes.” John sat still for a moment, then stood and slowly left. As the door closed behind him he heard his father say, “God, help him. He doesn’t understand.” John made his way to the hospital cafeteria. It was empty except for the people who worked there. John got some food, paid, and found a seat in a far corner of the room. John ignored his meal and instead pulled out his Bible to try once again to see how this situation could be understood or accepted. John flipped through many verses, but still could not make sense of why this had happened. He closed his Bible and pressed it to his forehead.
“God, I don’t understand. I know you have a plan, but I don’t see how I can be thankful for this.” John sighed. “A man once asked you for eyes to see and ears to hear. I pray for that now Lord. Please, give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I may understand, and live my life for you.”
‘So it shall be,’ came a loving voice. John looked around the room for the one who had spoken, but nobody was there. Even the cafeteria workers were gone. As John looked, the room slowly went dark. ‘John. You have asked of me with faith for a gift,’ came the voice again. This time, an overwhelming presence enveloped John as the voice spoke. It wasn’t oppressive. It was an incomprehensible love that pressed down on John. ‘I have darkened your eyes so that you may be in my presence without penalty. You said you couldn’t be thankful for this. I have never asked you to be thankful for it. I told you to be thankful in it.’ John would have collapsed had he not been supported by his chair. ‘You can trust my plan. You have asked for eyes to see and ears to hear. I see the faith you have, and will grant your desire. Use this gift wisely. It is precious, as are you and all mankind.’ At this point John lost consciousness.
When John awoke, it was slowly. He was leaning forward on the table, with his head next to his untouched meal. John blinked as the room came into focus, and then sat up. He closed his eyes and shook his head.
“What was that? I must really be tired. I fell asleep at the table. I’ve also never had a dream like that,” John said to himself.
“It wasn’t a dream,” said a cheerful voice from John’s shoulder. John turned to look and fell out of his chair. The creature that had been perched on his shoulder jumped and landed carefully on the table. John stood and stared. Standing on the table was a small white lizard of some kind. It looked very much like the drawings of dragons he had seen, but without scales, and could fit in the palm of his hand.
“What are you?” stammered John.
“Me?” responded the creature. “I am the Holy Spirit. Well, sort of.”
“The Holy spirit is a miniature dragon?”
“No. The Holy Spirit has no true form. It is everywhere. But you can’t see it without a form, so this is the form that is shown to you. It makes it easier for you to understand.”
“What is happening to me?” John whispered.
“You have been granted ‘eyes to see and ears to hear,’” answered the creature. “Surely you remember. I wouldn’t think somebody with the faith to receive a gift from God would forget being in his presence so quickly.”
“I didn’t forget,” snapped John. “I just didn’t think it was real. That sort of thing happened in the old testament, not now.”
“You don’t think God talks to people now? I assure you he does. God has his plan, and you and everybody on this planet are part of it.”
“This is so weird.” John sat back down in his chair. “I’m talking to a lizard about God.”
“Not a lizard!”
“Fine then, what should I call you. I can’t just call you Holy Spirit all the time.”
“Why not? Oh well, I suppose a name would be best. Let’s go with Terath.”
“Terath? Does that mean something?”
“Not as far as I know. Just jumped into my head I guess; or maybe your head. After all, I am the embodiment of the Holy Spirit as it pertains to you. I am highly connected with you and your heart.”
“Wait, so there are others?”
Terath sighed, “Yes. I guess a short explanation of this new sight is in order. The Holy Spirit, in truth, is not separately connected to each person. It is one existence that is everywhere at all times and is connected to all people. This is not something that can be visualized, so exceptions from the exact truth have been made so that you can have some semblance of understanding. First off, you can see me. You will be able to see everybody’s connection with the Holy Spirit. You will also be able to hear them. So far as I know you are the only person who can see the Holy Spirit. I will explain some more as we go along. Some of it will just be easier with an example. One thing I will tell you, is that by focusing your sight you have differing, uhh, I guess ‘intensities’ of sight and hearing. Currently you are in the least intense level. In this state you will only see and hear me. The next level will allow you to see, but not hear, the Holy Spirit that is connected to everyone. If you pick one and focus on it you will move into the most intense state, where you can see the state of the connection between the person and the Holy Spirit. In this state you will also be able to hear the Holy Spirit you are focused on as well.”
John stared at Terath, “You’re going to have to go over that again.”
“Well, as I said it is easier to understand with an experience to go along with it. Let’s try it. There are other people here now. Just look around the room and try to see the Holy Spirit.” John looked up and noticed that there were several other people around now. He looked around the room, trying to see the Holy Spirit that was surely there. For several seconds nothing happened, but then several “Teraths” faded into the room. They slowly gained substance and eventually looked completely solid. John did a quick count and noted that there were an equal number of Teraths to people in the room.
“I see them,” said John.
“I know you can. My sight is linked with yours. I can see them when you can see them. Pick one of them and focus only on that one. We’ll call them spirits for the sake of ease.” John picked a spirit and random and focused on it. The rest of the room dimmed a little except for a small area around one person. “That person that didn’t dim is connected to the spirit you focused on. This is the last state. If you were close enough you could hear the spirit talking to the person. In this case we can also conclude that the person is not Christian.”
“How do we know that?”
“Part of this level of sight is seeing the connection between the spirit and the person. We can’t see a direct connection between the two, so the person is not a Christian. I’ll explain more when we come across an example of a person who is a Christian.” John looked back to Terath and the room brightened again.
“So nobody can see or hear you?”
“That is correct. Only you can see or hear the Holy Spirit. Well, there may be others, but if they do see it they won’t see it the way you do. You really should eat you know. You must take care of yourself, because your body is God’s temple.”
“What are you, my conscience?”
“Yes, in a way.” John stared at Terath for a moment, and then began eating. John finished quickly.
“Do you need to eat?”
“No. I am not really here. I have no weight, no substance. I sat on your shoulder for quite some time without you realizing I was there.”
“Ok. Just so I know, are you a boy or girl?”
“I am neither male nor female. The Holy Spirit does not have gender.”
“Can I tell people about your?”
“You can say whatever you like. You have free will. Just be careful who you talk to about me. Not many people are believing of miracles in this era.”
“That’s ok. I just wanted to tell my father. I think my life is going to be very different. Now I have this and my mother to worry about.”
“And he said to his Disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?’ Luke 12:22 through 26. Do not worry about things. God will handle it.”
“How? Why does this have to happen?”
“I don’t know that. I may be the Holy Spirit, and thus God, but I am not God. I am the Holy Spirit. My function as God is to be close to you at all times and to understand your heart. I do not know God’s plan, only that he has one.”
John watched Terath for a moment, then said, “I’m going back. I need to talk with my dad.” Terath jumped and spread his wings. He flew and gently landed on John’s right shoulder. He settled there comfortably and stayed quiet. John looked at him, then left the cafeteria and headed back to his mother’s room. His father was sitting in the seat John had occupied when he left. There was second seat next to the first. John crossed the room and sat next to his father. For a moment he just watched his mother sleep.
John’s father said, “You seem better.”
“I am better, sort of.” John stopped talking for moment. “I prayed while I was gone. I asked God for eyes to see and ears to hear.” John stopped talking.
“And did you get them?”
John waited a moment then answered, “I did, literally. God spoke to me. I was physically in his presence for a short period of time. He told me a couple of things. The first was that I didn’t have to be thankful for this, just in it. If I hand this situation over to God he will make something good come from it. I don’t understand or like it just like that. It’s still wrong that mom has to suffer this, but I can accept that God has a plan for this and that it will turn out for good.” John stopped again and waited.
“I’m glad. God has answered my prayer as well then. You said a couple of things. That was one. What was the other?”
“I told you. I asked for eyes to see and ears to hear, and God gave them to me literally. I can see and hear the Holy Spirit now.” John’s father looked at him for a moment. John looked back steadily.
“I believe you. There is no hint of uncertainty and no ring of hysteria. This is a calm assertion under unusual circumstances. I can read in your face the truth. So what does the Holy Spirit look like?”
“In truth I can’t tell you. I’ve been told that what I see is just my visualization of the Holy Spirit. If you were to suddenly see it then it would be different from what I see. For me anyway, the Holy Spirit appears as small talking lizards that can fly. They are not any bigger than the palm of your hand.”
“I dislike being called a lizard,” interrupted Terath. John laughed.
“What’s funny?” asked John’s father.
“My Holy Spirit said he didn’t like being called a lizard, but I can’t think of any better way to describe them. Oh, he’s called Terath.”
“He’s here now?” asked John’s father.
“Yes. He’s on my right shoulder. Give me a moment and I’ll look for yours and mother’s.” John looked around the room, hunting the Holy Spirit with his eyes. Slowly the spirits faded into existence. “Your spirit is sitting on your right shoulder as well, and mom’s is laying next to her on her pillow. Not that it matters particularly. You can’t see them anyway.”
“It is good to know that they are close though.”
“This is a good example,” said Terath. “Focus on your father’s spirit. See the connection.”
“I’m going to try to see something dad. It may take me a moment.”
“Alright.” John focused on the spirit sitting on his dad’s shoulder. The room around him dimmed. This time there was a silver connection running from the spirit’s neck to his father’s heart.
“What is that Terath?” asked John.
“That is the connection I was talking about earlier. Your father is a Christian. That connection to his heart shows that he has accepted the Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.”
“What is it John,” asked John’s father.
“I can see a direct connection between you and your spirit. Terath was trying to explain it to me earlier. This connection only exists with people who have accepted God and Christ.”
“I see. This is indeed a powerful gift you have been given. Do you have a plan for how to use it?”
“I hadn’t thought about it that far yet.”
“That is understandable. It is new to you, and you are in something of a crisis right now. You don’t have to make any rushed decisions. Just don’t waste the talent that God has gifted you with.” John and his father sat side by side for several minutes without saying a word.
“I’m going for a walk,” John finally said. “I need to think about this and I can’t focus in here.”
“That’s fine. Your mother won’t leave yet. She’ll be here when you’re ready to come back.” John stood and left the room. He slowly walked up and down the hallway, being sure not to get in anybody’s way. John couldn’t think confined to this one hallway even, so he began walking around the hospital, at least where he was allowed. He came across a woman crying in a waiting area. For some reason he felt compelled to talk with her. He walked over slowly and stopped at a comfortable talking distance. He stood still and waited for her to notice him. When she finally looked up John sat next to her.
“What’s wrong. If you want to talk about anything I’ll listen.” The woman just sat still for a while. John waited patiently. While he waited he looked for her spirit. When he found it, it was sitting on her shoulder. It had the same connecting line that had been there when he had looked at his father’s spirit.
“It’s partly religious,” the woman said finally. “Are you Christian?”
“I am. I can’t promise I know what you want to know. I’m having some difficulties right now too, but it sometimes helps to talk and I’m willing to listen.”
“Thank you.” The woman paused and sniffed. “It’s my daughter. She was recently hit by a car. She was critically injured. The doctors don’t think she’ll recover. She is conscious, but the fact that she might die isn’t what’s worrying me.” The woman stopped and took a large breath. “The problem is that she’s not Christian. I’ve talked with her as has my husband, but nothing we say can convince her that she can be saved. She says that it’s too late for her to fix her problems.”
“I see. I don’t know what I can say. I could try talking to her. Sometimes words from people who don’t know you have different effects than the words of those who seem to have vested interest in a person’s life.”
“You think so? I guess it couldn’t hurt. Thank you. Just saying it to someone who cares has helped me tremendously.” The woman stood and walked away. John stood and followed. They walked down a hallway and entered a room. There was a lot of machinery connected to a young woman. She was maybe 25 years old; far too young to die.
“Honey?” asked the woman.
“Hi mom,” answered the daughter.
“Honey, this man was worried about you. He asked if he could come and talk with you. Is it alright with you?”
“I guess. It will give me something to do for a while.” John didn’t know why, but he knew he had to talk with this girl.
“Would you please leave?” John asked the woman.
“I said it earlier, but people have different effects based on their relationship. If you’re here it might change the way she listens to what I have to say. Just wait outside the door. I promise to you that everything will be alright.” The woman looked at John, then her daughter. She slowly left the room, and looking over her shoulder as she left, closed the door. John walked around the bed and sat where the girl could see him and talk easily.
“Hello. My name is John. What’s yours?”
“Hi John. I’m Martha.”
“It’s nice to meet you Martha. What happened to you?”
“I was hit by a car. The guy wasn’t paying attention and ran a stop sign and hit me. I think they said he was texting on his phone, and never even saw me.”
“I see. I talked to your mom some. She’s very worried about you.”
“So she asked you to talk to me? Are you a preacher or something?”
“No and no. I asked to talk to you, and I’m just a normal guy. I am a Christian, but that doesn’t change that I’m human. Your mom said you don’t think you can be saved. Why do you think that?”
“Humph. I can’t fix all the things I’ve done. I’m not a good enough person for God to accept me.”
“You know, I don’t believe that. No person is clean in the eyes of God, but many people are saved anyway.”
“But I’m not just anybody. I can’t stop myself with the time I have left. I can’t... fix myself.” John looked at Martha for a while.
“You’re wrong. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It’s never too late to start over.”
“It was my fault I got hit! I was high and wandered out in front of the car. It’s true that the guy was texting and not paying attention, but I was the one who was high. And that’s the least of what’s wrong with me.” John looked up and saw Terath perched on a piece of machinery.
“What should I tell her?” asked John. Martha looked at John quietly. “I don’t know what to say. I can’t convince her on my own.”
Terath answered, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8 and 9.”
John said, “Listen to this. It is Ephesians chapter 2; verses 8 and 9. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.’ It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. Salvation is a gift from God. All you have to do is accept that gift in faith.”
“But…” she protested.
John looked up to Terath again, “Something more. There’s still something missing.”
Terath responded, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7: 18 and 19”
“This is it. It’s Micah chapter 7 verses 18 and 19. ‘Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.’ God forgives our past. Not just the mildly bad parts. He forgives all of it. He doesn’t care about our past, only our future. He wants our future to be with him. You may think you don’t have time, but you’re still here, and doctors can be wrong. You’re still alive, and God still wants to know you. Ask him for forgiveness. Accept Christ. He will not turn you away.” As John said this he looked for her spirit. He found it resting on a table not far away. There was no connection to her heart.
“Oh God. I do want to be saved. I’ve wanted for so long, but I couldn’t ask. I didn’t feel like I was worthy of receiving your gift. But I do want to be saved. I want to do things right for however long I have left.” The spirit stood and then flew to the bed and landed near Martha.
“Do you, Martha, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?”
“I do.” The spirit crawled near to Martha, and as John watched, the connection between the spirit and Martha appeared. “Thank you John. You showed me I was wrong. I can’t thank you enough.”
“Knowing I’ve helped is enough for me. Just don’t give up on life yet. The doctors can say what they want to, but they don’t know the future anymore than we do.”
“I won’t. I won’t ever give up again.” Martha stopped for a moment. “John.”
“Yes. What is it?”
“Can you get my mom? I need to talk to her.”
“Sure thing.” John stood and walked to the door. He opened it and there was Martha’s mom waiting.
“She wants to talk to you. She’ll be fine. I know God has a plan for her.” The woman went into the room, and John closed the door behind her. He slowly walked off, thinking about what had just happened.
“That was excellent. You did a great job there,” said Terath from John’s shoulder. John hadn’t noticed him come back.
“I have a question. Why is there no connection between us? I’m Christian, but no matter how I focus I can’t see a connection.”
“Our relationship is different. Because you can see and hear me there is no need to show a physical connection. That is another part of your sight designed to help you.” John thought about that as he headed back toward his mother’s room.
“I think I know what I’m going to do with this gift,” said John to himself.