Saturday, January 26, 2019

Thoughts Behind the Stroy

Some thoughts behind my novel, Encounter at River's Edge. My highest priority in the story was highlighting the wonderful people that I have know in forty years of ministry. Society would label them as extremely religious people. I knew them and know them as men and women who fell in love with God. Their everyday relationship with Christ was as normal as breathing and as vital as the blood coursing through their veins.
They were not caught in the trap of religion, which is man-made and futile.

The main character is Al. He is as baby boomer who represents many of us. His name is pretty common among boomers. He has no last name, which is intentional, because he has all of our last names. The trauma he endured set him on his path, That path was filled with pain, questioning, and ultimately led to his salvation. Though his path is much different than ours, there are many similarities.

All of us on the spinning orb have dealt with trauma and pain. Accidents happen that bring injury or death and we hurt. Natural disasters blow away our security and we suffer. Some of us have endured the death of a child and no words can ever explain that pain and sense of loss.

Al's trauma and pain led him to the whiskey bottle. And, contrary to the belief of some it was adequate, for a while. It was only when he was stripped of all dignity and sense of self that his eyesight changed. We are very much like that. After all of our efforts at self-salvation have failed we change our vision.

The part of the story that places Al at The Agape Station is meant to be basic and foundational. Reverend and Mrs. Williams represent all that is beautiful of the gospel message. Taking place in a converted grocery store illustrated two types of sustenance. The first use of the store was obvious. It represents every little market in every town that people depend on for their survival. The use of the store as The Agape Station gives great meaning to the words of Jesus, "Man shall not live on bread alone."

Al, with his life now in the hands of God, understands that life must have eternal purpose. He knows that his life is meant to have an everlasting impact upon the world. With his decision made, he heads off into the unknown and unexplored of tomorrow. It takes great faith and courage to step of the cliff of security and into the void of uncertainty.

Al's journey north, into the unknown, will change his life. New people, new friends, new vistas await him. He will have times of great enjoyment and great loss. The single greatest event in his journey is waiting for him.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Al Talks of the Angel Edith

“I don’t mind telling you about myself,” Al said, “I came close to getting killed, and the results left me with pretty bad headaches and nightmares. Close to a year ago I collapsed, and the doctors found a growth in the back of my brain. They did surgery and told me that my future was uncertain; the growth might never grow again or it could come back.”
Al continued, “I went a few weeks without symptoms. And, I really thought that the headaches and dreams were over. But, they’re not. I can live with what is going on. It might sound strange to some people, probably not you, but, I’m okay with whatever happens. The Lord is in control of my life and I know that.”
He went on, “I haven’t told anybody what I’m about to tell you. On my way here, I think I met an angel. Her name was Edith, and she was one of the sweetest old ladies I ever met. We traveled together for a while and she told me some pretty incredible things. She told me that God wanted to use me in a very wonderful way and she really encouraged me. We had coffee at one of the stops and then she said she had to meet her family and walked away. The funny thing was, she said she was walking around the corner and down the street. When we first got out of the bus, I remember looking around the coffee shop and there were no houses down the street. Just the coffee shop, gas station and a couple of old, abandoned clap-board buildings.”
Pastor Hank said, “That is an incredible story. God must have His hand of guidance on you. I don’t understand what this little town has to do with any of it. But, what I know isn’t that important. It’s what God has planned that is vital. Now, as far as an angel is concerned, that is fascinating. I’ve heard of people who believe they witnessed or talked with an angel. What made you think Edith was an angel?” Al said, “That’s simple. She knew things about me that nobody knew. She spoke with an authority that I’ve never heard before. And, I knew in my soul that there was something strangely wonderful about her.”

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Nightmare Demons Continue the War

Sometime in the night, when the stillness is only interrupted by her nocturnal creatures, flashes of light, a child vanishing in a red mist, and infant cries, sent Al falling off his chair. As he tumbled to the floor, he hit his head on the stand, sending his reading lamp crashing down. As he fought away the voices and the vanishing child, he placed his hand on his forehead, the warm blood covered his cupped hand.

Startled by the noise, Gracie was up the stairs and kneeling over him. “Dear God,” she said, “What happened? Did you have one of your nightmares?” With his hand on his forehead Gracie went to the bathroom and brought a wet cloth. She pulled his hand away placing the cool wet cloth to his head. After a minute she said, “Better let me take a look, you might need a couple of stitches.” Gently moving Al’s hand Gracie said, “I think I should call Doc Sam. You ought to have some stitches” “No Gracie,” Al said, “After it stops bleeding just put a couple of butterfly bandages on it. I’m not going to the doctor.”

By daylight they had finished a pot of coffee. Gracie was trying to convince Al to go downstate and see a doctor. She had told him that the general practice doctor wouldn’t be able to help him. Near dawn he agreed that if things didn’t get better, he would travel downstate and see a specialist. She tried to pin him down to a specific date when he would call and make an appointment. She’d have to be content with his word that if things didn’t get better, he would make an appointment.