Melissa raced into her room, slamming the door behind her. It was too much! It was all just too much! Throwing herself onto the bed, tears fell from her eyes like the torrents of rain from the clouds outside her window. It was as if even the heavens could feel her pain and wept along with her.
Hours seemed to pass before the tears abated enough for Melissa to even pull a thought from her head, though she knew it had only been minutes. The rain pelted against the window pane keeping rhythm with the pounding in her chest. How could everything go so wrong? Everything! She looked for some glimmer, some ray of light somewhere in her life that proved her wrong, that gave some whisper of hope somewhere in her life, but there was none. All the walls seemed to be crumbling – no CRASHING – down at once! Her son, Bobby, in rehab struggling with recovery. Her daughter, Ally, estranged from the family, pregnant and far from home, unwilling to speak to her “religious” parents. Her marriage – Melissa almost laughed even using the word – her marriage a cold pretense put on only as a display for family and friends, but leaving her feeling empty and alone.
Melissa sucked in a deep breath, trying not to break down again. It hurt. It hurt too much to think of it all. And it hurt physically. Her own health had been deteriorating for years, doctors struggling to find a diagnosis. Melissa struggled to understand what was happening to her and why. Yes, she struggled with the pain and the increasing disability, but it was more than that. It was the feeling of failure, of inadequacy, and the looks of doubt and disbelief in the eyes of family and friends. That was almost worse than the pain itself.
Stretching across the bed, Melissa reached for her Bible on the nightstand. She clung to it like a drowning woman to a life preserver. “Why God? Why are you doing this to me? Why have you left me alone in this battle? I don’t understand?” The words and the pain flowed from her heart, but Melissa couldn’t help wondering if anyone heard, if anyone was truly listening? Suddenly, the thunder cracked so loudly Melissa jumped, dropping her Bible…
“Michael, Michael! Move your unit closer into her right side! I’m afraid the enemy has breached there and made a large stronghold. We need a larger unit there.”
“I’m on it, Josiah! Let’s go, men! Move in to the right! Tighter! The enemy has breached!”
“Nicholai, Bring your men in from above! We need to protect her thoughts – they’re under heavy attack! Praise God, we finally got the prayer coverage we needed! I thought reinforcements would never get here!”
“You heard, Michael, men! Move in from above! Guard her thoughts! Michael, who has her left flank? Do we have that covered?”
“Yes, Nicholai, Stephen and his troops are there! I think we’ve got her completely encircled now! We got here just in time! If the prayers had come any later, I don’t know what would have happened! I’m afraid we were very close to losing her! But, the Saints were faithful and their prayers got through, though with much resistance!”
Melissa crawled over to the Bible and looked at the page where it had fallen open. It was the Psalms and there was a verse highlighted, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands…” As Melissa read, fresh tears fell from her eyes. But these were new tears, different tears, as a strange peace settled into her soul – a peace that was familiar, yet she had not known in so long. She flipped further into the Bible and stopped at another highlighted passage in Hebrews, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Peace like she had not known in months settled around Melissa’s heart, and she sank back onto the floor at rest, as if God Himself cradled her in His arms.
Melissa stayed there, rested and peaceful, on the floor for what seemed like several hours, but was really until her back just couldn’t take it anymore. She rose, feeling renewed and refreshed, though nothing had changed in her life or her circumstances. But now she knew, somehow she knew, in the depths of her soul that she was not alone, she was not forsaken. God was in the battle with her.
She walked to the kitchen, ready to face her life again. She turned on the radio and began to rinse the dishes to load the dishwasher. Life would go on as before, but God would be with her. Hearing her phone ring from across the room, Melissa dried her hands and answered. “Hello?” “Hello? Mom? It’s Ally… I was just wondering… Can I come home?”
In the background the radio played, “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, The God of Angel armies is always by my side…”
Thank you to artist Chris Tomlin for encouraging me with his beautiful song “Whom Shall I Fear (Angel Armies)” which then inspired this short story. Take a moment to follow the link and listen to this wonderful song.