A soft knock on the kitchen door distracted Pastor Terry from stirring the soup languishing on the burner. Slowly, deliberately, he withdrew the spoon from the pot, placing it on a nearby saucer. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he turned and bid his caller to enter.
Elder Travis, his brother in the Blood Bought Church, pranced in on muted, mincing footsteps, offering his reserved greetings and to query, “How’s Payton feeling? And how are y’all holding up?”
By habit, Pastor Terry assumed his ‘preacher face’ and donned a gently enthusiastic tone. “He seems to be coming around the corner now, God be praised! Said he was hungry, so I thought I’d try him on a little soup, here.”
“Oh that is good news!” Elder Travis simpered. “Y’all just take care of your boy and I’ll take care of the service.” Taking his leave, he hastily ducked out the door, leaving Pastor Terry befuddled.
The service? he mused. Glancing at the calendar on the refrigerator, he grasped the intent behind Elder Travis’s visit. It’s Sunday.
His son, Payton, had been sick for days with no sign of getting any better, no matter what he had told Elder Travis. The boy had stopped taking nourishment three days ago, and hadn’t talked in five. In these end times, the only doctors left alive ministered from a nursing home they’d turned into a makeshift hospital, and those doctors knew zed flu when they saw it.
They’d want to take Payton away from me! he anguished. Take my boy away and do horrible experiments on him! From the depths of his soul, the Pastor became consumed with heavenly determination. I won’t let them, he vowed. There’s no need for it, see. God’s gonna save my boy. Ain’t nothing our Lord and Saviour can’t do. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
Lost in prayer, lost in time, Pastor Terry found himself on his knees aside his boy’s bed. He’d lost track of how long he’d been praying for a miracle, but some small something had changed…startled, he crawled onto the bed, gathering his son into his arms. He wasn’t breathing! Shaking the boy, beseeching, begging, “Dear Lord! God Almighty Father! Not my boy! Not my Payton!”
O God, Almighty, you do test me, the Pastor sorrowed. First my lovely Emma and now our Payton, our dear, innocent Payton! Dear Holy Father, you test me like Abraham.
The following Wednesday evening was chilly, so Pastor Terry waited inside the little church to greet his congregation. As the large wooden doors swung open, he welcomed the first of his parishioners to arrive from behind his pulpit with a hearty “Good evening and God bless!”
Before the attendees got far down the aisle, Mrs Parton fainted into her husband’s arms, while their twin daughter’s shrieks rang throughout the nave. Behind the pulpit, nailed to the cross, was a struggling zombie Payton, a small crown of thorns adorning its head.
“Jesus be praised!” Pastor Terry proclaimed. “God raised my son! God raised my son, too.”