• Eunice Wilkie

The Celestial Chronicles (13)

Stories imagining Christian service from Heaven’s point of view

Challenging Priorities


Not for the first time, Polly wondered if anyone else found it as hard as she did to maintain the right priorities. Take the basic need of every Christian to read the Bible and pray. There wasn’t anything intrinsically difficult about either of those things. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t make time in the morning to complete these daily essentials. She had precisely the same amount of time as everyone else in the world – and a great deal more choice how she spent it. She didn’t have to care for small children, work twelve-hour shifts in a third-world factory, or even go to paid employment at all. She had the freedom to choose how to order her morning priorities; the challenge was to do it.

She was busy, of course; who wasn’t? But always, it felt like the hardest moment in her day to not pick up her iPhone, freshly charged for the day ahead, and pick up her Bible instead. She had learned the hard way that indulging in even a few moments of Facebook-scrolling, message-checking, and reading headlines (all pretty innocuous in themselves) meant that she was even less inclined to spend time reading her Bible and praying. It wasn’t that she read or saw anything that was particularly harmful, but there was just something far more addictive about her phone than about her Bible. Even seeing the Apps on her phone, reminding her that she had numbers of unread messages and items of interest, was enough to make her want to plunge into the cyber-world for far too long – which, mysteriously, went hand in hand with the subtle, creeping feeling of less inclination to read her Bible.

So, she had learned to not even touch her phone (in fact, she moved the charger to a plug in the utility room so she couldn’t even see the phone) until she had finished her daily Bible reading and prayer time. She couldn’t even trust herself to use the Bible App on her phone and not spend time on other Apps too! Silly, but there it was. She couldn’t imagine anyone else was subject to such a ludicrous battle over priorities; was it only her that fought so continuously to feed on the Word of God and communicate with Almighty God in Heaven instead of feeding on the trivialities of Earth? How crazy was it that she even had this battle?!

Since she had removed her biggest personal distraction and re-prioritised her morning, Polly had begun to treat her Bible reading and prayer time as an appointment. She researched and prepared for her prayer time – the same as she would for any appointment. Her prayer list for the day was ready the evening before – the usual, ongoing matters featured, and in addition, she added specific prayer points which might be peculiar to that day.

On her prayer list that morning were Emma and Simon[1], two missionaries she had heard about recently. Since prayer had become a definite priority, Polly had joined their WhatsApp group and followed their prayer requests. They were in the back-of-beyond in Africa and they had asked for prayer for a hazardous journey they had to undertake that day. They were visiting a rural district to distribute practical aid and preach the gospel. And so, whether she felt like it or not, Polly prayed.

***

In the Courts of Heaven, a company of angels were poised to intervene in the affairs of Earth. It wasn’t always the case; sometimes, for good reasons known only to the Creator, the Redeemed were allowed to suffer on Earth. At other times, there was Divine intervention to protect and provide for the Redeemed even without prayer. But for Simon and Emma, the command had come: if the prayer power was sufficient, protection must be provided.

Thankfully, prayer was ascending. From Polly, and others like her, who had put aside earthly distractions and interceded with God, asking Him to change the course of human history. Once there was sufficient prayer power, Ari, and his company of angelic warriors, vanished from sight in Heaven and almost simultaneously appeared on planet Earth – to be precise, at the side of an arid road. It was an insignificant pot-holed track which wound through bandit country – through a region subject to the terror of armed mafia who, among other things, kidnapped people, and who, without hesitation, murdered those who could not pay for their release, and plenty of those who could, too. The track led to a poor African village no one in their right mind ever wished to visit. Apart from Simon and Emma.

The mafia network had already marked the foreign couple’s presence in the region’s town. When their car was seen bumping along the track, they were easy pickings … except that, they hadn’t expected the armed guards! None of their intelligence had suggested the missionaries had such resources at their disposal. It wasn’t clear to the armed thugs concealed by the undulating dessert how many guards were protecting the couple, but there were certainly far too many and they were far too well-armed to consider an attack. The car passed unhindered; Emma and Simon completed the visit and returned home in safety. They never had any idea how close they had come to danger. Nor, for that matter, did they ever see their armed escort.

***

In Heaven, the angelic Treasure House workers tallied the results of the heavenly rewards earned in the Realm of Time in connection with the protection of Simon and Emma. Into numerous heavenly accounts, they placed gems of spectacular beauty as reward for faithfulness in intercessory prayer. As the gospel spread in that far-flung African village, as the ripple effects of that prayer moved outward and onward, the angels would later add more riches to the faithful pray-ers’ heavenly accounts; they had played a part in that work too.

On Earth, neither Polly, nor any of the other hidden Polly-like pray-ers, knew the vital role they had played on behalf of the young missionary couple. They probably won’t know until they reach Heaven. Then, they’ll discover the treasure they earned too.

Natan, a treasure house worker, smiled as he added the last precious stones to Polly’s account. To him, at least, it was obvious which activity should be Polly’s priority.

[1] See also Story 9 - Given in Exchange for more about Emma and Simon

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