Detroit Present Day
Tom sat stunned in his car. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He didn’t notice the sun burn the color out of the clouds as dawn made its way into morning. He didn’t notice the parking lot filling up around him. He didn’t feel his fingers gripping the wheel so tightly that they hurt. Tom was stunned. He was shocked. And he was scared. He had just had an encounter with God Almighty. Later, Tom recalled an odd thought that had flashed though his mind; that Detroit was that last place he expected God to visit.
This was more than just having some direction from God float through the ether and land in his spirit. This was even more than hearing a kind of voice that gave more definite information or guidance.
Tom had felt that his car had been filled with power. A power that he had never, ever, felt before. Tom’s eyes were wide open when God visited him. He didn’t see anything definite, but had the impression of vast space, an incomprehensible amount of power, a closeness that he could not explain, and a love that filled him until he wept with joy. What an odd mixture of emotions coursed through Tom as he sat facing the sunrise in the parking lot in downtown Detroit.
He felt, sometimes alternating, sometimes concurrent, raw fear, an unremitting awe, and a love deeper than knowledge. The tears had stopped flowing by now, but Tom was still shaken by the experience. He realized that it was not the experience alone that had left him this way, it was the realization that God was really real, and that He had met with Tom. The ‘heart in your throat’ feeling was still there, but it was slowly subsiding. He thanked God for being merciful to him, and for answering prayer. Tom knew what he was going to do on this case. He knew that there was trouble ahead for he and his family, and he knew that he would not solve the case.
He also knew that he was going to pray for something. It didn’t make sense to him, but he was not about to argue with the Creator of the universe on this one. If God wanted him to pray for this sonti thing, then Tom Cort would pray for it. And he started right then and there.
“God of all things, my words are frail, my spirit is weak, I am not holy. Your word is Truth, Your spirit is everywhere, You alone, are holy. Thank You for the glimpse of Your righteousness. Lord, may I never be on the receiving end of Your wrath. You have changed me by meeting with me. Help me, Lord, to always look to you for my direction.
You have told me to pray for sonti. I don’t know what that is, or how to pray. I know that if it is on Your heart then it is good to pray for it. Please bless this ‘sonti’. If it is in anguish, comfort it. If it needs to be successful to fulfill Your Will, make it successful. Whatever needs to be done to bring glory to You, please Lord, do it. If it takes action on my part, give me direction, and I will do it! If sonti is a group of people, or a person, give them wisdom and lead them to Your side. Give sonti your hand of wisdom, knowledge and guidance. I ask you these things in Your son Jesus’ name.”
When he had finished praying and praising, Tom pried his fingers from the wheel and shook his hands to get the feeling back in them. He drove home thinking about what was physical or real and what was spiritual or supernatural, and wondered if he had had it wrong his whole life.
Mindy met him at the front door like she always did. Tom looked into her eyes and saw her in a different way. She looked the same, but Tom saw her with eyes that had just had a glimpse of the glory of God. Mindy had always been a pretty woman, but Tom was looking at a beautiful woman. She radiated goodness. She nearly glowed. Her smile turned somewhat hesitant as she looked at Tom and saw something different.
“What happened to you?” Mindy looked concerned. She took Tom’s face in her hands and turned him to the left and right, all the while searching his face for …. For what, she didn’t know. But something had happened to Tom.
She repeated the question. “What happened to you?”
The firmness in her voice snapped Tom out of his admiration long enough to say “Why do you ask?”
Mindy took Tom’s hand and pulled him over to the mirror in the hallway. “Look”, she said as she turned him to face the mirror. “What happened to you?”
Tom stared in disbelief as he looked at his reflection. He glowed. He positively glowed. Not the joyous, boisterous, flushed face look that people sometimes had. Tom glowed. Mindy took him to the hall closet and pushed him inside. She followed him in and closed the door behind her. It was a tight fit, but the darkness of the closet proved what he thought he had seen in the mirror. Mindy’s face was lit up by the glow from Tom. He really did glow!
“What have you been investigating? Why are you glowing? Where have you been for the last hour? Why are you looking at me like that? Tom? Are you all right, Tom?”
“If you stop asking questions, I’ll tell you a story. You can believe it or not, but I will tell you up front that it is a true story.”
“OK. Tell me a story. But it had better be good! And you had better not let the kids see you like this. You’ll scare them!”
“Where are the little rug-rats?”
“Tom, don’t call them that!” Mindy teased, “They’re beginning to like it. You’ll get them all wound up and they won’t be ready for school. Just go to the bedroom. I need to drive them to school today anyway, so I’ll tell them that you will see them when they get home.” She pulled Tom close and kissed him, then pushed him out of the closet and down the hall toward their room. Mindy went the other way toward the kitchen where the boys were putting on their coats and gathering their computer discs for school.
Tom went into the bedroom and closed the door. He leaned against it and began to laugh. “I’m like Moses!” He chuckled. “I’m glowing from the presence of God just like Moses did!” He began to laugh harder, thinking about what had happened to him this morning. The emotions of fear and awe and love had been so strong that they had covered up the emotion that just now had made its way to the surface of Tom’s awareness. Joy. Tom laughed even harder as he thought of the verse that said ‘…joy comes in the morning’. That one is right on! Tom thought.
For several minutes, Tom laughed and giggled, chuckled and just smiled, as he reflected on the events of the morning. God’s presence is an awesome thing, Tom decided.
Mindy returned home after dropping the kids off at school and went straight to the bedroom. “All right,” she demanded, “I can’t wait any longer. I’ve got to know what has happened to you and if it’s contagious!”
“I hope it is” Tom replied. “Let’s go to the kitchen. I’m hungry.”
After Tom had consumed a bagel and cream cheese he turned to Mindy, took both her hands in his and said, “I met with God this morning, and He told me a couple of things.”
Mindy pulled her hands away from Tom and looked really concerned. “He’s lost it”, she thought.
Tom saw her reaction and said “I really did meet God this morning. In my car. In a parking lot in Detroit, of all places. He really did talk to me. He really did tell me some things. If you are ready, I’ll tell you what He told me. You really ought to know some of this, since it directly involves our family.”
‘Oh no!’ Mindy thought. ‘God told Tom that I’m going to have a baby when I’m 90!’
Tom looked at Mindy and said “No, Mindy, you are not going to have a baby when you are 90. At least, God didn’t mention it, but you do need to know a couple of things.”
Mindy sat up straight in her chair. “How did you know what I was thinking?” She asked.
“You spoke to me”, Tom replied. “I heard you.”
“I was thinking that. I didn’t say that!”
“Yes you did”.
“No – I – did – not!”
When Mindy spoke clearly and concisely, even Tom looked for somewhere else to be. Mindy was not to be trifled with. She was strong-willed, assertive, and she was almost always right. Because of that, she was, on occasion, a most annoying wife.
“Well, what do you think happened? Maybe we have just been married for so long that we know what each other is thinking.”
“I have no idea what you are thinking right now, but I think that something has happened to you. Something very different. Something out of the ordinary.” Mindy sat back and looked at Tom. His face continued to glow. Now that she recognized the glow, she could see it in the daylight.
Tom looked back at her for a long moment. He nodded his head at her and said, “Exactly. Just like Moses. I was thinking that very thing just a little while ago.”
“There you go again! How are you doing that? How are you reading my thoughts?” Mindy was concerned, but, surprisingly, not frightened by the unique abilities Tom had developed overnight. She knew her husband well enough to know that she did not need to be afraid, but her intellect was still looking for answers.
Tom looked at his hands. He was still thrumming with emotion and awareness since God talked to him. He was amazed at how clear things had become for him. His mind was so organized. His thoughts on any subject were crystal clear. He had no idea that he could think this clearly about one thing, let alone hundreds of things. He reached for Mindy’s hand. She pulled away from his touch, but he waited for her. After a few moments, she put her hand in his.
Tom searched his brides’ face. He saw the same features he had seen when he had first met her – the eyes with that peculiar color of blue, the mouth that smiled so sweetly, the cheeks that held the cutest dimples, and lately, the forehead and the worry creases.
“Mindy, I know what is going on. I’ve been denying it because it doesn’t fit what I think I can do on my own. Once again, I am doubting God’s ability to use me.” Tom looked at her hand wrapped in his. “I am working on a case that is based in the supernatural. I know how strange this sounds. I know that we base our reality on the physical aspect of our lives, but the real living is what takes place in the supernatural level. The spiritual side of us. That’s where life and death occur. That is where so few of us ever visit, explore, test, grow. I have lived all my life in the physical realm. My only ventures into the spiritual aspect of life was when I became a Christian. I haven’t really done anything since then.”
He looked up at Mindy and saw her nod for him to continue. “I am being thrust into the spiritual realm. I am investigating a murder that appears to be from something other than human. I have also been given instructions to pray for something. I was told to ‘fervently ask for guidance and protection for sonti’. I do not know what this sonti thing is. But I’m beginning to think that it is a person. And Mindy, God told me that hardships were coming to me and to my family. Be ready. And understand that what is happening to us is spiritual even though it affects us physically.”
Mindy bowed her head right then and began to pray. When she had finished, she raised her head to look at Tom. Her eyes were red with emotion, but her face bore the calm that could only come from above.
“Let’s do it!” she said. “Let’s be effective. Let’s put our faith on the line. Can you imagine it? Satan pointing us out to God, accusing us before His throne, and God answering back ‘They are my children! Test them and see!’ Let what ever may come, come. We will not focus on the here and now except as it relates to God’s will. Tom, perhaps all of heaven is watching us right now. Waiting to see if we will do Gods’ will. Let’s not let them down!”
Tom answered her statement with “Let’s not let God down.”
Tom made a phone call and set up an appointment with the pastor of the church they went to for 4:30 that afternoon. He would have a chance for several hours of sleep before he got up for the day.
He went to sleep and dreamed of old Sunday school stories he had heard when he was a kid. The woman at the well, the lame man healed, the children coming to Jesus. He rested well and was pleasantly surprised that he hadn’t thought about the Schaller case for several hours.