|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
"Friends and neighbors, welcome to tonight's revival meeting!" the large, gray-haired man boomed. The crowd applauded wildly as the sides of the tent gently flapped in the slight breeze.
"My name is Brother Johnson! And I am an emissary of the Lord, here to deliver His message to you! If you believe, you WILL be saved!"
The assembled townspeople again clapped thunderously while some of the men whistled their approval.
"Now you know, it is only through Jesus Christ that salvation is possible, and only faith in Him can lead to the rebirth that will grant forgiveness of sins and eternal life! And that faith can heal, just like in the Holy Scriptures! For did not Jesus say that it was not Him but the faith in Him that produced the miraculous healings of the Good Book? Well, if you truly believe, you CAN be healed!"
The audience whooped and stomped their feet, not only in agreement with the statements made but in anticipation of the promise of a spectacle, the laying of hands and miracles, or even the failure to produce healings. Either way, an enjoyable evening in the small, rural town was a pretty safe bet.
A mousey-looking woman stepped from the crowd and stammered, "Excuse me, please! Sir, my son--he has..."
"What is it, my good woman?"
"Um, it's like, you know, a mental sickness..."
"Never fear, dear lady. Did not our Lord cast out demons? With faith in Him, all is possible." He waved his hand beckoning her toward him. "If faith is present healing can happen. But it is not your faith that is only necessary, does your son wish to be healed?"
The boy looked tearfully up to the large man. "Oh, yes! More than anything in the world! I do believe in miracles. Can you help me?"
The man nodded his white-maned head. "It is not I who will help you, your faith has already helped you. Come, young man." He grabbed the boy's shoulders with both hands and threw back his head. "Do you believe?"
"I..., I want to, sir."
"No, you must truly believe! Do you believe?"
"I think I do..."
"No, there must be no doubt! BELIEVE!"
"I..., I do believe!"
"Then you shall be healed!" The large man removed his hand from the boy's shoulder and pushed the boy's forehead. A gasp escaped the boy's lips as he fell to the floor.
The boy groaned, and the low wail took on an eerie quality and it raised in pitch. He convulsed and curled into a tight ball, then jumped onto his hands and knees. His head dropped as it shook spastically.
"What's happening? Oh, sweet Lord, please help my baby!" the woman screamed.
The boy's body thickened as his limbs grew thinner. His complexion seemed to darken as rust-colored fuzz sprouted on his face. He gasped as his clothing burst. Two tiny knobs sprouted from his forehead.
"Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" the pale woman collapsed to the ground.
The young deer bolted upright, sniffed the air, and bounded from the stage through the fluttering canvas. His horrified mother screeched as tears streamed down her face.
"Sister Divine, let's get the hell out of here," muttered the preacher to his assistant as he shoved her from the stage. "Pickings will be mighty slim around here for awhile." He rolled his eyes and murmured upward, "Oh, Lord. Why does this keep happening to me?"
The people of the small town never liked to talk very much about that evening. In fact, any newcomer to the town would never have heard of it, but all would have known Mrs. Larson. Every hunting season she ran through the woods banging a pot with a metal spoon, tears streaming down her face, yelling, "Run! Run, Jeremy! The hunters are out! Run for your life!"
Tent Show copyright 1999 by Paul Exton.
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