“I can’t do this.”
“Of course, you can Eli.”
“I’ve already told you that I have stage fright, Janet.”
“You’re an Eledactyl now. You’re totally up for this.”
The Eledactyls were a group of highly skilled superheroes. Elijah was added to the team because it was said that he saved a dying woman by putting his hands together. Elijah told them that all he did was pray to God and ask Him to heal her, but he was accepted anyway.
Eli sighed, “I prefer fighting crime over preaching to 6,000 people.”
“Trust me, you’ve got this. I’ve been praying for you. Now hurry up and get ready – you’re on in ten minutes.”
He ran off as fast as he could to the dressing room. He looked in the mirror. His tie was crooked and his long black hair was sticking up again. He looked at his watch. Eight minutes left. He straightened his tie and fixed his hair. He searched his bag for the notes on his message but couldn’t find them. He’d left them in his car. He checked his watch and saw that there were five minutes left. He ran as fast as he could to the parking lot and retrieved the notes from his car. He checked his watch again. Three minutes. On his way back in, a homeless man with a tall black cane approached him. “Excuse me,” he said, “How much does it cost to get into this here building?”
“It is? Ever since this building opened two years ago I’ve been thinking about sneaking inside. I never knew this place was open to everyone.”
“Of course, it is. God wants us to reach people for Him without thinking of rewards.”
“Oh… This is a church?”
“I thought churches were made of stone and had those colorful windows.”
“All churches are different,” smiled Elijah. “Do you still want to come?”
The man hesitated for a moment but then agreed. Elijah became so absorbed in his conversation with the man that he had forgotten about his message. He only had one minute left. He said goodbye to the man and ran as fast as he could to the stage. When he arrived, the band had just finished playing. All right, he thought, let’s do this.
“Seventeen years ago, right here, in Chicago, our Pastor began this church. It started out as simple meetings in his living room. As you can see, it’s grown quite a bit.” The crowd laughed. Elijah searched the sea of people in hopes of finding the man. The place was packed with people; there was no way Elijah would find him in this group. He found it much easier speaking in front of these people than he anticipated.
He went into his message. It was all about reaching people for God. About halfway through, while he was preaching about not using violence as a means to save people, something odd happened. “You should never show hate to people just because they follow a different religion. Instead, pray and ask God to show you how to help them. This brings me to my next point: Do whatever it takes to—”
At that moment the door opened and the man he talked to earlier walked in, clutching his cane. He took a seat in the back of the church and stared openmouthed at Elijah, apparently surprised that it was he who was giving the message. Elijah was thrilled to see that he had made it inside.
When the message had finished, Elijah went to go look for him. He caught up to him just as he was about to leave the building. To Elijah’s surprise, the man had tears in his eyes. “That message you just gave makes me want to tell my friends all about God.” he said, “I’ve never been so inspired in my life.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” said Elijah, “The Bible tells us to go forth and teach people about God.”
“I will. Thank you so much for talking with me today. I’m Frank by the way.”
“I’m Elijah.” After shaking hands, Frank left. A few seconds later, Elijah got a call from Jimmy Flames. Jimmy Flames is the leader of the Eledactyls.
“Wilson! Where are you!? The meeting started five minutes ago!”
Elijah went into a state of panic. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“You’d better be, or else you’re off the team!”
“I’m really sorry, I’m on my way now.”
When he arrived at the Eledactyl HQ, he was greeted by a whole lot of yelling.
“What took you so long!?”
“You’re holding us up!”
“You can save dying people, but you can’t tell time!”
Jimmy approached Elijah with a stern look on his face. He had brown eyes, several scars on his forehead, and bright red hair. “Where were you!?” he bellowed.
“Church!?” he asked with an angry tone, “You were late to your first meeting because of church!? What’s more important? Singing hymns or protecting the world?”
“I’m really sorry, I just forgot all about—”
“No. Answer the question. Which is more important?”
“Well, we don’t sing hymns at our church, but I’d say that worshipping God is more important.”
“More important than this?”
After about half a minute of staring at each other, an old man with long dark hair named Kaito Yamamoto interrupted. “So, Jimmy. Shall we start?”
Jimmy glared at Elijah for a short while longer and then walked to the center of the room. “All right,” he said in a serious tone. “As you all know, the criminal mastermind known as ‘The Shadow’ has escaped prison and gone into hiding. Police reports say that he is somewhere West of Millennium Park. I need every one of you that isn’t busy with another case to go track him down.” Elijah got up with everyone but was stopped by Jimmy. “ Follow me Wilson. You’re going to stay here and man the Headquarters.”
“But I want to get in on the action.”
“You’re staying here, and that’s final.”
Elijah continued to man headquarters for the rest of the week. He passed those long hours by watching the news. One day, he took a look at the screen and saw that there was a group of scientists getting ready to perform an experiment to try to prove that God was a myth, right there in Chicago. Elijah looked upon the screen and shook his head. He prayed for those scientists to find and trust God.
That following Saturday, Jimmy looked thoroughly stressed out. “All right team listen up. You all did a great job catching The Shadow, but there’s no time to celebrate. The Super Secular Science Station has been attacked by an unidentified criminal!”
Elijah’s heart sank to the bottom of his chest. That was where the experiment was to take place! Without thinking, he yelled out, “We have to go save them!”
Jimmy glared at him, then told everyone to move out. They ran down the stairs, into the garage, which Elijah had never seen before. When they arrived, Elijah saw many flying motorcycles, as well as a number of unique vehicles, such as a jet that resembled a sideways torch for Jimmy, and a mech that looked like a monkey for Yamamoto. Elijah hopped on one of the motorcycles and flew alongside the others. It was quite easy to control. It had an autopilot function but was usually controlled manually. About halfway there, he got a call from Janet.
“Where are you Eli? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine. I’m headed towards the Super Secular Science Center now.”
“Are you nervous?”
“To be honest, I’m extremely worried.”
Elijah was finding it difficult to talk and fly the motorcycle at the same time. He pressed the autopilot button and was immediately relieved of the burden. This reminded Elijah of how God can take control of everything.
“God gives us freewill but can take control whenever He wants.” he said, “Whoever started this attack is able to make his own decisions, but God can ultimately change the entire situation. We could attempt to solve the issue ourselves, but God has the power to change the outcome. I know that God will keep us safe as long as we pray and ask Him to keep us safe.”
“Definitely. I’ll be praying for you.”
Elijah and the others landed at the scene of the crime. They were all nervous; they had never done anything like this before. The entire building was engulfed in flames.
“Team,” said Elijah, stuttering, “Can we umm… p-p-pray f-first?”
They stared at him with looks of shock on their faces. They had no idea why he would want to pray at a time like this. Then they remembered that Elijah claimed that the woman was healed because he prayed to God. They figured it was worth a try. Yamamoto was the first to agree. Others slowly followed. Even Jimmy agreed. Soon, all of them were in a circle, holding hands.
“Dear God, thank You for Your love for us. You already know how this is going to end. We are not able to fight this fight ourselves. We ask that You please keep us safe as we go into this building to save the lives of many people. Please soften this criminal’s heart and let his capturing be easy. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
After two gruesome hours of running up staircases, saving people from falling rubble, and extinguishing flames, the culprit was caught. He was wearing a gas mask to protect him from the smoke. The mask obviously wasn’t working though, because he was coughing and seemed to be somewhat unconscious. The building was collapsing. There wasn’t much time.
“Just leave him there!” yelled Jimmy. “We have to get out now!”
Just as Elijah was about to leave, he remembered the story of the good Samaritan. Even though the man was hurting people, he felt God calling him to save him anyway. He picked up the man and ran as fast as he could to the exit. He made it out just seconds before the entire building collapsed into a heap of rubble. When they were back at HQ, they took the man to the infirmary. When his mask was removed, Elijah could not believe his eyes; it was Frank. When he woke up, Elijah asked him why he had attacked those people.
“I was just trying to stop ‘em from badmouthing God. I had never meant for all this to happen.”
Elijah was shocked. He couldn’t believe it was Frank who did this. “But God doesn’t want us to force people into our religion. We’re supposed to let Him take control of the situation and be his hands and feet. I said that in the message on Sunday, remember?”
Elijah suddenly understood. Frank had come in just after he had talked about not using violence. He wasn’t there to hear it. “Well, Frank I understand you didn’t know. In your eyes you were just trying to please God.”
“Do you think I’ll go to prison?”
“Unfortunately, yes. But here, take this with you.” He gave Frank a Bible. “It will teach you all about God!”
“Thank you, Elijah. You have been so nice to me.”
After saying goodbye, Frank was taken to prison. As Elijah watched from the window, Jimmy came up behind him.
“Hey,” he said in a calm voice, “I wanted to thank you for praying for us. Whatever you did, it worked.”
“All I did was ask God for help. He did the hard part.”
“Do you think I could come to church with you tomorrow?”
Elijah smiled. “Of course, you can!”
Thanks to my grandma, my sister, and a church mentor who also happens to be an English teacher at a high school.