The Sixty-Second Psalm
Fiction by Gary Piper
“A David psalm God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. How long will you gang up on me? How long will you run with the bullies? There’s nothing to you, any of you— rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters, Anthills plotting to bring down mountains, far gone in make-believe. You talk a good line, but every “blessing” breathes a curse. God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. Man as such is smoke, woman as such, a mirage. Put them together, they’re nothing; two times nothing is nothing. And a windfall, if it comes— don’t make too much of it. God said this once and for all; how many times Have I heard it repeated? “Strength comes Straight from God.” Love to you, Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work!” (Psalm 62:1-12 MSG)
“Listen to the wind it’s really blowing up a storm now,” Jessie replied. “Are all the cows in from the pasture?”
“I’m pretty sure they usually head for the barn when the weather turns nasty,” Geoff replied, “but I’d better go check on Myrtle her calf is due anytime now.”
“Be careful Geoff the weather service is calling for tornados all evening,” she replied.
“God’s got my back so I’m not worried,” he answered. “Has David gotten home from school yet?”
“About 15 minutes ago. He headed straight for his room without saying a word. I wonder if the other kids are making fun of him again. I think I go check on him.”
“Leave him alone, Jessie, some things he’s got to work out on his own. If he needs help he’ll ask for it he always does,” Geoff replied, heading toward the door.
“It’s just not fair. David’s not stupid or retarded his brain just works slower that’s all. The doctor’s even said so. So why can’t others see and understand that?” She asked.
“I don’t know, Jessie, but I do know that we have to have patience God will help the three of us work things out. I’ll be back in a few minutes and we’ll talk some more.”
“I’m tired of that God crap. His son was born perfect he could have seen ours wasn’t,” she replied sarcastically.
Geoff wanted to respond but the storm was gathering power and he knew he had to check on the herd. Opening the door he stepped out onto the porch suddenly after closing the door a sudden gale force gust of wind slammed him back into the door. Temporarily stunned he paused before pushing his way against the wind. After taking a few steps suddenly large pieces of hail began pelting him he put his head down to protect himself and began running against the wind. The fifty yards to the barn seemed like fifty miles.
Just as he opened the door to the barn the wind died to nothing and the hail stopped. In the distance, Geoff heard what sounded like a freight train. Looking to the west there were two tornados about a mile or so away. Quickly closing the door, he rushed to the intercom connected to the house, “Jessie, get David and head for the basement two twisters headed right for us. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I’m going to let the cows out into the south woods they’ll be safer there.”
Before he could do anything else, Jessie’s voice cracked over the intercom, “Geoff, you get your butt back to this house right now. Your God will look out for those cows.”
“I won’t be but a minute, besides I don’t think God would mind me helping him out. I’ll let you know when I’m headed back to the house.” Seconds later he was opening the gate to the south pasture which was covered with trees offering him more protection than the barn would.
Suddenly Geoff noticed Myrtle had not returned. “Myrtle’s had her calf,” he said out loud. Looking in the direction of the west pasture he suddenly realized they were probably in the path of the tornados.
Quickly moving to the intercom, “Jessie, Myrtle isn’t back yet I’m going to the west pasture and find her. She must have given birth to her calf. Are you two settled into the basement?”
The intercom came to life, “Geoff you get back her right now! We’re beginning to hear the storms so that means they are getting close. Those animals are not worth your life. Do you hear me, Geoffrey Cannon?”
“I’m a cattleman, Jessie and those animals are part of this farm, and it is my obligation to do all I can to see that they remain a part of it. After all, if Jesus can go after lost sheep I can go after a lost cow and her calf. Don’t worry I’ll be okay,” Geoff replied.
“You get back here Geoffrey Cannon, do you hear me?” But it was too late he already switched off the intercom and was heading for the four-wheeler. Seconds later the motor roared to life. Expecting resistance from the wind when opening the door he pushed with all his might but in stead the door swung open easily sending him crashing to the ground.
Picking himself up he headed for the four-wheeler he revved up the motor and slowly moved through the doorway. Dismounting he closed the doors got back on it was then the calmness finally sunk in. The air was dead, no wind, no rain, no noise just silence. Turning and looking into the direction he’d be going Geoff noticed the tornados were still there but it was as if something was holding them. “That you holding back those storms, God?” he asked smiling.
Minutes later, he was bouncing and zigzagging through the field looking for the missing cow and her calf. About half way through the field Geoff’s four-wheeler slammed into what felt like a massive wall of concrete that sent him flying through the air. The last thing he remembered was looking at the ground far below then all went black.
Meanwhile in the basement of their home Jessie suddenly knew something was wrong. Somehow, she knew Geoff was in trouble, deep trouble. “God, don’t you take my Geoff from me!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.
“What’s wrong, mother?” David asked.
Forgetting David was close by Jessie cursed under her breath when she realized he had heard her. Just as she was about the reply she glanced out the basement window, she could see one of the tornados bearing down on the house. With her mind racing she looked David straight in the eyes, “Listen carefully, David,” she said, “I want you to go out the back door and run as fast as you can to the south woods. There’s a storm coming and you’ll be safe there plus you can keep your eyes on the cows too. Do you understand what I just said?”
“I’m not stupid mother, of course I understand. Where are you going?” He asked.
Thinking fast so she wouldn’t frighten David she replied, “The motor stalled on the four wheeler so I have to take some tools out to your dad. He’s out with Myrtle and her newborn calf.”
“Myrtle had her calf!” David replied, excitedly, “Can I go see it?”
“Not now,” she replied, “wait until we bring it back to the barn. Right now, I want you to run as fast as you can to the south woods and look after the rest of the herd. Will you do that for me, David?”
By now, the tornado was sounding like a freight train bearing down on them. “Run, David!” She exclaimed.
By the time, they reached the back door the storm had already started ripping the porch to pieces. Once they cleared the house Jessie turned to see what direction the storm was going when suddenly their house exploded sending wreckage in all directions. Instantly she tackled David and through herself on him in an effort to protect him.
“Stop it God! Stop it right now!” she cried out as loud as she could.
Picking her head up she noticed a man standing in front of them, “Is that you, Geoff?” she managed to say.
But the man remained silent staring into the approaching storm. “Geoff is that you?” she questioned again in a louder voice. The man remained silent as if he’d never heard her. Fear began to creep in on Jessie not from the approaching storm but from the silent stranger.
Just as she was about the ask the man who he was suddenly the brightest white light she’d ever seen encircled him then massive white wings appeared from behind him. Covering both David and Jessie with his wings, he looked into storm and commanded, “Peace be still!” Instantly the raging tornado disappeared!
“What happened, mother?” David asked.
Picking her head up and rolling off David she looked around and replied, “The storm disappeared? How? Who?”
“It was the angel, mother he made the storm go away,” David confidently replied.
Although she hadn’t heard a voice, she had seen a strange man standing over them but deep in her heart, she knew angels did not exist. “The only spirit world that exists,” she recalled her father saying, “is the one in a whiskey bottle and if you bring that God crap into this house again I’ll beat you within an inch of your life.” At the same time, she felt the beating he’d given her when she asked if she could go to church one Christmas Eve.
“There are no such things as angels, David,” she replied.
“But mother he’s right there standing on top of what is left of our barn,” David replied, pointing toward in that direction.
Turning in the direction David was pointing Jessie expected so see a pile of rubble that used to be their barn hovering just above it was the man she saw earlier. At first unable to speak she stood staring at what her eyes couldn’t believe.
Suddenly in her mind she saw her father pointing at her and screaming at the top of his lungs, “there are no angels, no Jesus, no God, and no you if you keep bringing the subject up. Do you understand me?” Instantly she jerked back as if she were dodging his huge fist.
David’s excited voice snapped her out of her memory, “Do you see him, mom? He’s right there can’t you see him?” he exclaimed as he pointed again.
“I see him, David! I see him but I don’t believe what I’m seeing. He spoke to me earlier and made the storm go away. What’s he doing?” she asked.
“He’s looking for father he told me the tornado had picked him up.”
“He told you that?” Jessie interrupted.
“He talks to me all the time but this is the first time I’ve ever seen him. His name is Gabriel and he’s one of the most important angels in heaven,” David replied.
“If you’ve talked to him before why haven’t you told us, David?”
“If you don’t believe father when he tries to tell you about Jesus how are you suppose to believe an 11 year old boy who talks to angels?”
Their conversation was interrupted by what sounded like a jet plane taking off coming from the barn. Quickly turning around Jessie and David both caught a glimpse of the angel taking flight.
Seconds later, the angel reappeared hovering about three feet in the air in front of mother and son, “David, your father is okay but he is hurt and needs your help.”
“He can’t help his father,” Jessie interjected, “he’ll get lost and the storm will take him too. Tell me where Geoff is and I will go get him.”
“No!” the angel commanded in a loud voice, “The Spirit is not strong enough in you. Do not place human limits on your son he has been highly blessed by the Father with the Holy Spirit. It must be him.” Suddenly the angel disappeared leaving the two of them alone.
Turning to David Jessie said, “You can’t go! There’s another tornado out there.”
“Don’t stop me mother. You heard what Gabriel said. He’s an angel; mother, an Archangel, and he can’t lie. If you don’t have faith in the angel, you must have faith in me. I can do this mother! Besides with no telephone you’ll need to go after an ambulance.”
Deep inside Jessie knew David was right, “But you’re only 11 years old David!”
“You need to be going, mother it will do us no good finding father if we can’t help him out,” David’s voice sounded with authority.
Thinking about what to say next Jessie heard Geoff’s soft voice, “He’ll be okay, and Jessie Gabriel won’t let anything happen to him.”
“You be careful, David,” Jessie said as she headed for the pickup truck behind them.
Seconds later David stood alone watching the truck bound down the driveway. “Well, Gabriel it’s you and me,” he said looking into the darkening sky.
“Follow the light the David, follow the Light,” he heard Gabriel saying.
Instantly about a hundred feet in front a small light appeared. As David moved toward the light, it moved away from him. Remembering his bible stories about the light that lead the Israelites after they left Egypt, “It’s the Israelite Light!” he exclaimed.
The light was taking him toward the west pasture in the distance David could see another funnel cloud forming, “fear only not following the Light, David,” David heard Gabriel’s voice.
In David’s mind, he could see a tiny ship bouncing around on a stormy sea. He could tell the ship was in grave danger he could also hear the frantic cries for help coming from the 12 men who were on the ship. Then out of the corner of minds eye he caught sight of someone walking on the water toward the tiny ship.
Then one of the men got out of the boat and starting walking on the water too David stood horrified as the one who’d gotten out of the boat began to sink, “Save me Master,” he heard the frantic voice cry for help.
The man walking on the water ran up to the sinking man and pulled him up. Seconds later the man who walked on the water raised his arms and suddenly the storm stopped. “That was Jesus who walked into the storm to save those fellows wasn’t it Gabriel?” he asked.
“Yes, it was, David,” David heard an unfamiliar voice, “I am the Light, those who follow me will never walk in the dark, they will walk into storms and not be harmed, they will be strengthened as a mighty lion and soar to unheard of heights like a mighty eagle. Follow me, David it is I who calms the storms both inside and out.”
“Is that you Gabriel? You don’t sound the same,” David asked.
“Gabriel is with your father, David and will stay there until you arrive. Go quickly and remember to follow the Light.”
Suddenly knowing who was talking to him David replied, “thank you, Jesus.”
Meanwhile nearly a quarter of a mile away in the west pasture Geoff lay on his back nearly 500 feet from where the tornado had picked him up. Unable to feel his legs he lay motionless. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of Myrtle and her newborn calf coming toward him. “Myrtle, old girl how did you ever survive that tornado,” he said as if he were expecting her to answer him.
Sensing trouble Myrtle stopped turned faced the west and saw a huge funnel cloud bearing down on the three of them. Suddenly she stopped tilted her head as if she were listening. Without making, a sound she trotted over to Geoff put her head down and started pushing on him as if she were trying to roll him over. Winching in pain he said, “What in tar nation are you trying to do, Myrtle?” Myrtle only pushed harder.
Spreading his arms out in an effort to stay in place Geoff screamed, “Stop it, Myrtle you are hurting me! Get out of here and get your calf to safety in the south pasture where the rest of the herd is.”
Of course, the cow did not understand what Geoff was saying and kept on trying to push him. The harder Geoff fought the more Myrtle pushed the more Geoff hurt. Both of them could hear the storm getting closer. “Get out of here Myrtle!” he screamed.
Again, ignoring his screams Myrtle gave one strong push and as she made contact with him, there was an excruciating sensation of pain then both legs went numb.
Geoff immediately relaxed his arms and rolled on his right side without thinking about the numbness in his legs he suddenly understood what Myrtle was trying to do. Pulling both arms in he began trying to roll himself to a ditch about 35 feet away. Two minutes later Myrtle gave one last push and Geoff rolled into a deep ditch along side of the road.
Myrtle then turned her attention on her calf that was wobbling about 10 feet behind. Seconds later, she gave one last push and the calf landed along side Geoff at the bottom of the ditch.
By this time, the only thing to be heard was what sounded like an exploding freight train bearing down on them. Suddenly Geoff felt something warm lying across him. Myrtle had carefully spread herself on top of Geoff and her calf to protect them from the storm.
“Father,” Geoff prayed, “please don’t let Myrtle’s effort to save us be wasted.” Myrtle turned her head just in time to see the angel standing at the top of the ditch with his wings spread out. Seconds later miraculously the tornado went around the trio traveled another two or three hundred feet and disappeared.
“Myrtle, ole girl you saved my life,” Geoff said, breathing a sigh of relief. Myrtle simply mooed as if to say, “It wasn’t me,” and carefully stood up. Signaling her calf, the new born bull still wobbly got to his feet and look around as if wondering what all the commotion was about.
Moments later it began raining very hard instantly Geoff knew he wasn’t out of danger yet he knew the rain that followed tornados were like cloudbursts. Lifting his head and looking around Myrtle and her calf were headed for the south pasture. Geoff began struggling with all he had to drag himself out of the ditch, which moments earlier had been a haven for him, but it was no use the incline was to steep. The only thing he managed to do was to roll on his back but his head was down in the lowest part. “God,” he prayed out loud, “you didn’t save me from that tornado just to have me drown in this ditch but if you don’t send help now I will,”
In the distance he heard David’s voice, “Father, where are you? It’s me David.”
Lifting his head Geoff called out at the top of his lungs, “David, I’m in the ditch! Hurry it is filling up with water. Did you bring help?”
When David heard, his fathers faint voice he stopped, “Keeping talking father so I can find you.”
“Thank you Lord,” Geoff shouted.
“David, I’m in the ditch,” Geoff called out, and repeated it four or five times suddenly standing at the top he spotted David.
“I’m paralyzed and can’t move did you bring help, David?” he asked.
At first David started to panic himself when he heard what his father had said but then something told him not to worry. “Didn’t have time to get help,” he replied carefully climbing into the ditch, “besides I’ve got all the help I need.”
Starting to panic a second time he replied, “I’m too heavy for you David, you can’t pull me out. Get out and go get some help as the ditch fills up I’ll try to swim out,” he replied, trying to sound believable.
“Don’t worry, father,” David confidently said, “the angel will help me pull you out. David grabbed a hold of his father’s arms and began pulling with all his might. At first, Geoff didn’t move and David slipped and fell but he picked himself up grabbed his father’s arms and second time and began pulling with all he was worth. Suddenly Geoff began sliding up the steep side of the ditch. Seconds later the two of them were at the top of the ditch.
“How did you do that, David?” Geoff asked breathing a sigh of relief.
“It was the angel, father. He’s been watching over us all night,” David replied.
Geoff had always heard about angels helping people but it never occurred that one would ever help his family out. “An angel, uh?” he said.
“Not just any angel, father, he’s Gabriel the Archangel,” David confidently replied.
“How come I’ve never seen him?”
“He moves to fast for you to see him, father,” David, answered.
As Geoff was, getting ready to reply but he heard someone approaching. Seeing her at the same time David shouted, “Mother! We’re over here come quick father can’t move.”
Running up to them, “What happened? Are you alright Geoff?” she excitedly asked, dropping to her knees.
“A short while ago I decided to go flying without any wings or an airplane and the flight was wonderful but the landing left me paralyzed,” Geoff replied, in a reassuring tone.
“Oh, my god,” she replied, “We’ve lost everything and now you’re paralyzed. What more can go wrong?”
“Don’t panic Jessie,” Geoff said,” God will look out for us and make everything come out okay.”
“You don’t really expect me to believe that crap do you?”
“I would hope you would. It’s all we got right now, Jessie,” Geoff replied.
“The God you believe in paralyzed you Geoff and now you say he’s going to make it right! I suppose he’s going beam himself here heal you and then beam back to heaven, right?”
“He doesn’t have to come down Gabriel’s here already and he can make father better,” David interjected.
Forgetting about her experience earlier, she replied sarcastically, “Oh, I forgot there are angels among us.”
“Go easy Jessie, David believes in him.”
“He is real mother; don’t you remember back at the barn? He’s kneeing at father’s head and he told me to tell you if you’ll believe you’ll see a miracle,” David replied.
Instantly she remembered the stranger who’d protected them earlier and as she relived the experience, something began growing deep inside and as it grew, the hardness her father had pounded in her heart began melting away. “Father God, how could I have been so blind as to believe by earthly father over you? So many times, you have tried to remove the shell around my heart and I would not let you. Did it have to go this far for me to believe? Please, Oh, Lord if you are angry and must punish someone I am the guilty one not Geoff he has faithfully reached out to me all these years bless him now Lord and punish me. Amen.”
Seconds later a pure white hand suddenly appeared and slowly moved toward the back of Geoff’s neck. When the hand touched Geoff, he was suddenly encircled by a brilliant white light. Because the light had been so bright, Jessie and David were temporarily blinded but as their sight returned, the silhouette of someone standing in front of them took shape. At first, they thought it was the angel but when they heard, “I’m okay! The angel touched me and healed me! Praise the Lord it’s a miracle!”
“I knew he would do it! I knew he would do it!” David shouted.
Jessie was speechless. Then looking heavenward replied, “thank you, Lord. My life is yours.”
Twenty minutes later the three headed for what was left of their home. On the way, Geoff told them how Myrtle had saved his life. Walking into the rubble of once was their house, Geoff turned to, David, “How about a scripture for us David? Can you think of one to fit the occasion?
Replying almost immediately “Got one. Wanna hear it? I can do it from memory.”
“We sure do David. Let’s have it,” Jessie replied.
“So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. Man as such is smoke, woman as such, a mirage. Put them together, they’re nothing; two times nothing is nothing. And a windfall, if it comes— don’t make too much of it. God said this once and for all; how many times Have I heard it repeated? “Strength comes Straight from God.”
“That’s beautiful, David. Where that one come from?” Geoff asked
“Psalms chapter 62 verses 8 through 11,” he replied, “it’s one of my favorites. Gabriel told me if I thought about it a lot the day would come when it would be true.”
“And it did come true, David,” Jessie replied.