Bella allowed the music to strengthen her as she reached for the garden door. Taking a deep breath, she slowly let it out trying to calm herself. She had to be clear headed when she found Pastor Toby. It wouldn’t do her any good if she was too scared to say what she wanted, what she needed to say. She took another deep breath, held it, and opened the door.
At first all she saw was the flowers and plants he tended. A mixture of disappointment and relief surged through her. Maybe he wasn’t here after all. But then she saw something move at the end of the row and heard a very quiet chuckle. Pastor Toby! Had he seen her? As if he had heard her thoughts, he called out, “Hi, Bella! So glad you’re here. Come look what I found today.”
Bella walked up to him and looked where he pointed. Next to a tiny, empty chrysalis was a brand new butterfly. Wings still drying, the beautiful turquoise and black insect rested on a leaf. Bella stared at the tiny creature, tears filling her eyes as her heart seemed to grow too big to contain. What was going on? She had seen plenty of butterflies before, but none had affected her as this one was doing. If she wasn’t careful, she was going to lose herself in the flood of feelings rising in her.
She tore her eyes from the butterfly and looked at Pastor Toby. “I need to ask you something,” she said.
“I know,” he said, smiling at her. “Let’s do this.”
Now that the moment was here, she didn’t know exactly how to start. Should she be blunt or lead into it more slowly? Not being one to beat around the bush, she asked, “Are you human?”
“Nope,” he answered looking at her with a hint of joyful expectation.
She found looking into his eyes to be as emotional as looking at the butterfly. Tears beginning to stream down her face, she tried to turn away. She did NOT want to cry. She didn’t like to cry and avoided it at all costs. So why was she crying now? It didn’t make any sense. Was he doing something to her? She could hear the music from inside the house getting louder and seemingly to swirl around her. There was something in that music. Something that seemed to reach deep inside her. That’s it! Maybe he was brainwashing her through the music! But the harder she tried to turn away, the more the tears came. She had to do something – anything – to break this.. this… mind control.
“Um… can we go to the lake?” she asked him. “We can talk on the way.” That would get her away from the music, as well as give her a reason to not make eye contact and a chance to regain her composure.
“Sure, whatever makes you feel more comfortable.” He turned and gestured towards the lake, inviting her to take the first step.
Released from his gaze, she started walking quickly towards the lake, hurrying to get out of reach of the music. She noticed he matched her pace, staying right by her side.
“So, you’re not human?” she asked as they walked.
“No, I’m not.”
“Are you here to capture this planet?”
“If by capture you mean take control, yes. I do plan to take control one day.”
Surprised to not only get direct answers for a change, but to be told right out that he planned on taking control, she was speechless. But only for a minute.
“Why?” she burst out. “Why take our planet when you have your own?”
“This is my planet. I’ll just be taking back control of it.”
“Your planet? You used to have control? When did you lose it? How?”
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you someday. But I think you have a more important question to ask me, don’t you.”
She had to admit he was right. As curious as she was about the control issue, it was a distraction from what she really wanted to know.
“What are you going to do to us? To me?”
“Nothing you don’t want done. But I want to heal you of so many injuries you’ve suffered in your life. I want to make your life better. And I want you to live with me forever.”
“But what if I don’t want to live with you forever?”
“I will never force you. It’s totally our choice.”
“And what if I told you I was going to warn everyone about you? What if I talked to reporters about your plans?”
“That would be awesome!”
Taken aback, totally not expecting that answer, she stopped and looked at him. “You don’t care if I tell the whole world about you?”
“No. In fact, I wish you would. I wish all my children would.”
“Aren’t you afraid of military attacking you and forcing you to leave?”
“No, they can’t do any more than what I allow them. And I’m not going anywhere. I have many people yet to save here.”
“But you’re just one alien. Wait, is Jude… of course he is. So there are only two of you aliens. Against a whole army. And you don’t feel threatened?”
Bella continued walking, trying to make sense of all this. None of her scenarios had even come close to this. Why wasn’t he threatened? Did he think he was more powerful than an entire army? Evidently he did. What kind of alien could be this powerful? A whole ship load of them might feel invincible, but just one or two?
And why did she still feel the song swirling throughout her inner being? She couldn’t really hear it with her ears anymore, but it was like her very soul was reaching out and soaking it in. Her heart felt open and raw, seeking his touch, his presence. And she felt a sense of longing growing in her – longing to be with him no matter where he went. To be with him forever. Just the thought of losing him should the military kill him created a pain so deep she couldn’t bear it. Tears began streaming down her face again as she turned to him.
“What kind of alien are you?”
“Alien?” He laughed. “I never said I was an alien.”
“But you said…”
“I said I wasn’t human.”
“Then… who are you?”
“God? Like God-in-the-bible God?”
Just two simple words, but it was enough. All the confusion fled her mind as if a bright light was turned on. For a moment she saw clearly who she stood before. This was the almighty, all powerful God! The Creator of the heavens and the earth! This was GOD!
She fell face down before Him, sobbing and feeling so insignificant and dirty. She was nothing compared to Him.
“Oh, God, I am so sorry. Please forgive me for all my evil thoughts against you.”
“You’re forgiven,” He immediately responded with a voice so gentle and loving that she dared to look up. Then it hit her. This was also the One who had made her – and loved her – and only wanted her love in return. As she looked into His eyes, she felt His love for her totally engulf her. Her heart swelled until she thought it would burst. And she knew beyond a doubt, that there was nowhere she’d rather be than here in His presence. Forever.
“I love You,” she told Him. “I want to be with You forever. I never want to be separated from You even for a moment.”
“That’s totally possible,” He answered. “All you have to do is invite me inside your heart. My Spirit will come and set up dwelling there. And we will never ever be apart again.”
“Yes! Yes! Please come into my heart!”
“Done!” He face lit up with joy so brightly He seemed to glow! Yet she had no trouble seeing His hand reach down to raise her up. Standing next to Him, tears drying on her cheeks, she couldn’t resist hugging Him. As her arms wrapped around Him, His joy enveloped her until she felt like she would burst if she didn’t start dancing or something. So she did! She danced all the way to the pier with Him dancing right beside her. Breathless, she sat down and turned to Him.
“I have some questions…” she began.
And He laughed.