Power - a short story
I am Marcus. At the sound of my name, the weak tremble, even the strong feel faint. My rise to the top is legendary; my ruthless climb left the battlefield a bloodbath. The memory of it keeps anyone from challenging me. No one dares to stand in my way. The power up here is intoxicating. I speak and it is done, my desire is your command, I get what I need before I even know what I want. If you are blessed enough to grace my presence, my hypnotic skills make sure I get anything I wish from you. But it is doubtful that you will ever see me in person. I have great wealth to smooth my way, lawyers to keep it easy, connections to turn the right heads and a security team to take care of any problems. Nothing is denied me; no one is greater than I.
Or so I thought.
Then I met the preacher. He dared to stand in my way, to keep me from the five little acres of ocean front property I desired. Money meant nothing to him. My connections were useless, threats from lawyers and the security team fell on deaf ears. The PI could dig up no dirt and the scoundrels could find no one to betray him. We tried to destroy his little church by the sea. An accident that was sure to send a message, but the fire wouldn’t burn. We falsified some records, but they got lost. I sent spies to infiltrate his congregation, but he got to them and I never saw them again. It became a matter of principle. No one defies me and gets away with it. I had a reputation to uphold. Mercenaries were hired; I put a price on his head. That property could make me millions. How hard could it be to get rid of a simple preacher? Still I got no results, only excuses, and heads rolled. But I still had a problem.
It became apparent that I would have to take care of it myself. I bought a suit off the rack and went to a Sunday service to get a good look at my opponent. I was amazed at what I saw. How could this puny little man stand in my way? There was nothing special about him. He was plain looking, bookish, almost frail. He wasn’t even well spoken, although there was a power in his words. Something I couldn’t put my finger on. This was going to be easy. I introduced myself as a man looking for answers and humbly requested a counseling session. He was happy to comply. He had no idea who I was. I would chew him up and spit him out.
The next day we met in his office. It was small, worn and as comfortable as a limited budget would allow. I was surprised by the kindness in his eyes. I wasn’t used to being viewed with compassion instead of fear. I felt unnerved, out of my element as I spun my made up tale of woe. Without realizing it, I was injecting a little more truth than I planned. I found myself wanting to come clean, confess the emptiness I didn’t even know I felt until that moment. This would never do. I had to get control of myself. For the first time I could remember, I felt powerless before someone, unable to work my magic. This guy seemed to see right through me. On the surface he looked harmless enough, but there was power behind those eyes. A kind of power I had never experienced before. I had to get out of there. This was obviously a bad idea. I had to get him on my turf, my sanctuary. I scheduled another session, but this time it would be at my office, the center of my power and influence. No more hiding behind cheap clothes and made up stories. I would confront him with the fullness of who I was and demand my way. He would tremble before me and grovel as every other person I ever met had done.
I did not sleep well that night. Every which way I tossed and turned, those kind preacher eyes saw right through me. They sifted through my darkest secrets, exposed my most evil deeds. A bottle of vodka didn’t shut them out, only made it worse. I woke up the next morning hung over and exhausted. I didn’t know how he did it, but I couldn’t get that preacher out of my mind. It was like he had some kind of power over me. I felt him looking over my shoulder, judging my every move. I imagined him around every corner, waiting for me, wanting to sell me his religion. By the end of the day I started feeling pretty silly. How could I have let one insignificant little man get to me like this? He must have used some new kind of hypnosis or mind trick on me to get into my head this way. I had to admire him. I also wanted this power for myself. Tomorrow was our meeting. I would know his secrets then.
The morning came, bright and clear. I eagerly awaited the preacher’s arrival. I set stage and dressed the part. This would be an entirely different approach. I would be the one in control and he would be the fish out of water. The poor guy seemed overwhelmed from the start. Who could blame him, everything from the layers of security to the understated grandeur of my inner sanctuary was designed to infuse the visitor with my importance, wealth and power. The man had probably never even dreamed of such luxury. I had to give him credit; he got ahold of himself pretty quickly. Then he turned those kind eyes on me and my stomach flipped. But this time, here in my safety zone, it made me angry. How dare he try to influence me! I demanded to know the source of the power he possessed. He looked confused, claimed he didn’t know of any power he had over me. It had to be an act. I made it perfectly clear that I was able to make all his dreams come true and told him all the things I could do to make his life miserable. It just depended on if he would give me what I wanted. I insisted I would get my will either way and the offer was a courtesy to him, an opportunity of a lifetime. He didn’t know it was a bluff, I had already tried everything at my disposal to get around him. Through it all, he stayed perfectly calm, showed no fear and refused to give in.
I didn’t know what to do. I was defeated. No one had ever thwarted me before. I had to know how he did it. I confessed all my attempts to seize the land his little church sat on and how they all failed, one after the other. I admitted my failure to get rid of him, to discredit him. I wanted to know why he didn’t fear me, how he could remain so calm in my presence. I asked how he had gotten into my head after our first meeting and tortured me with my past, how could he know? At that, a light dawned and a grin lit up his face. He was excited as he told me his answer. He wasn’t the one who had power over me, it was the Holy Spirit. For a minute I expected to see a ghost, then I decided he must be off his rocker. What on earth was the Holy Spirit? He told me about God, who He was and what he had done for me and how he wanted me to give him control of my life. Willingly, allowing him to use me to accomplish His will, not mine. It was all new. I didn’t know what to think. Before this, God was only a swear word, I never believed he was real. But after what I had seen, how could I doubt. I couldn’t just give up my power so easily, I needed to know more.
As it turns out, the Holy Spirit is God. He has the complete power of God at work among us. My power is merely child’s play compared to the power of God. He spoke, and the world came into existence. We might think we make our own plans, but he has the final say in their success. In the end, it’s God who gets what He wants, when He wants it and there is nothing any of us can do about it. Not even me. My power was an illusion; here I was faced with the real thing. I had messed with God’s people and I was lucky to live to tell about it. The preacher and his flock had been on their knees. Not only had they begged God to save their little church by the sea, but they had prayed for me as well. They fought me with prayers and love, and they had won. I had seen the power of the Holy Spirit in action, now I had to decide what I was going to do about it.