The angel looked at God’s creation milling aimlessly around. The mall, this conglomeration of stores selling various and sundry items, seemed to beckon humans from their reality into some type of coma that numbed their daily stress. Sadly, few sought the True Cure.
The angel had never spoken the name given to him. That was the rule; he couldn’t speak unless spoken to. He knew no mirror, but he was aware of his appearance. He appeared as a man, with dark skin, fiftyish. His clothes were haggard. His teeth were broken, chipped, missing. His form was scattered with tattoos and piercings. The look of him spoke of loss and subtle desperation. But if someone would only look at him, into his eyes, they would see that all was not lost. He had hope, waiting to be ignited by someone—anyone who would speak to him. He had a blessing, ready to give, but so far, no one who found him was willing to receive. He sighed deeply. These people so desperately needed to be blessed, but they didn’t seek it.
Malachi, the name he would excitedly share, eagerly seized his daily post—the bench outside the principal entrance of the mall. He prayed and waited, waited and prayed.
The first soul approached in a slouching gait, eyes cast to the sidewalk. The man was painfully conscious of Rage clawing at his insides desperate to get out. Rage was busy attacking the soul, blowing violent wind into the cyclone of hate that started long ago. Malachi sensed the source of the spirit—deep rooted rejection. The Master laid the soul’s name on Malachi’s heart--Ezra. An ancient name. An old soul. A tired soul. Ezra’s eyes darted from one end of the bustling parking lot to the other, looking for someone, searching.
Eventually, Ezra’s eyes grazed Malachi’s face. For a moment, Malachi saw a glimmer of what could be— hope. The messenger prayed that Ezra would speak, just one word.
Just then Deceit approached, attached to a sinister being with eyes that reflected numbness caused by abuse. Malachi lowered his head but watched the exchange of money and a package. The human covered in Deceit sauntered away, while Ezra sat beside Malachi, staring at the unopened bundle. Malachi prayed as he observed Ezra’s shaking hands and clenching fists. Sweat beaded on Ezra’s forehead and dripped onto the creases of his fingers. The internal battle was taking place before Malachi’s eyes, unseen to all in the earthly realm, visible to all in the heavens. The stench that accosted Malachi’s senses reeked of decayed potential. Malachi could feel the pull of The Spirit on his heart. He prayed for Ezra but wept as the young man succumbed to the desire of the flesh. Malachi stared at Apathy as it wrapped Ezra in a suffocating bear hug, strangling the motivation out of him. Ezra rose and drifted away, ignorant of the blessing left behind.
Malachi waited as time passed.
Malachi didn’t know who he was waiting for; he didn’t fully understand his purpose. It didn’t matter. The Creator knew. A young man, around 35 years of age, approached seemingly talking to himself, but then Malachi noticed his ear piece. Jordan. Hurried talk of a program, advertising, food and beverage arrangement, a speaker, and the seating capacity of the sanctuary flooded Malachi’s ears. Somewhere—deep inside—a light shone. He could see this one belonged to The Master. Surely he would speak, at least make eye contact. However, Distraction covered Jordan’s eyes and was causing restlessness in the young man’s being. As a result, Jordan had no direction or intent. Malachi was shocked at the busyness that plagued Jordan and then realized that his growth had been stunted by a desire to do rather than sit at The Master’s feet and be still. Jordan finished his phone call and sat beside Malachi, silent, obviously distressed. He placed the phone on the bench beside him and put his head in his hands. A sigh had escaped before he picked up his phone and punched another button.
“Honey, yeah. I’m going to be late tonight. Yeah, I know. Something came up at church. It's not just another meeting. I have to arrange the dinner.”
Malachi observed unshed tears in the man’s eyes. Frustration. Trapped. Confusion. No peace. The Power was there, but unused, ignored, and forgotten.
Jordan winced at words said on the other end of the conversation. “Tell her I’ll make it next time. I promise.”
Jordan ended the conversation and ran his fingers through his short, cropped hair. He cast a sideways glance in Malachi’s direction. Maybe . . . Hope dissipated as Malachi received the pamphlet that Jordan reached into his pocket and gave him. By the time the messenger looked up, the man was gone. Malachi shook his head as he glanced at the religious tract describing the love of Jesus.
Malachi dozed. More time passed. The sound of tears brought his attention back to the surroundings. On the other end of the bench was a woman in her fifties—distressed. She had a tissue and was twisting it as if she were trying to squeeze some semblance of joy from the thin slip of cotton. Depression. This woman, Leah, was covered in darkness. She couldn’t see the light of day because her soul had been eclipsed by a physical imbalance. She contained a unique kind of love—perhaps only the kind that a mother or a grandmother can have. She was alone and questioned her worth. She had lost the love of her life, not to death, but to sin. She was searching for something, anything to hold on to. Malachi closed his eyes, praying she would speak. Depression had internalized her focus and despair had taken over. Malachi watched as the woman rose from the bench and left without a word or a look. Silence.
Then, a guttural sound came from the messenger. He wept for God’s creation, absorbing the blindness most of them embraced. He didn’t understand why The Master continued to wait for them. Malachi opened his eyes and for a moment thought he was back in heaven. A beautiful child of around six or seven stood before him. Her face was framed by a head full of dark corkscrew curls. Gracie. Malachi smiled as he observed the complete innocence reflected in her large, brown eyes.
She spoke. “What’s your name?”
Malachi couldn’t help it; the tears began to flow. He had waited and prayed, and his prayer was answered—by a child.
He whispered, “Malachi.”
Gracie looked down at the sidewalk and then lifted her heart shaped face to his expectantly. Her voice became a whisper, “You know Jesus, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do.”
Gracie’s face lit up with an unearthly light. She confided, “I know Jesus, too.”
Malachi raised his old brows. “You do?”
Curls bobbed. “Yes, I pray to Jesus every night. I pray for Mama and Daddy and Gammy and Papa and Uncle…” She paused. “Did you know Jesus hears my prayers, Mister?”
The years peeled off of Malachi’s form as he enthusiastically replied, “Yes, Gracie. Jesus does hear your prayers. And He will answer them. Do you trust Him, Gracie?”
She nodded with wide eyes. And just then a veil lifted and Malachi saw Gracie knelt beside her bed—a young woman knelt beside her. They prayed together. They prayed for Ezra, her uncle, Jordan, her daddy, and Leah, her grandmother. Gracie and the woman prayed for them to know God’s peace. Malachi then realized his purpose and the blessing he was supposed to give.