Melanie Worlds has run out of luck; no job, no friends, no future. Desperately wanting to replace the middleclass life she once knew up on “the Hill”, her faith is being tested to the limits. JT, her newest friend, is up to something, but Melanie isn’t sure what it is. And then Brad, her high school crush, comes back to town. She can’t let him know how bad it is, or he’ll lose all respect for her. And, to make matters worse, someone is trying to break into her apartment.
None of her prayers are getting answered, and she feels all alone. But she’s not. Two guardian angels have been assigned to help these three humans. The angels know God’s plan, and it’s going to take everything they’ve got to pull it off. To battle temptation, the angels will need to instill courage; courage to dare, courage to dream, and most of all, courage to love one another.
“There sure is a lot of crying going on down there,” Anthony sighed as he rubbed his wings and leaned back on his cloud. They were outside the city limits of Heaven, hovering over the Gulf of Mexico. The sounds were faint, but there were so many of them; prayers, pleas, sounds of surprise; collected together into a cacophonous din. It was almost like the noise one hears by putting an ear to a sea shell, only much louder and much more important.
“Sometimes, it makes me wonder,” Anthony said with fatigue and pushed his sagging halo back in place. He was the newest angel in this division. He had broad shoulders and a commanding presence, but his inexperience with mortals made his halo sag with worry.
“What are you wondering about?” Stuart, his senior, asked as he flipped through a list of assignments. Stuart was the commanding angel at this post, overseeing the activities of seventy-seven spirits, each assigned to a human below. He wouldn’t step in unless he was needed, just like Raphael, the seraph who was in charge of him. Raphael was the Chief Guardian of the angels, the angel of Providence, who watches over all humanity. He, and all the angels below him, were concerned with pilgrims seeking God.
Raphael had given Stuart his orders. Stuart had given his “men” their assignments. The gold stars rimming the collar of Stuart’s shirt indicated that he was familiar with the challenges Anthony might face. He had been assigned a similar duty once himself. It wasn’t long ago, only a thousand years in human terms that he had filled the shoes that Anthony wore now.
“Why there’s so much suffering on Earth,” Anthony sighed again as his halo grew a little bit dimmer. He could sense the pain and worry of all the believers on Earth. At times, it felt deafening. Legions of angels were at work at all times, yet it never seemed to be enough.
“You know that’s all part of the plan.” Stuart’s expression had no emotion. “If they didn’t suffer, they wouldn’t need to pray. If they don’t pray, they don’t believe.”
Paula Hrbacek is the author of “Stars Shine After Dark” and four non-fiction craft books. She won first place in an international writing contest sponsored by Echoes of The Right to God in 2011. She majored in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and writes two newspaper columns for The Examiner, an online newspaper.
“On Higher Ground” is available in paperback, Kindle and Nook from Amazon and B&N.
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