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by Catharine Parks

Footsteps thudded loudly behind me as the sounds they made ricocheted off my ears. Maintaining a steady pace effortlessly, my pursuer was closing in on me. He uttered no sound except heavy breathing as he kept chasing me. The only sound on the dark and deserted street was the continuous pounding of his feet as he steadily gained ground on me.

Glancing over my shoulder to see how close he was to catching me, the sweat poured off my face. My skin was clammy from fright, and my heart was thundering in my ears. I tried to speed up my steps, my limbs paining me horrifically, protesting the sudden onslaught of imposed exercise. My breath came out in short gasps, as I huffed and puffed, trying to stay ahead of my pursuer. His elusive footsteps gained ground on me with every step I took. I, Katrina ran for my life.

Looking over my shoulder again, gauging the distance between us I tried to see his face. His face was covered by a black ski mask, making it impossible to recognize my pursuer. Still he made no sound.

Pumping my arms and legs faster, my strength was almost gone and my limbs had me screaming out in pain from running. My breath mere sobs of terror as I glanced behind me once more.

I frantically searched around me, my legs trembling heavily as terror gripped my insides, searching for any place of refuge. Seeing none I forged ahead. My eyes were suddenly drawn to a sign up a head. A yellow road sign stood on the right shoulder of the road warning of a steep decline. The sign depicted a man falling down a steep cliff indicating danger – the road ended. I continued running past it, disregarding it as if it had not even been there. I reached the edge of the cliff but was running too fast to stop, and downwards I fell, my arms and legs flinging wildly in the air.

Tumbling through the air, downwards hundreds of feet I plunged towards the earth screaming the name of Jesus. I dragged out his name in one long wail, hoping that He would save me. Falling faster towards the ground, my life flashed before me, all the good times, bad times, childhood memories, and regrets that my life was about to end so abruptly.

As I reached the bottom of the cliff my body suddenly righted itself, as if a giant hand turned me right side up, and I landed on my feet. Looking down at my body, I realized I was alive and whole, not a scratch on me.

Shaking all over I fell to my knees, as tears of gratitude streamed down my face, thanking God that He had saved me from death.

With a shout my body jerked, and I woke up, sitting straight up in bed, the sweat pouring down my face, my nightgown was soaked. It was just a dream. I lay pondering the meaning of the dream, knowing that something was coming into my life in the future. My experience taught me to pay attention to my dreams, but I could not apply it to anything current in my life at the time.

The dream was warning me of approaching danger and to heed the signs, and whatever situation would come to me, there would be scary moments throughout the ordeal but I would be okay, and would land on my feet. But since nothing at the time warranted as danger to me, I put it out of my mind a few days later.

A few months later trouble came to visit me. I thought I had found a legitimate home-based business opportunity on the Internet. This person was looking for someone to facilitate financial transactions between his organization and potential sponsors. Raising funds for life support systems in third world countries was their goal. OK, I thought, maybe there really are legitimate businesses that do just what they claim they will do. Life support systems are important and are much needed equipment in poor countries.

We corresponded for a few months, and finally he wrote me and told me that the sponsor would be sending the first of many cheques. His instructions were for me to take it to a certain bank and cash it, take out my fee for handling the transaction and send the rest on to him.

From the beginning of the correspondence up until the day the cheque actually arrived in the mail, each email had been carefully scrutinized, looking for anything that didn’t look right. Asking for money is a prime suspect of scams, but they never asked for anything.

So when the cheque came that day in the mail, my thought right away while holding the business cheque made out to me was “Wow!” This is a real cheque; they did just what they said they would do!”

I did not follow their instructions, and after deliberating with my daughter she informed me that cash stores have machines that verify the authenticity of cheques. So with that assurance I took the unsigned cheque to a cash store instead of the bank they suggested, thinking this would speed up the process.

While I waited for them to verify the legitimacy of the cheque, time dragged on as they made me wait, telling me that it would take some time to get all the money together. The next thing I knew I saw a policeman come into the store and approach me. He asked me several questions concerning the cheque, and my job position, to which I answered them all. He then told me the cheque number that I had presented to the cash store had already been used and the cheque was a forgery. I was arrested for uttering a forged document, and spent an uncomfortable night in jail.

While I lay on that cold bench that night in jail, the Lord reminded me about the dream that I had months before. I realized then the dream came to warn me that trouble was coming my way, and when it did, its warning sign would not be heeded, thus the fall from the cliff. I had failed the test!

My day in court came and I was found not guilty, in an incident that should never have happened. If I had remembered the dream when I received the cheque in the mail, I would have recognized it as a sign and torn the check up. It would have come to me that it was a trap, a setup from some bad people who were determined to rip off innocent but naïve people.

When I am facing problems in my life, I have learned to look at every sign that is shown to me, and look at it as a warning that something is not right about it. The smallest detail can mean something, and adds up in the final analysis. Even if the signs or dreams do not make sense to me, or I tell myself, “it was just a dream,” they are God’s way of getting a message to me that I am heading for trouble and had better heed the warning signs in my life, for these signs are sent by the Creator.

Copyright © 2009 by Catharine Parks

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