with Signs Following

The sixth of July, 1909 was a hot one in the Grasshopper Valley of Tennessee and George sweat profusely as he purposefully stepped his way to the top of White Oak Mountain. He didn’t notice the heat though; his mind was spinning with the Holy Spirit. “And they shall take up serpents ...” he intoned to himself in a trance. “And they shall take up serpents …”

As the slope of his path diminished and he neared the top, a great rock loomed before him, cleft on the side as if split by the wrath of an angry God. It sparkled red and blue and green under the rays of light fingering through the boughs overhead. George fell to his knees and clasped his hands above his head. “Jeeeezus! Jeeeezus!” he implored, raising his eyes towards the heavens. “Anoint me with the Holy Spirit! Take my fears from my heart, Jeeeezus! Give me a sign! Behold, give unto me the power to tread on serpents and nothing shall by any means hurt me!”

George rose and moved quickly towards the chasm in the rock. The bone-chilling warning of a Timber rattler echoed from the walls of its enclosure. In the blink of an eye, George had the snake in his grasp, four fingers under the jaw and his thumb pressing down upon the back of it’s head. At first, the serpent writhed and coiled wildly around George’s arms but it soon became calm and George relaxed his grip. He felt the spirit moving in him now. “Signs and wonders!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Praize Jeeeezus! Amen! Signs and wonders!”

He inhaled a deep breath of fresh mountain air and started back the ten miles towards his Church of God. “Signs will follow”, George Hensley said quietly.

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