I have only met one person who has claimed to have had a vision; or maybe I have but this is the only time it has stuck in my memory.
In any case, if being able to make someone else "see" your vision is testimony to its authenticity, then I can vouch for this one, for I can still see it in my mind's eye, years later.
Dave, the envisioner in this story, was an Army chaplain's assistant at Ferris Barracks in Erlangen, West Germany, when I was stationed there, and was not -- like some -- just in the position because it was a relatively cushy job.
He regularly opened the chapel in the evenings for Bible study groups he helped lead, played the guitar for us, participated in the mid-week evening service, and organized a Christian coffee house on the second floor of a nearby building. We called it -- naturally -- "The Upper Room."
I remember attending one of the evening Bible studies at the chapel and sensing -- uncharacteristically -- a really oppressiveness. Somebody wanted to argue whether obscenities -- which he insisted on specifying -- were really worse than M-16 rifles, though I almost think that was a symptom of the oppressive atmosphere rather than the cause.
Either way, that incident prepared me for the story Dave told one night in the mess hall, I believe it was.
At an evening Bible study in the chapel, he said, the group felt such a heaviness, such an oppressiveness, that they shut their Bibles, locked up the chapel and walked away feeling -- I took it -- rather discouraged.
On the way down the road toward the barracks, Dave said, he looked back at the chapel, a little white building between gate three and the military police office, and saw the devil dancing on the roof.
Dave didn't say what the devil looked like, so of course my imagination paints him as a red, horned creature with a pointed tail like you'd see on a can of deviled ham -- but that's my vision, not his.
Anyway, as he looked, he felt himself rising into the air.
And as he rose, he saw the chapel surrounded by the post buildings and the nearby German houses. The devil, considerably smaller in the distance, continued his rooftop dance.
Dave continued to rise into the sky -- the post and chapel and devil receeding in the distance -- until he could see a breathtaking array of stars around him, and below, almost lost amidst the grandure of God's creation, was the tiny white chapel and the almost microscopic devil, still prancing about on the roof.
I don't recall that Dave explained his vision, and I'm not sure I need to either; it might be a bit like explaining a joke. However, I will say this story gives me courage whenever I remember it
How to Become a Christian.
Copyright 1996, Brad Haugaard.