Mathew 16:18 - King James Version
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Steven read it over, twice more, just trying to absorb the content and get the message. He couldn’t believe it, right there, in the bible, something so powerful it actually moved him. He was stunned, never before had he opened up this book and found anything that he could relate to. Never had he even found that there was any sense to be made out of the bible and yet, here, in this small passage, he found meaning and strength as well as love.
He had been in the Fire department for over twenty years, never having so much as a small scratch from any fire. His record had been exemplary, even to the point of commendations from the president. He had never known failure when it came to fighting any fire, yet there he was in a hospital bed, second and third degree burns on both legs. This fire had almost killed him; his career in the department would never be the same.
As he lay there, in that uncomfortable bed, his friend, Jerrod, had come in and talked to him about Jesus and what He could do for him. At first, Steven just shrugged, full of self pity and some hatred and anger towards this God. He actually blamed God, but Jerrod wouldn’t stop talking about the love this God had for him. Before leaving, Jerrod handed him this bible, one he picked up from the gift shop on the way up.
“God loves you, Steven”, He said, “and so do we, in the department and at my church. My whole church is praying for you, buddy, and we believe in God to do a miracle or two.”
With that, Jerrod left, leaving the bible on the bed next to Steven. He opened it and began to flip through it. He had no expectations of finding anything in there that might make him even feel better, but hey, if his friend could take the time to bring it, he could at least take the time to look at it. It wasn’t like he was going anywhere anytime soon.
He had been skimming it, thumbing through pages, reading a verse here and there when he had come to this passage. At first, it didn’t make sense, and then he read it again. He couldn’t believe it, a passage made just for fire-fighters. This was amazing. Could it be that God truly did love him enough to talk directly to him?
As he read it he began to think of what it would be like to storm the gates of Hell, the immense heat, the flames licking at every inch of your body and the things that must be guarding it, coming after you as you held the hose, shooting the water into the middle of the flames. He wondered at what gear would be needed to not get burnt as you drew closer and what type of soldiers would be surrounding you as you entered, protecting you, guiding you.
He snapped out of his thought’s suddenly, the pain in his legs suddenly becoming unbearable. He reached out and grabbed the nurse call button and hit it. As he moved, he gave a scream due to the pain. As the pain became more intense, he could feel himself slipping out of consciousness, everything going black. Suddenly he felt nothing, almost lighter that air.
He could sense that someone was with him, carrying him and he could feel more love than he had ever felt in his entire life.
“Who’s there”, he thought, “Where are you taking me?”
“I’m here, Steven”, the voice said. He knew the voice, but he wasn’t sure from where.
“I’m taking you to safety. Trust in Me, Steven and you will find that my grace is enough. I will be your protection and your sanctuary. Trust in me and I will help you storm the gates of Hell.”
At these words, he felt comfort and fell into a deep sleep, only to awaken later feeling rested and ready.
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