Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: Between a Rock and a Dark Place
By Anita Ellis
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“Quick!” he had urged desperately, pushing us toward the narrow opening. “Go now. Keep running and don’t look back. This tunnel will lead you safely out of the city, away from danger. I will follow when I can. Go!” And so I did, hugging our infant son close as I ran blindly into the darkness with Miriam close on my heels, praying that Jehovah would protect us all.
We lost all sense of time and direction. Enveloped completely by darkness, our movements were further hindered by slippery rock, unexpected changes in elevation and our own panic. Someone’s breath was coming in short gasps. Was it mine or Miriam’s? My elbow grazed the rock wall as I stumbled on. The babe, amazingly, was sound asleep. How could he possibly be so at peace at a time like this? Did he not know the dangers we now faced?
Words that had been read just days ago at the temple came to mind. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”* Perhaps that’s why my child still slept. He trusted me completely to guide him safely. I breathed a silent prayer into the darkness, knowing the Lord God would hear me, even here.
I don’t know how long we stumbled in the dark. Eventually, it was Miriam who whispered that the air seemed clearer. Soon, glimmers of light reflecting off of the damp surfaces helped to show us the way. My son stirred in his wrappings. We pressed on, knowing that soon we would be free of this dark passage. Rounding a corner, light burst from the opening ahead of us. We raced toward it, and into the valley far below Jerusalem. Looking around us, we saw the way was clear.
“We go West, toward the Great Sea,” I was surprised by how confident I sounded. Taking Miriam by the hand, we headed away from the darkness, toward the light.
*Isaiah 42:16, NIV
Author’s note: In the year 70 AD, the Roman Army, led by future Emperor Tiberius, besieged Jerusalem. Eventually breaking through the walls, they overcame the zealots defending the Antonia Fortress, just North of the Temple Mount, and moved on to destroy the temple itself and crush the Jewish rebellion. Some Jews managed to escape, by means of hidden underground tunnels. Others made a final stand in the Upper City. As many as 1 million civilian lives were lost during the siege.
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