Darling’s tired feet trod through the dark valley. Her clothes were little more than tattered rags on her body. She had lost nearly everything on this dark and dismal journey.
The walls of the valley seemed to sneer at her in joy of her failings. Why did she think she could make this journey alone? Why?
Darling gripped onto the staff that her Prince had given her at the beginning. The staff would give her the comfort and support in this passage of trial and separation.
“Follow the path I have laid out for you, my Darling.” He’d told her. Darling could remember the grief in His eyes at their separation. “It will not be an easy path to walk and the Enemy will try to lure you away many times. Trust in Me and you will make it through.”
Initially, Darling had followed the path. She focused on seeing her beloved Prince once again, overcoming the obstacles that came her way. But with the passage of time, she began to grow weary.
The Enemy recognized her weakness and began to plant the seeds of doubt in her heart.
This path is too hard for you…take a shortcut. You’ve worked hard enough. It’s time for a break.
Darling knew it was the Enemy’s voice invading her conscience, but she was so tired…so weary. What would be so wrong in finding a short cut? What would be wrong to want to take a break from this ceaseless journey?
She thought the shortcut would be easier. But she quickly discovered she was wrong.
The wind howled around her body, eerily sounding like a sinister laughter.
The Enemy was rejoicing in her pain and failure.
Why would the Prince love you now, Darling? You’re nothing but a shell of a person. Give up.
The Enemy was right. Why should she pretend any longer that she could get through this? Apparently, the Prince had abandoned her long ago, seeing that she was too weak and feeble to make such a journey.
Raindrops soon barraged her frail body and Darling struggled to find a place of shelter. She managed to find a barren tree to hide under but its empty branches did nothing to protect her.
Give up. Give up. Give up. The words came with each beat of her breaking heart, echoing in her ears. A deep sob welled up within her, and she let out all her emotion.
“I can’t do this anymore. I…I…I can’t.” She fell to the ground, drawing her knees up to her chest, trying to hide from the world around her. Tears flowed easily, sorrow ebbing with each cry.
Darling lie there in the mud, unable to move her body. Her body and soul had broken completely; there was no way she would be able to go on.
Have you left me, My Prince? Where have you gone? Her body and soul grew numb. She felt nothing.
She moved her foot slightly, bumping it against something. She looked at what she’d hit and saw the staff that her Prince had given her. Tears gathered to her eyes again, remembering her beloved. Her Prince had carved it himself, lovingly entwining it with designs of ivy and flowers. She reached for it and clutched it close to her.
A voice from within came to her. It was not the voice of the Enemy like she feared, it was her Prince.
I am here with you, Darling. I have not abandoned you.
Darling’s heart sped up with hope. She recognized His voice; it was as clear as if he were standing there with her.
I have suffered with you throughout your journey. I will be with you forever. She instantly felt ashamed for her thoughts that he would ever abandon her. But his comforting voice came through again.
Do not be ashamed my beloved. Nothing will ever take my love from you. Trust in Me, Darling. You will not fail.
Slowly, Darling rose from the mud. Her spirit was mending; her strength was renewed with the promise of her Prince’s love. She knew her journey was not over, but she knew that her Prince was with her. She had no reason to fear. He would be with her always.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4, NIV Version
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