John strolled along the familiar street, on his way home from the Sunday night praise service at the church. The preacher had given an inspiring talk about faith, and John figured he had his faith pumped right up there.
He stopped, unable to see the sidewalk ahead of him. He thought it must be a power failure.
“Will you walk with me, John?”
John jumped and looked around, but was unable to see anyone. “Who’s there?”
“No, really. Would you like to walk with me?”
John thought quite hard, wondering if somebody was trying to pull something over on him. “I don’t know,” he said finally. “I can’t see where I’m going.”
“I can see where you’re going, and, if you want, I’ll warn you when there’s an obstacle, alright?”
“Um ... There isn’t a stick around here I could use, is there?”
“Nope. I’m all you’ve got.”
“Oh. Right then.” He decided to humour this stranger. “Am I still going in the right direction to get home?”
John took a short, sliding step, then another.
“It’ll take you a long time to get there at this rate,” said the voice.
John stopped. “I told you I can’t see.”
“And I said I’d tell you if there was something in front of you. Take one step sideways toward my voice.”
John took a deep breath and steeled himself. “Okay, I’ll trust you that far.” He stepped as directed, then started walking a bit faster.
John slowed his pace again. “If you’re God like you say, why are you talking to me here?”
“You expressed an interest in working with me, and I thought I should clear up some things for you. Watch it. There’s a curb just ahead.”
John became more alert, and, when he got to it, he stepped into the street. His eyes were dazzled by the headlights of an approaching car, and, as he turned his eyes away, he glimpsed the other curb. He paced over to it while he could remember how far it was.
“There you go; you’ve got to be doing it yourself.”
“What’s wrong with that? I had an opportunity, and I took it.”
“Naturally, and that’s the problem. Remember what the preacher said tonight? He talked about acting supernaturally. Acting naturally may get you safely across the street most of the time, but it can’t help you when you’re battling against evil in the world. For that you need to become a hardened spiritual warrior, a person who will walk only when and where I tell them, even when they can see where they’re going.”
“Oh.” John could feel his face flushing. “I guess I blew it then.”
“Yes, but you can change. If you’re willing to learn, to struggle in the face of what is natural in you, like a trainee soldier in boot camp, you’ll get there. So think about what I said. And thanks for chatting. Now, so that you’ll know I really am who I say I am ...”
The street lights came on.
John looked around and saw that he was standing alone in front of his own house, five blocks from where he had been when the lights went out. He started to tremble, and sank down onto his knees.
“Alright,” he muttered as he clenched his fists. “You’ve got my attention. Teach me what I need to know and I promise I’ll listen.”
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