Having tucked their two daughters into bed over an hour ago (just before going to bed themselves), Jonathan laid in wait next to his wife Melissa until her slow rhythmic breathing confirmed her slumber. Taking a deep breath, he slowly slid out from under the covers bringing his white tube socks to rest upon the cold wood floor. Tip-toeing to the end of their bed, he grabbed his white terry-cloth robe and slipped it on. Pausing a moment to gaze back at Melissa as she peacefully lay, Jonathan then proceeded to sneak downstairs, precisely placing his feet so as not to solicit squeaks.
Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Jonathan hastily strode down the hall towards the office that sat adjacent to the dining room. Unlocking the door with the key he had taken from his robe, he entered the room while quietly locking, then closing the door behind him. Making his way to the faded brown leather chair that sat at the desk, he gently lowered himself into the chair and pressed the computer's power button. As the computer whirred on, Jonathan deeply exhaled while closing his eyes.
The family had had some financial struggles of late as Jonathan had had to take a pay cut to keep from losing his job. Month after month their budget shortfall began depleting their meager savings and it was only a matter of months before that money would run out, just before Christmas. Melissa had recently begun doing daycare to help out and the toll of watching someone else’s two toddlers “all-day-every-day”, on top of her normal responsibilities, had caused her to collapse into bed virtually every night.
Hearing that the computer had finished powering on, Jonathan opened his eyes and was greeted by the family portrait that was set as the desktop background. The picture was taken at dusk one evening during their last vacation to the beach that was just over a year ago. They looked every bit the perfect family then as each wore white shirts, khaki shorts, and wide, beaming smiles. Jonathan leaned forward, moving the mouse to click the big blue “e” icon. As the home page began loading, the white screen washed his family’s picture away.
Welcome back Jonathan.
Perched on the edge of the seat, Jonathan was staring at the blinking cursor of the empty white internet search bar on the screen. His fingers greedily began entering a lewd combination of words, stopping short before pressing the enter button. It was only a few hours ago when he and his family had been sitting in his church’s evening service listening to a sermon about overcoming temptation, yet here he was again in the same situation that he had experienced night after night.
Don’t worry Jonathan. No one has to know. It’s just you and me here.
Slowly his index finger began sliding over to then come to rest on the enter button. The seconds felt like an hour as he began lightly tapping his index finger upon the enter button without exerting enough force to press it down.
Press enter Jonathan. You know you want to.
The light tapping of his finger increased until one final tap depressed the enter button. The myriad of links that returned from the search was a veritable buffet of debauchery. As Jonathan’s eyes darted from link to link he began feeling a slight burning in his chest. His breathing quickened as he began taking shallower and shallower breaths.
It’s ok Jonathan. You’re not hurting anybody. You deserve to feel good. Click on a link and enjoy.
The burning in his chest intensified as a small white-hot flame began to emerge. The pulsing and throbbing in his head caused Jonathan to fall back in his chair and grab his hair. His ears began ringing, being filled with the rattling buzz of white noise. Everything continued to coalesce into a discordant symphony.
You’re already mine Jonathan. You’re already mine…
“Help me Lord.” Jonathan’s whisper cut through the cacophony and in an instant everything fell quiet.
The lascivious links lingered on the screen, but their beckoning call on Jonathan this night had been extinguished. He leaned forward, closed the window, and shut down the computer while asking God for forgiveness and thanking God for His deliverance.
Falling to his knees, the next hour felt like seconds as Jonathan poured his heart and soul out to God as never before.
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