With shaking hands and feet Eric navigated his way blindly up the rocky tor, wishing with all his might for a better visual grip on his surroundings. He paused for a quick breath of air, which at this elevation had waxed almost as thin as his patience. If he could only reach the summit before the vicious squall forced him to turn back!
"You fool!" shrieked the angry gale, smacking his raw cheeks with a spray of hard graupel. "What are you trying to prove with this crazy expedition?"
"Nothing," replied Eric inwardly. "I've no point to expound, no question to answer, no hypothesis to test, no theory to validate. Instinct alone drives this haphazard hike. Now all I want is to make it down alive."
He reached a gloved hand into his pocket for a compass, only to discover the frostbitten device too fogged to read.
Cold sliced through his windbreaker like a chainsaw.
"Idiot!" it screamed. "How could you have ventured out so ill outfitted and unprepared? Whatever happened to logic? Whatever happened to following time-tested methodology and proper procedures? At the very least your inexperience demands the aid of a Sherpa. But no, like a dummy you let yourself be guided by adrenaline and the deceptive allure of bright blue skies."
"But the morning looked so auspicious," groaned Eric, teeth chattering as he struggled to fill his lungs with oxygen. "Then half an hour ago this freak blizzard arose out of nowhere. That was one independent variable I never factored into the equation." And he rued his lack of meticulous research, as the storm boxed his ears with one accusation after another.
Eager for relief, he set down his backpack and with stiff fingers unzipped a special compartment. From it he withdrew a heavy scarf, and wrapped it like a blindfold around his forehead. He didn't know why, but somehow he felt as if he was being used as a guinea pig in some cosmic science fair.
He shrugged off the idea and carefully re-zipped the backpack. The scarf covering his eyes made it nearly impossible for him to see what he was doing, but he didn't care. He needed warmth.
Cautiously he felt his way through the darkness of the tempest, one panting breath at a time, all the while imagining himself anywhere but there. His thoughts drifted upward like snowflakes as he prayed, "Lord, please don't let me lose the trail. I know I don't deserve it, but have mercy on me."
Much to his surprise, his inner eyes immediately popped open. In the back of his mind he saw the cross, the whip, the crown of thorns, hands and feet bleeding out of love. Strains of a long forgotten hymn plodded like camels through the sandstorm of his long held ignorance.
Jesus... Jesus... Friend to sinners... Jesus, Jesus, set me free...
Eric felt a ray of warmth surge through his inner man, knowing this message was meant for him. At that moment the wind stopped howling, scattered by an amazingly bright light breaking through from above. The storm was gone and the sun was coming out.
With rapidly unthawing fingers he undid the knot, removed the scarf, and opened his eyes wide.
Wow, what a scene!
The blue skies were back, and the summit was less than half a mile away. Eric could hardly believe that the journey which once seemed doomed to failure could result in such success.
Meanwhile two glorious beings, Rafael and Michaela were sitting on a nearby cloud, pen and scroll in hand, taking copious notes.
"As you see," said Rafael, "This experiment was for our benefit, to teach us how to better help them. In it we see why the spirit of the law, which was present in the blizzard, cannot save. Its accusations only caused the man to further blindfold himself to the truth of his condition. But the warmth of our God's love, shining through his darkness, caused him to remove that blindfold."
"So analyzing the data brings us to the conclusion that His kindness cures a man's blindness, enabling him to finally see the truth," replied Michaela.
Rafael nodded. And off they flew with their results, happy to have gotten a glimpse into the wonders of salvation.
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