Fernando was an oil lamp who never grew tired of illuminating the space surrounding his platform. Day and night he burned with fervor from his high table inside the dilapidated shack. The occasional visitor would stumble in the dark if not for Fernando’s radiance. His flame was the only source of light inside this still, shadowy place.
That is, until an unknown hand set a new light on the table just below Fernando’s.
Fernando’s flame blazed as he looked down upon the stranger. “Excuse me, my name is Fernando. And who in the world are you?”
The stranger brightened. “I am called Bhanu, which means ray of light.”
Fernando’s brow would have furrowed, if he’d had one. “Pardon me for saying it, but you are unusual.”
“Unusual, as in different from you?” Bhanu’s eyes widened lengthwise. “I am a candle, my friend. I am made of wax.”
Made of wax, yet carries a flame? Scandalous!
Fernando paraded his ability to spread light across the thick wooden furniture, and up the crumbling walls, and then, looking down on Bhanu he said, “My purpose is to shed light on darkness.”
“Am I so different?” asked Bhanu.
Fernando frowned. This candle was peculiar. He was not made from pure gold, but from a malleable product of insect regurgitation. Hardly precious. Yet, Bhanu’s flame burned as bright as Fernando’s.
“Where does your fuel come from?” asked Fernando, his flame quivering.
“My power comes from within. My wax is my fuel.”
“By my flame!” screamed Fernando, hopping about. “Your body is your fuel? You’ll consume yourself!”
“Relax, my friend. I have been created to burn for seven days.”
“Seven days? How long is that?”
Bhanu’s eyes crossed momentarily. “I do not know, but why worry about the future, when it is unreachable?”
“But, what will you do when you run out of fuel?”
Bhanu dismissed Fernando’s question as irrelevant. Fernando wanted to tell him about the power available from another source, but didn’t. Bhanu seemed confident in his independence, and would probably laugh at Fernando for relying on someone else for fuel. Besides, Fernando was curious to see if the candle really could summon power from within, continually, without withering, so he watched Bhanu, staring until his eyes glossed over, and then closed.
The candle burned brightly and never withered, until the seventh day when Fernando noticed a sudden chill.
“Bhanu, wake up, you’re melting! I can’t see your eyes!”
Bhanu’s soft voice had become lifeless. “My eyes have melted away, my friend. And now, here goes my mouth. So. Weary. So—”
Fernando’s oil churned in his base. This was his fault! He hopped about, agitated, and then fell off his table, landing on his melted friend.
“Oh my gooeyness! This is not good. I should have told you about the One who provides everlasting fuel. You called me friend, and I have failed you. I should have said something, and now it’s too late. Your ears have melted!”
Parched and stuck on his side in the wax, his oil spilling, Fernando spoke to his withered friend. “Christ died for our sins,” he said, weeping. “He can give us eternal life, if we only ask him into ours.”
Fernando shared everything he wished he would have said earlier. Then, he cried out in prayer, “Lord, forgive me! I have been weak. My flame withers! In the name of your Holy Son, lift me out of this mess. Fill me, so I may illuminate your glory.”
A great light permeated the room, and Fernando saw that the shack was much larger than he’d realized.
“Your prayers have been heard,” said a voice, roaring like thunder.
Fernando felt himself lifted and filled, and then he saw the melted wax being scooped up by the hand of God. He couldn’t believe his flickering eyes.
“Forgive me for asking Lord, but what are you doing?”
“Inside your friend, I am creating a new life.”
Fernando’s mouth fell open, speechless.
“You see Fernando,” said the voice, now like a flowing stream, “when you had fallen, you were humbled. It was then your friend heard you. It was not too late, and he was blessed.”
Fernando fell prostrate in reverence, “May the Sovereign Lord give me an instructed tongue, to always know the word that sustains the weary.”
(Fernado’s ending prayer: Isa. 50:4)
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