He felt it. He saw it. It was closing in around him and around so many of the ones he loved. It was the darkness. It was there in the world and advancing at a powerful pace. He recognized it because he carried within him a light that promised to dispel the darkness. His was a driving unction to fight the darkness.
Thus, Believer proposed in his heart to be a champion for the light. It was his call, his duty, his desire to drive out the darkness. He decided he would go into it. He’d head straight into the advance, carrying his torch and igniting more.
Purposefully he set out. His intent was to expose the darkness. He had to tell them. He had to tell the people that they were in the dark. He had to show them. Then, they would, of course, ask for their own torch and their own inner light.
How quickly he became discouraged! He found that many of the people living in the shadows or full out darkness only mocked him. They had grown comfortable in their blindness and had learned new ways to cope, developing different eyesight that could not distinguish light from darkness. The harder he tried to tell them they were in the dark, the more they laughed and rejected his message or simply ignored him. Some even increased their efforts to silence him. He went to and fro, searching for those who would hear.
No one listened, and his despair overcame him. It was in a moment of such rejection that Believer sat down along the way and examined his own torch. It was dying out. He began to blow on the embers but found that he did not have the breath. He pulled his knees to his chest and laid his torch down, weeping. He felt the darkness beginning to circle around him.
Thwack! A powerful something knocked against his chest, forcing him to expel his own stale breath and deeply inhale a sweet savour that he had tasted before but forgotten. Thwack! Again it came, this time with more force, painful and powerful. Thwack!
“What is that?” he cried. “What is happening to me?”
“Be still and recognize me,” said a comforting voice. Thwack!
“Is that you, Lord? What are you doing to me?”
“It is my rod and my staff.”
“What? Aren’t they supposed to comfort me?”
“Oh, yes, they are. Now be still.” Thwack!
“This doesn’t feel like comfort,” Believer flinched away but was drawn back in by the solid rod.
“Be still, Son.”
“Yes, Lord, but this hurts,” he said, gasping out and sucking in.
“Not much longer now. Be patient.”
When the thwacking ended, Believer found that he was breathing again. Pure air. Pure and clean, and what he was expelling from his chest was more powerful than ever before. He picked up his torch and began to blow on its dying embers.
Thwack! “Stop that,” came the voice of the Shepherd.
“But, it’s going out . . .I need to blow on it.”
“No, you don’t. Give it to me. It is my breath that fans the flames and speaks sparks on unlit torches.”
Believer offered his torch in the direction of the Shepherd’s voice, the Shepherd that he could not see but could definitely feel and hear. The flame that ignited blinded his eyes and hid the form of the Shepherd. It was light, brilliant light. “Wow!” he exclaimed.
“Definitely. Now hear me. Carry this torch into the dark. I am the light. I am the source of the flame. I am the hope that is within you. Tell the people about the light. Walk alongside them in the dark. Use the light to see their needs and do what you can to meet them. Do not walk blindly as they do and do not depend on your own breath to spark your torch or anyone else’s. I am the Sovereign. It is I who speaks light into being. It is I who opens blind eyes and gives man breath to breathe. I am pleased that you have taken up your mission. Go now and be my torchbearer.”
“Yes, Lord,” Believer answered in awe of the Shepherd.
Thwack! “You are not alone. My rod and my staff will comfort and guide you. As I walk with you and keep you, I will not always have to use them to get your attention.”
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