“This is the very place, isn’t it?” Mitch asked his older brother as the two trudged the well-worn path to the field where they worked.
“Yep Mitch, right here,” Dave answered.
“By the way things look today, you’d never know,” Mitch surmised.
The brothers stood at a point on the path that ran very close to the edge of the cliff. They let their eyes drop to the water below to see it rythmically, steadily, predictably lap and slap the rocks at the bottom. White-green foam, airy spray, and the wide expanse of azure water was almost hypnotic enough to make them believe nothing else had ever happened here.
“Sometimes I ask myself, did it really happen? Was He really here? But then I have only to look at you, my brother, to know. I wish they hadn’t sent Him away.” Mitch shook his head.
“They were afraid. He saved my life, but it was too scary for them. They didn’t understand.” This time Dave shook his head.
“All I know is it’s great to have my brother back. Tell me again how it went!” Mitch urged.
Dave took in a long breath and looked to the distant horizon. “It was hard and painful,” he started, “But it was strengthening pain - pain that ends pain.” He stopped talking for a minute and Mitch thought he might be done, but then he began again. “ I saw Him, but they knew Him
as He walked toward me. I could sense their fear, but it wasn’t my fear. They called out, begging that He not torment them.” Dave continued. “Then I was afraid. I was a slave to them. I feared that whatever He did, I would suffer for. That was a lie.”
“So, He granted their request - to enter the pigs when they left me. ... Left me?!!! They were with me for so long! I thought I was nothing without them. What would be left? What would I do? I feared it was just another cruel trick. That was a lie, too.”
“I didn’t have long to think about it. They started to leave right away.” Dave put his hands to his ears as he retold the events. “They squealed, they screamed, they clung, they clawed, they pulled. They left.
“I fell backward, emptied, quiet - so quiet.”
“Then warmth rushed in. He had my hand in His hand, His other hand on my back. He lifted me and His peace filled my emptiness.” Dave looked earnestly, joyfully at his brother. “And I was free! - It’s so wonderful to be free!”
“The pigs - they ran. They were a herd gone wild. They charged past this point where we’re standing and it was like they threw themselves over the edge. It was a cacophony, first of hoofs rumbling over earth, then scuffling as pigs and loose earth and rocks fell over the edge and then the splash. It was loud - and long. We - there was a crowd, of course - we watched in disbelief.”
“Then the water closed over them and there was quiet.” Dave shook his head slowly from side to side. “Those pigs, such a loss.”
Mitch never tired of hearing the story and every time he heard it he was filled with compassion for Dave and compassion and awe for the one who had freed his brother. “Yea, Dave That is a loss, but you didn’t cause it. And - we’re working to replace that farmer’s herd. More importantly though, those pigs were sacrificed for one made in the image of God - you. It seems He would sacrifice anything to save one of His own, you’re that important to Him.”
“Thanks, Mitch. You’ve told me that before and now that’s what I think about every time those demons try to tell me differently.
“I am loved by God, saved through His son, no demon can change that. Amen.”
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