Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
TITLE: Arrows Fly High
By Zacharia Fox
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The road, once plain, dipped into a valley, and in this valley the arrows of the enemy flew thick, blotting out the sun.
But, not all had abandoned the road.
Teachable trembled, eyeing the road ahead, but seeing only arrows and no sun he would not advance. Neither could he retreat, as the words of the veteran echoed in his mind, “This one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what lies ahead.”
The past wasn’t an option, though the road ahead wasn’t much of one either. In his plight he turned to his companion. “Companion, what should I do? The arrows are so many, I am sure to be struck. Many soldiers have been wounded already, and many others have wandered from the road in search of safer passage.“
Companion’s eyes were gentle, but his tone serious. “Why do you only turn to me now that you are in distress? A friend is not only for times of trouble. A friend loves at all times. Make it your habit to come to me frequently, and when the battles come you will find yourself thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“You are right, my companion.”
“As for the arrows, didn’t The Deliverer give you mail to wear?”
“Indeed, companion. But the other soldiers told me the mail makes us slow. I tried to wear it, but took it off when those without it advanced so quickly.”
Companion’s face was set in stone. “And where are those soldiers now?”
“They’ve fallen to the arrow.”
“Beware, Teachable. Any who find excuse for disobedience are in rebellion, and rebellion is a treacherous slope. You must not only walk the road, but you must walk it as The Deliverer walked it. If you are on the road but of the wilderness, then to the wilderness you will be drawn. The Deliverer was clothed all the time with that mail. So too, must you be.”
Teachable slipped on the mail, the weight of which pulled him down to the path so that he was made to crawl.
“Companion! Do you see now how slow we advance? Perhaps we might jog a distance to make up some time.”
“Your goodness is not measured by the speed of your progress on the road, but by your faithfulness to it. At the finish, the prize is that The Deliverer might say, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’ You can’t navigate the path without the posture of the one who pardoned you. That is why he says, “I am the way.””
“Yes. But we’ve not been struck by arrows thus far. Could we not raise up but a little, if not for speed, then for dignity?”
“Those who rise, advancing quickly, do indeed seek a certain dignity. The barbs of pride, ambition and desire, are their guides. Pride won’t be burdened by The Deliverer’s mail.” The companion pointed to the sky. “The arrows that fly are those of Offense. He is a keen marksman, but his arrows fly high, where the proud walk. Now, look down.”
Teachable studied the road. “I see hand prints.”
“Those were left by The Deliverer when he crawled to the cross for your sins. It is this mail that held him down all the way, that he might not be struck by Offense.”
“My companion, what is this mail called?”
“Humility, dear Teachable. Your attitude must be like that of Christ, and so you must clothe yourself in humility.”
“What is this valley that I find myself in?”
“Gethsemane. Here, victory can only be found on the knees.”
“I see now that you are truly my companion. Pray tell, sir. What is your name?”
“I am the Bible. I am living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword dividing soul and spirit, judging the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Teachable heeded the words of the Bible, and wore the mail as he crawled through Gethsemane, passing many lost and slain whose pride would not suffer the weight of humility.
Teachable, though, found the sun on the other side, and continued on his knees.
* * *
This is throw back to a piece I did a year ago, and as I did then, I must now apologize to the master of allegory, John Bunyan, who’s work has left and enduring imprint on my soul.
Philippians 3:13 NIV; Proverbs 17:17 NIV; 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV; Matthew 25:21 NIV; John 14:6 NIV; Philippians 2:5 NIV; 1 Peter 5:5; Hebrews 4:12 NIV
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