A friend, Holly Hutcheson, and I were discussing some of the topics on the Rebelution forums, which then led to a concern that branched out into other areas of our lives. We were noticing a distinct pattern and trend that was somewhat hard to detect, though it was before our very faces. We talked for a while on it, and came up with this story to present it to you. We hope that it accurately portrays what we are seeing, though in metaphorical light.
She tossed and turned. A frown pulled at the corners of her lips, her brow creased with anxiety. She teetered between deep sleep and seeming consciousness. One moment she knew she was in her bed, the next she found herself in a strange dark place.
Where am I? She groped through the dark. She knew there had to be a way out. What is this? Is that a light? How do I get out of here?! She slowly groped towards the pinpoint of light. She was drawn to it; she instinctively knew it was her only way out. She felt herself growing closer… she began to run towards it, clawing for the light. It was what she wanted more than anything else; she knew it. There it was. She grasped at it, tumbling forward into the darkness, but landing in the light.
It was dim, but to her weak eyes it was painful. She scrambled to her feet. Before her lay a wooded forest; it stretched for miles. Running straight and true through the middle was a narrow path. On either side, it was mud and quick sand. What do I do from here? Where do I go? She need not ask. She knew she was to walk the path ahead. She knew the light was her salvation.
Looking over her shoulder at the pitch black cave behind her, she wanted it more than anything. She ran towards it at a sprint, the light around her growing. A mile down the path she slowed to a jog, slowly bringing herself to a walk. She was weakening. The light was growing brighter, hurting her eyes as she went. She stopped. Turning around she stared at what was behind. It was a mountain with a large black cave, its mouth staring ominously at her. That was what she had escaped from. She was awed. What was that? Did something just move? Her breathe caught in her throat. She saw it emerge from the trees.
It was a black, hooded figure; burly and tough, it began grabbing and clawing inches from her throat. The light. I need the light. It was a fleeting thought, but she turned and ran, stumbling as she did, towards the light. The trees. I can lose it in the trees. I’ll hide until it passes. She stepped off the path, mud oozing up to her ankles. She grabbed onto a tree and held onto it until she saw it disappear on the other side. Pulling her feet out of the sticky mud, she stepped back onto the path.
She walked briskly along, still heading towards the light. Did I hear something? Where is it? Should I go back into the trees? Maybe if I work through the trees it won’t catch up to me. She stared at them, pondering the wisdom of such a thought. It made sense. She side-stepped into the trees again and began making her way forward. Progress was hindered; she wasn’t making good time. Her feet were sticking in the mud, each step a laborious trial. But I’m safe here. I’m avoiding the figure and making progress. I’m doing well. She couldn’t see a burly shadow behind her, following her, and content to let her try to reach the light by this route. With a little guidance, she’d never make it there.
She peered over her shoulder. Nothing. She forged ahead, her breathing becoming slow and heavy. She rested herself behind some trees more than others. They were comforting. She was escaping the black-hooded figure; she was forging ahead. It was time to gain some more ground. She headed towards the path. I was farther from it than I thought. The light… it’s hurting my eyes. Her eyes readjusted. She was on the path again. She turned.
The mountain was farther away, but she still had miles to go. She was weakened from the strain of drudging through the muddy woods. She attempted to jog, but was slowed to a walk. She looked yet again over her shoulder. There he was. Again. He was farther away this time, but she was still horrified at this thing, this monstrosity. Diving into the trees, she broke into the equivalent of a run, sloshing through the mud and clinging to the trees. She didn’t pay as much attention to where she was going; all she wanted was distance from this hooded figure. It was getting darker; the figure was getting closer.
The farther and faster she ran, the closer it got. The path, the path- The light! He’s scared of the light! Making her way back as deftly as she could, she arduously moved closer and closer. The path came into view. She saw light, and welcomed it, though it hurt. It took time; her eyes didn’t adjust so quickly, but she needed to move towards the light; she was nearing the end. She could feel it. Just a mile farther; then a half mile.
She looked over her shoulder; there it was, far behind her. Her feet grew stronger. She began to run. There it was; the edge of the forest, more beautiful than her mind could have dreamed. She finally passed the last tree, her feet bringing her to a stop in an open field. She had reached the light. There was no darkness. Looking down, where her dirty, mud splattered clothes should have been, she was clothed in white. She was safe. The race had been run.
She shot up in bed, gasping for air, groping in the dark. She wanted to write it all down; she wanted to forget nothing she had seen. She knew what it meant. She was sorry. She never realized it. The light of truth was hurting her eyes. She prayed. I’m sorry, God. I see it now. I thought I was doing right. I thought you wanted me to focus on the trees. I thought I could stay away from sin by focusing on escaping it. I know now… I need the light. I need You.
Hopefully this clearly illustrated for you what we are seeing. We feel that it is possible to become so focused on how to do this, or what not to do in that, that we lose focus on what really matters- Jesus Christ, the Cross, the sacrifice. As we grow closer in a relationship with Him, the rest will fall into place. As we continue to fall more in love with your Saviour, all the questions on how to deal with sin, how to guard our hearts, how to love our enemies, and how to respect the authority in our life, will be answered.