The Gift

The darkness was closing in around me.  The wilderness had been  bleak and threatening before, but not like this. Never like this. I couldn’t see a thing.  Each step brought new danger.  Each moment seemed more and more ominous.  Even the air was heavy–I could scarcely breathe …

Hard pressed on every side, but not crushed.

Confusion reigned.  Absolutely nothing made sense. I didn’t understand.  In my mind, I retraced my steps over and over again. Each step had been taken in faith; in obedience.  Or so I thought.  Obviously, I had done something very wrong.  Took a wrong turn somewhere.  How else could I have ended up here?

Perplexed, but not in despair.   

There was nowhere to hide. I felt exposed. No matter which way I turned, arrows from the enemy’s camp pounded me. Accusations. Threats. Lies.  I would dodge them for a while, but they would start again from another direction.  They swirled around me from every side–it became impossible to defend myself …

Persecuted, but not abandoned.

I was shaking from head to toe. I knew I couldn’t stand much longer.  My legs felt like jello–one last well-timed jab kicked them out from underneath me. I lost my footing.  I began to slip …

Struck down, but not destroyed.

BUT.  NOT.  DESTROYED.

I couldn’t believe it.  I thought I was down for the count, but a strength I didn’t know I possessed lifted me from the ground.  I had been struck down, but I refused to quit.  It wasn’t over until it was OVER.

As I clawed my way back up, things became strangely calm. Peaceful, even. I fumbled over to a clearing. The fog lifted just a bit. I could see well enough to take inventory.  I was bruised and bloodied.  I was weary and disoriented. But I was not crushed. I was not in despair. I had not been abandoned …

And I had not been destroyed.

I knew the worst was over, but I was still incredibly shaky.  My steps were tentative.  I hadn’t been destroyed, but it also hadn’t been pretty. Although I had somehow managed to survive, I knew I had done just about everything wrong.  The deep regret I felt over my failure seemed worse than the wounds I sustained in the battle.  I wanted to be brave. I wanted to show I could be trusted as a warrior. I wanted to honor him by standing faithfully in the heat of battle. 

Instead, I barely made it out alive.

Humbled and broken, I feebly bowed before the Commander of the Angel Armies; the Lord of Hosts.  I was so relieved by his presence, but deeply grieved that I had let him down–the very One I desired to please.

I’m so sorry I failed.  I’m so, so sorry.  But if you still want me, I’m still yours.  I have so little to offer you.  I wish I could give you more, but  all I can offer you is … is this …”

I opened my fist and released a single, pea-sized nugget.  It was the one thing I hadn’t lost. It was so small.  It seemed so insignificant. But I had managed to keep it safe throughout the battle. 

“This is what’s left. I know it’s very small, but it’s all I have … it’s for you.”  

As I laid my miniscule gift at his feet, I was startled to realize it didn’t look the way it had when I first set out on the journey.  Then it had been rough and jagged–an ordinary looking rock, really.  But now … now it glowed.   It was no longer rough and jagged, it was smooth and polished.  It sparkled.  It was dazzling …

It was pure gold.

I gasped.  He smiled.  Our eyes met.  And I knew …

This is what he wanted all along.

What I saw as failure, he saw as a gift.  A gift more precious than the gold it was wrapped in…

He saw faith.  

And it pleased him.


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