Monday, March 21, 2016

The Lion and the Lamb

This is not a normal blog post (is there such a thing?).  It is a short story I wrote (very short, just three pages).  The story is based on several images/imaginations which I feel the Lord has brought to my mind repeatedly over the last year or so.  May He speak to your heart through this story.

A young girl lived in the mountains with her mom and dad.  These were not beautiful, scenic mountains.  These were hard, cold mountains.  Everything was dark and grey.  Like most of the men in her town, her dad worked in the mine. Like most of the women, her mom worked in the factory.  There was always dust from the mine.  And smoke from the factory.  And clouds in the sky.

One day, when the girl was nine, her mom and dad had a visitor.  That was rare.  The visitor came from a faraway nation. The girl heard the visitor talking to her mom and dad in a quiet voice.  He was talking about things which were forbidden by the nation that ruled the mountains and owned the mine and the factory.

The visitor spoke about a King who lived a long time ago.  The King was good.  The King healed people who were sick.  The King taught people to love one another.  But one day evil men killed the King.  The visitor did not sound sad when he said this.  He said the King died to pay for people’s sins and to set them free.  Then, the visitor said that three days later the King rose from the dead.  The King gave orders that the story about Him should be told to all nations and promised to come back one day.  He promised that everyone who believed in Him would also rise from the dead and would live forever.

That day, while the visitor was speaking, a light began to shine.  Not a light that came through the clouds—the clouds and smoke were still there.  It was a light in the little girl’s heart.  Later the visitor came back.  The little girl and her mom and dad all went with him very early one morning to a river.   They were dunked in the water to show that now they followed the King who had died and rose again.

The dad still worked in the mine.  The mom still worked at the factory.  The mountains were still hard and cold.  But in the little girl’s home and in her heart there were now joy and hope.  The joy and hope grew week after week.  The mom and dad began to quietly share the story about the King with their neighbors.  Soon, the little girl’s family was not the only one with new light.

But then the bad, bad day came.  Cruel men came to the town in the mountains.  They came to the little girl’s home.  They searched her house. They were very angry when they found the forbidden Book.  They took away the little girl’s mom and dad in a truck.  The little girl went to stay with her aunt.

The girl missed her mom and dad so much.  But she still trusted the King who had promised to come again.  She still spoke about the King to her aunt, and to her friends at school, and to her neighbors.  Until, one day the cruel men came and put the little girl in the truck.

She hoped she would be able to see her parents.  But instead she was put in a cold cell with no windows. She was all alone in the cell. Still, she thought perhaps she would soon see her parents. 

When the cruel guard came, the little girl asked, “May I see my mom and dad?”

The guard smiled, but it was a cruel smile.  He answered, “Of course you can.  As soon as you deny your made up King and promise to never speak of him, you can see your parents and you can all go free.”

How could she deny the King who died for her?  She still believed His promise.  “I want to see my parents, but I can never deny my King who died for me.”

She tried to tell the guard about the King, but he just got angry.  Every day the guard would tell the little girl that if she only denied the King, she could see her parents.  Every day the girl would have a strange peace when the guard spoke, and she would answer the same way: “I want to see my parents, but I could never deny my King who died for me.”  She was calm and brave while the guard was there. She even tried over and over to tell the guard about the King so that the guard, too, could have light in his heart. But when the guard left, she cried and cried until she had no more tears.  Every day.

The girl had no way to keep track of how long she was there.  It seemed like many months.  Each day the guard taunted her the same way, and she answered the same way, and then she cried.  But one day the guard came in with a strange grin.  With a cruel laugh, he said, “You don’t have to worry about seeing your parents anymore.  They were as stubborn as you.  You know what eventually happens to stubborn people?  We hang them!  Your parents are dead.  You will never see them again.”  The guard turned, walked out and slammed shut the prison door.

And as the door clanged shut, for the first time the little girl doubted.  Darkness seemed to grab her little heart.  A darkness darker than her dark cell.  She trembled. She moaned.  She spoke to her King, but this time she was angry.  She accused Him of not caring.  Of not keeping His promises.  She cried for a long time.  But deep in her heart, deeper than all the pain and doubt and fear, the light that had begun to shine the day she heard the visitor speak was still there.  And after a long struggle, just before passing out from exhaustion, the little girl whispered, “Forgive me, I still trust You.”

As the girl slept, at first her dreams were filled with smoke from the factory, and soot from the mine, and cold mountains, and trucks that took people, and hard prison doors, and cruel prison guards.  But then, a soft light shone into her dream.  Soon she was standing in a field of golden flowers, and the sun was shining warm on her face, and her heart was filled with joy.  Only with joy.  For a few minutes she felt no sorrow or fear or loneliness.  Just joy.  Then a Voice spoke, “This is the day.”  The dream was broken by the sound of her prison door being pushed open.

The girl sat up.  There was a light in her eyes.  Her face was shining.  She still felt some of that joy.  And the prison guard could see it.  She began once again to tell the guard about the good King, but she spoke with new urgency.  It wasn’t the urgency that shook the guard, it was the joy.  How could this little girl be happy?  The guard almost believed.  Almost. But then he thought how if he believed, then he would be put in a cell and eventually he would be hung.  And he became cruel again.  And he told the little girl that in a few hours he would return.  The guard snarled, “When I come back we will take you and hang you like we did your parents.”

The girl sat in peace.  She thought of how in just a few hours she would see her parents.  And her King.

In a few hours, as promised, the guard returned. He came into the cell and grabbed the little girl’s hair and yanked her to her feet.  Just then many things happened at once.  A trumpet sounded in the far distance.  To the little girl the trumpet was beautiful and full of joy.  But the sound made the guard’s heart melt with fear. His legs shook so violently that he could not stand up.  And even as the guard fell to the ground, the walls of the cell dissolved and light poured in.

The light did not come from the sun.  The light came from a man dressed all in white who was holding up a shining sword.  He stepped into the cell and said to the little girl, “Do not be afraid, for I have come to help you.”  The little girl smiled and answered softly, “I know.”

 The guard was shaking on the floor.  He asked the shining man, “Are you the girl’s King?”

The shining man answered, “No, I am only His servant.  But her King is coming.”

Where the prison wall had dissolved away, they could now see the mountains.  And the mountains began to shake violently.  Soon in the distance there was an incredible sound of smashing.  Behind and above the nearest mountains in the range, boulders were being thrown high into the sky as one might expect from a volcano.  But there was no volcano.  Instead, finally breaking through the nearest mountain, the girl and the guard saw four giant broad-shouldered men wielding massive hammers.  Each giant man was half as tall as the mountains.  The giant men had used their massive hammers to create a long, smooth road that went all the way to the eastern sea.

The guard was still shaking on the floor.  He asked, “Is one of those her King?”

The shining man answered, “No, they are only His servants, preparing the way for Him.”

The four giant men faced inward toward the road and each bent down on one knee.

Then the little girl watched as creatures like beautiful women with long flowing hair came dancing up the road.  They carried baskets, and as they danced they scattered what looked like glowing flower petals.  Soft winds carried the glowing petals all over the mountains. Wherever the petals fell, the land burst into a carpet of flowers of every color and shape.  Soon, all the mountains on either side of the new road were shining with rainbow colors.  But on the road itself, a soft, gold colored flower sprang up under the feet of the dancers so that the road seemed to turn to gold as the dancers approached.

The dancers were so stunningly beautiful and radiant that the guard began to wonder if perhaps the girl was wrong and the ruler was actually one of these—a beautiful queen.  He asked the shining man, “Is one of these the Queen?”

The shining man answered, “No, they are only servants of the King, preparing the way for Him.”

And now the same trumpet they had heard before sounded again.  To the girl it sounded like joy and laughter and freedom and healing and victory.  But to the guard it sounded like thunder, judgement, and death.  The guard covered his ears.

Then the four giant men bowed with their faces to the ground. The beautiful dancers also graciously kneeled down with their faces to the ground, as did the shining man. The little girl, seeing all the others bow down, did the same.  And out of fear and panic, the guard, who was still shaking on the floor, also hid his face.

Even as the girl bowed, the light around her grew brighter and brighter.  And then the most majestic, powerful, lofty, gentle, loving Voice spoke: “My dear daughter, I have kept my promise.  I have come for you and for all who love me.”

The little girl looked up.  And as she saw Him, the little light that had been so deep in her heart suddenly burst forth like the sun at noon and filled every cell of her body with joy and peace and radiant love.

The guard was too afraid to lift his head.  But then he heard the girl exclaim in a loud, joyful voice strange words which he did not expect:  “Behold, the Lamb!  And look, Mom and Dad are with him!”

As the guard thought about these words a dark hope entered his twisted mind.  He thought, “It’s only a lamb?  And only the mom and dad, whom I easily killed?  Perhaps I have been afraid for no reason.”

But when at last the guard gathered strength to lift his face from the floor of the cell, he did not see a Lamb.  He saw only a terrible Lion.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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