There we were, amidst the cavernous walls of the canyon. Deep within its gaping mouth we cowered, not alone, yet afraid. Eleven of us stood, hands sweating, yet grasped together with another, like a chain of souls. The place was desolate, dry, and dark. We stepped forward, collectively into a small bean of dust-filtered light coming from above a crag, and looked around us, seeing for the first time what surrounded us.
We had been cast here into the void by our enemy, who sought our defeat in this place. We knew this in our hearts, and yet we still found ourselves crying out to God, asking why He had done this to us. It is strange how fear creates such doubt, even in the most faithful of people.
We decided that moving was the best thing that we could do, so we all began to walk, holding tightly to each others’ hands. We felt a little safer, as we walked, and saw the light shining softly down in spots, reassuring us the even now, God was with us. We prayed, asking God to deliver us from the place- all of us banded together in such a way as to shake the very core of the earth with our fervor. We tried to sing praise and worship in order to shake away the shadows that seemed to follow us, but fear got the best of us, and doubt crept back into our hearts.
We began to inwardly curse the people that we felt were responsible for this, and at times, we cursed ourselves for not seeing it coming. What if we had done things differently? What if so-and-so had not said that out loud? As we walked, we felt our hearts becoming bitter, we turned on one another with blame- “you caused this, and you dragged me down!”, we would shout to our friends, and let go of their hands. We walked, but now, apart- with a seething spirit breathing in our chests. Images of the things that we have lost came to mind and sorrow and shame broke us down, and we fell to the ground, begging God for some peace, for some understanding, but the heavens were silent and calm, blue above the black of the canyon.
Some slowed to drag in their self-pity, while others sped ahead with pride swelling in their breasts, sure that they would get out first, and laugh in the faces of the others. We were all hungry, and mouths were parched… but there was no relief anywhere to be seen. We ached, but had almost forgotten where our help came from, and so we were left with empty throbbing holes in our souls. Some gave up. Some sat down in their places, ready for death to swallow them and give them a final rest. Others with more determination knew that there must be a reason for this valley, and thus they trudged along, steady but without joy. Every day, our flesh became heavier, as well as our hearts as we fought off demons like swarming flies. Some never fought, but let them in, just for lack of motivations’ sake.
One morning, when death was surely upon us, we woke to the sound of running water. It seemed that somehow in our exhaustion, we had failed to notice it when we had fallen to sleep the night before. We jumped up with a renewed vigor and drank deeply of the sweet waters that flowed down a wall on the canyon, and into a shallow pool before flowing into one of the dark caverns along the base of the cliffs. We drank our fill, until we were uncomfortably full, our cheeks pinkening and fresh dew coming from our dry brows again. We remembered our quest was to get out of this place… and to understand why we were there in the first place. We began to thank our God for providing this refreshing water for us, knowing that only His hand could have placed it. We danced and laughed and sang praises just as we had in the beginning of our journey, but this time, the darkness had no place in our minds for we had been washed clean of our bitterness, unrighteousness, and our pride by this water of life.
Now we walked, heads high, rebuking the darkness, and reaching out for those that had not yet given up, for each man makes his own journey. We prayed to our God, and asked now for the truth and wisdom to come, as we had truly battled our enemy for some time. Before us, like a holograph, appeared images that were unique for each us. Visions of the whys and hows. We humbled our hearts in the stony place, and submitted to God’s will. We noticed our steps becoming easier, and the high sheer rock walls softened and bowed lower and lower until we found ourselves walking from the stone path into a dry earth spotted with grass patches and flowers. The walls completely flattened, and we turned behind to see what he had survived. We rejoiced in tears and thanksgiving as we saw the demons swirling angrily in the dark void behind us, but they were not allowed into this lush place that we found ourselves in now.
We had survived the valley, the canyon. And we were not only stronger, but our love for one another was stronger, and our faith for a safe passage through the enemy’s territory was strengthened. We thanked God for our lives, our freedom… for we had achieved wisdom, and we had a great sense of peace.
Dedicated to the moment in my life that God walked me through… and the place that my dear friends find themselves in now. God is with you, despite the way things appear now.