1 Peter 2:16 (NIV) Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hanging over the mantle of a small cottage in the town of Comfortable, was a double edged dagger. This dagger was adorned with rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones that glimmered when the sun shone through the circular window at dawn. This was passed down through the generations of the Numb family which resided in the quaint bungalow.
Every morning the family would do their normal ritual, before heading out to their jobs in the small town. Dad worked hard fixing cars at the local automotive shop, Mom counted money for the local bank, and the young girl went to school with all the other children whom lived nearby.
Even though this town contained all the necessary supplies and activities to live a acceptable life, the little girl yearned to see beyond the town’s borders. All the kids at school would tell horror stories of what could happen if they left.
“I heard if you go out, you will never come back.”
“One time, Johnny left and was murdered for his gold necklace.”
“My parents told me that if you leave, you will be alone because everyone else will treat you like an outsider. People outside of our town are evil.”
“My sister told me that all the people who live beyond the borders are manipulative, judgmental, and self-centered. They only care about what you can do for them.”
Even though the little girl heard these words when she expressed discontent, she would fantasize about her life outside of town. She saw flowing fountains, beautiful wildflowers draping the hillside, warm and welcoming families, and most of all freedom to live a loving life. How could these images be wrong?
On one particular day, she did venture out after school before heading home. As she walked through the forest up a small hill, she saw a large wall of tightly stacked bricks. It was so high she could never climb over to the other side. Feeling defeated she went home.
Slowly opening the wooden door of her home, she arrived to see her parents sitting quietly at the kitchen table. Bread and lukewarm coffee between them waiting to be consumed. The little girl knew she should sit quietly staring off and do what was expected, but she needed to brake the silence.
“Mom, Dad why is there a brick wall outside of town?”
Stunned by what they just heard, they glared her direction.
In a stern voice Dad said, “Why were you outside of town?” Mom just waited for her response.
“Um, I just wanted to take a peek. Didn’t you ever want to know what is out there?”
Mom teary eyed whimpered, “No, and you should NEVER want to see it. Do you hear me?”
The little girl feeling feisty and not giving into her mom’s intimidation chimed, “Well, I want to know, and I’m going to see it one day.”
Her dad stood up, placing his hands firmly on the table and yelled, “No daughter of mine will ever go beyond that wall!” Then he turned around, walked out the door, and slammed it so hard the dagger rattled against the stone.
Mom knew she needed to talk about their lives in Comfortable, but cringed at the thought of pushing her daughter away. She took in a deep breath and began to speak.
“My dear, I know you think that life would be better somewhere else, but you are wrong. We have everything we need here and if we want to experience somewhere else, we have access to it through T.V. and our computer. This is where you were meant to be.”
“Mom, I don’t think this is how it was meant to be. I just know that there is more and life can be amazing, adventurous, and joyous. Don’t you want to be happy? Don’t you want to be able to live without fear and worry? ”
“Ugh, that’s impossible! If we don’t have fear and worry, how will we know what to do? The more I know about what could possibly hurt me, the more prepared I will be if it comes. This is how you protect yourself.”
The little girl stopped before she became angry and looked over at the mantel. The dagger seemed to be radiating and calling her name. She slowly moved closer with a slight out stretched hand. As she approached it, she heard a very soft comforting whisper. She leaned in even closer, almost pressing her check to the cold stone.
“I’m the way, the truth, and the life.”
In a trance, she stared intently at the dagger above her head. It seemed alive. It seemed to ask her to take it and carry it away.
She extended her hands, reached beyond her own grasp on her toes, and lifted the handle out of its resting place. She carefully positioned it face down by her side and headed for the door. Her mother in utter disbelief, sat motionless to what was occurring.
As the young girl took one step at a time, the dagger spoke again.
“Take me to the wall, use me to cut it down, and then you will be free from this life.”
She continued to the wall and blindly followed its instructions. As she approached the wall this time, she lifted the dagger above her head with both hands firmly gripping its decorative handle, and aimed the sharp pointed tip towards the wall. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and plunged the dagger into the wall.
When she opened her eyes, she realized it broke through and caused a small portion of a brick to fall at her feet. With exhilaration and confidence, she picked up the dagger again and again taking the wall down brick by brick.
After hours of working, she could now push her body through the small hole she created. She shimmied through, landed on the cool grass, and abruptly stood up to take in what she could now see. Her imaginary world of grandeur was now reality. Filled with overwhelming sense of joy and peace she wanted to forge ahead, but something made her turn around.
Through the small opening in the wall and in the darkness of the world she left behind, she saw a familiar face. It was her mother. Just slightly nudging her nose through the hole to see where her daughter had gone. The little girl dropped the dagger and tried to reach in to guide her mother, but the darkness caused her not to see her mother’s hand. Knowing that the dagger was the strength she needed, she placed it carefully handle first through the hole yelling to her mother, “Take up the sword and use it to brake the wall.”
The sharp metal scraped the sides of the brick as she heard it going to the other side. With great anticipation she waited smiling as she heard bricks being taken away from her mother’s blows.
Just as soon as the sound started, it abruptly ended. Why?
She knelt down at the side of the opening and heard whimpering. It was the sound of her mother. “Mom, pick up the sword. Keep going.”
Exhausted, tired and worn her mother wailed, “I can’t do it. I just can’t keep up. I’m going back. It’s safer there.”
The little girl became frightened and tears streamed down her face. “Mom! Mom!”
Just as she was about to go back towards her mother, something taped her on the shoulder. She swung around and saw a great light. A beautiful faced man with flowing hair looked intently at her, beckoning her to His side. She stood up, walked gingerly toward Him, and allowed a warm comforting embrace. He took His hand and slowly moved her long bangs from her eyes.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John14:6 NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)