It was only a dream, but it seemed so real.
I was standing on a starting line, ready to run some type of race. Off to my left was a man dressed in a long white robe, wearing leather sandals on his feet. His dark beard and long hair framed his bronze colored face. He had a starter’s gun in his hand.
He nodded at me. “Are you ready?” he asked.
I pulled my red track shorts up, yanked my white athletic tee-shirt out of my shorts for more freedom of movement and checked to see if my shoestrings were tied tightly on my Nike running shoes. Everything seemed ready. I nodded.
“Now remember,” he said, “you need to go as fast as you can. This is a timed race. You only have a limited amount of time to finish it, okay?”
I looked over the race course. In the distance, I saw the end point. There were finances, healings, deliverances, miracles, wonders, peace and joy just beyond the finish line. But between the starting line and the finish line was an obstacle course. Posts sticking out of the ground. Fences. Brick walls. Quicksand pits. Mud bogs. Trees. Rivers. Water falls. Railroad tracks. Highways. Tunnels. Dangerous cliffs. Fortunately, a narrow path wound its way back and forth through the course. It looked easy enough to me – just stay on the path and run as fast as I could.
I nodded to him
I got down on my haunches.
I rose up into a sprinter’s position. My feet were set to slingshot my body forward.
Then, he said, “But first, you’ll need this.”
He walked over and covered my eyes with a black blindfold. Not one ray of light touched my eyes. It was perfectly dark – I could not see a thing.
“Now, don’t forget, you need to go as fast as you can.”
Behind me, I heard some whispering, a very quiet voice speaking something or other. I paid no attention to it.
I took off like an Olympic sprinter, running as fast as I could.
BAM! I hit a post and fell to the ground. My nose felt like it was broken, blood was gushing from it. I could feel the wetness soaking through my tee-shirt. It hurt so much that I wanted to just lay there and quit.
The dark haired starter walked over and stood over me. “Now don’t forget this is a timed race. You need to run as fast as you can,” he said.
I struggled to my feet. As I did, I heard the same quiet voice speaking some words behind me. But once again, I paid no attention to it and took off running.
YUCK! I fell into a quicksand pit and found myself sinking under some glop. The more I flailed my arms and legs, the faster I sank. Soon, the sandy goop was up to my neck and not far from my nose.
“Help me, Lord,” I shouted.
Somehow, I floated over to the edge and crawled out of the pit. I laid there. It was all I could do to catch my breath from the physical all-out effort of trying to survive the ordeal. I wanted to quit.
“Don’t forget. This is a timed race; you need to go as fast as you can!” the man exclaimed.
Why I stood up, I don’t know. Maybe, I am a glutton for punishment or possibly I am a modern day Don Quixote looking for futile endeavors to engage in. I brushed the sand off my legs and attempted to clean off my shoes. As I did this, I once more heard what sounded like soft whispers in the background. But again, I ignored them.
My sense of direction was completely turned around. However, I gave it the old college try and just took off running,
SPLASH! I fell into a deep river with fast-moving waters rushing over me. The hurtling rapids sent me flying downstream in a haphazard manner, smashing my body against rocks and floating logs. When I tried to swim toward either shore, my body was battered by the full force of the current and flung about like a rag doll in a typhoon.
“Lord, help me!” I exclaimed.
My hand reached out and grasped a tree limb. I pulled myself across the stream, hand over hand on the limb and climbed up onto the shore. I vomited water from my lungs. This was the end. I couldn’t take anymore.
As I sat there, I heard the quiet voice whispering to me. This time I gave it my full attention and listened. “Stand up,” the voice said.
I obeyed it.
“Okay, now turn to your right ninety degrees.”
Again, I obeyed.
“Walk four steps and stop.”
I stood waiting for the next command.
“Turn forty-five degrees to your left.”
“You went too far. Turn to your right five degrees.”
I adjusted myself in accordance with the instructions.
“Walk ten steps forward and wait.”
After I had walked ten steps, I stopped. “Won’t this take a long time to finish this obstacle course?” I said.
The quiet voice laughed. “My way is the fastest route through the obstacle course. However, you can always choose to return to your running blindly methods, but as you know, that can be painful. So, what do you want to do?” the voice said.
“Lord, what’s your next instruction?” I said.
Then, I woke up with a scripture verse on my mind:
Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)
(This is a short story excerpt from my upcoming book, Deceived Dead and Delivered. )