I stood on a starting line waiting for a race. A man dressed in a long white robe stood off to my left, wearing leather sandals on his feet. His dark beard and long hair framed his bronze face. He held a starter’s gun in his hand and nodded at me.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
I pulled up my red track shorts, yanked my white athletic t-shirt outside 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 back at him.
“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 racecourse. In the distance, I saw the finish line with healing, deliverance, prosperity, miracles, wonders, peace, and joy awaiting me on the other side. Between the starting and finishing lines stretched 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. A narrow path zigzagged its way through the course like a switchback jungle road. It looks easy enough, I thought, just stay on the path and run as fast as I can.
I nodded again to him.
I got down on my haunches.
I rose into a sprinter’s position. My feet and legs strained, set to slingshot my body forward.
“But first, you’ll need this,” he said before firing the gun.
He walked over and covered my eyes with a black blindfold. Not one ray of light touched my eyes. I could not see a thing, not even my feet.
“Now, don’t forget, you must go as fast as you can.”
I heard a faint whispering behind me, a soft voice saying something. I paid no attention to it.
I took off like an Olympic sprinter, running as fast as I could.
I hit a post and fell to the ground. My nose felt like it was broken with blood gushing from it. The warm wetness soaked through my t-shirt. It hurt so much I wanted to just lie there and quit.
The dark haired starter walked over and stood above me.
“Now, don’t forget this is a timed race. You need to run as fast as you can.”
I struggled to my feet. As I did, the same soft voice whispered words behind me. But again, I paid no attention and took off running.
I fell into a quicksand pit and found myself sinking under the heavy glop. The more I flailed my arms and legs, the faster I sank. The sandy goop soon reached my neck, not far from my nose.
“Help me, Lord,” I shouted.
My body relaxed and I floated over to the edge, crawling out of the pit. I flopped down there. It was all I could do to catch my breath from the all-out physical effort of trying to survive. I wanted to quit.
“Don’t forget. This is a timed race. You need to go as fast as you can,” the starter exclaimed.
Why I stood up, I don’t know. Maybe I was a glutton for punishment or possibly a modern day Don Quixote searching for futile endeavors to joust against. I brushed the sand off my legs and attempted to clean my shoes. I once more heard what sounded like soft whispers in the background, but like the earlier times, I ignored them.
My sense of direction was completely out of kilter. I could not figure up from down, let alone north, south, east, or west. However, I gave it the old college try and took off running.
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. I attempted to swim toward shore, but the full force of the current battered my body, flinging me about like a rag doll in a typhoon.
“Lord, help me!” I screamed.
My hand reached out and grasped a tree limb. I pulled myself across the stream, hand over hand on the limb, and climbed onto the shore. This was the end. I couldn’t handle anymore.
I heard the soft voice whispering to me once again. This time I gave it my full attention and listened.
“Stand up,” said the gentle voice.
I obeyed it.
“Okay, now turn to your right ninety degrees.”
Again, I obeyed.
“Walk four steps ahead and stop.”
I walked ahead and waited 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.”
I stopped after walking ten steps.
“Won’t this take a long time to finish the obstacle course,” I said.
The gentle voice laughed.
“My system is the fastest way through the obstacle course. However, you can always choose to return to your running blindly method, but as you have learned, that can be extremely painful. What do you want to do?” the voice said.
“Lord, what’s Your next instruction?”
Then I awoke with a Bible 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).
(An excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who.)