Several years ago, this idea came to me while I was doing a bible study with some dear friends. I wrote it all out and gave it to each of my friends to encourage them and have mostly forgotten about it until recently. I finally found the file again and reworked it, feeling led to share it again here. Enjoy!
The day is warm and sunny as I perch comfortably on a wooden rail fence lining a worn path winding through a high meadow. Trees in the distance beyond the meadow gently sway in the breeze while children run around them, laughing, and squealing with glee. The dry, dusty dirt of the path is surrounded by straggles and tufts of wild grass that are doing their best to rejoin the nearby meadow from which they sprang.
The breeze carries the voices of the children as I smile at Jesus, who has just approached me along the path. He greets me with a warm smile and leans his forearms against the fence next to me. We stay there together enjoying the warm sunny day watching the grass wave in the breeze.
Close to us, a grungy metal pipe and faucet poke out of the ground and dirty water slowly seeps out, forming a wet patch in the dirt along the line of the fence. My eyes flick nervously to the water slowly winding its way through the dirt towards me. The water makes me uneasy because I know what is in that water. That dirty, muddy water is all of the crap I’ve ever done and all of the crap that the enemy wants to throw at me. I want to be as far away as possible from it. I shift forward so that Jesus is solidly between me and offending sludge.
The crunch of footsteps on the dirt of the path drags my attention from the spout and I realize that the newcomer is whistling. I lean forward again and look past Jesus and note the handsome whistler who saunters to a stop just on the other side of the spout and leans against the fence, much as Jesus is. He smiles at us in greeting, but his smile is cocky, arrogant, and self-assured. He looks at me with mild disdain and boredom and strikes up a conversation with Jesus. They are speaking in a muffled language I can’t really make out, so I just sit there quietly. The newcomer glances at me from time to time and seems to be asking Him about me.
Jesus reaches over and places a hand on my shoulder, like He is introducing me to the newcomer. I am suddenly able to understand what they are saying when the newcomer asks Jesus, “Yes, but WHY does she love YOU?”
I realize that this newcomer is the enemy and I feel the pit of my stomach sink to my feet in fear. I cannot move and I am speechless, frozen except for the warm hand of my Savior on my shoulder.
The enemy smirks and continues on, “She just loves You and follows You because You protect her from anything difficult. That’s all.”
Anger suddenly courses through me and I find my voice and respond, “No… I love Him for what He has done for me… He loves me.”
Jesus pulls Himself up to sit next to me on the fence and turns slightly, crossing His arms across His chest and facing the enemy more squarely. Jesus cocks His head, watching me with a wry smile as I pick a fight with the fallen angel.
The devil glares at me and sneers, “Prove it. You will give up. It won’t take long before you give up and walk away from Him.”
I glance nervously at Jesus; afraid I have probably crossed some holy line. He locks eyes with me for a long moment. My heart pounds wildly in my chest.
Jesus draws closer to me and looks into my eyes with his unwavering gaze.
He quietly says, “You do not HAVE to do this. I KNOW you love Me. You and I both know that I have already paid the price for ALL of this. We know the truth. But if you DO this, you will be stronger. My light will shine even brighter and draw even more people to Me because of this battle you will wage. Are you willing to do that?”
I nod hesitantly. He raises an eyebrow in question. I swallow hard, take a deep breath and nod more confidently.
He looks over at the enemy who jumps the fence and gleefully grasps the grungy faucet in both hands.
Jesus looks back at me and gives me a little grin. I smile back at him. I hear His voice in my heart say, “We will turn this battle around on him. He wants to discourage everyone who is watching. Let us show him how it will make them COME to me, not run.”
I smile and say, “Bring it on.”
Jesus grins and nods at the devil, who wastes no time in turning on the creaky faucet. Muddy water begins to spray gently at me. The devil smirks.
Annoyance hits me first. Then irritation, disappointment, and frustration. Traffic jams and long lines.
I stand firm. I grin over at Jesus. He grins right back at me.
The devil snorts and turns up the flow.
Misunderstandings. Frozen bank accounts. Bounced checks. Creditors calling.
The pressure’s on but I dig in and nod over at Jesus, and the devil cranks up the flow a little bit more.
Rejection! Accusation! Dismissal! Lies! Deceit!
Now it hurts. I start to wonder what I was thinking getting into this. I wonder if it is almost over. The previously dusty patch of ground has become slick mud, sucking at my feet, making it harder and harder to stand. I slip as I try to get better footing and am barely able to grasp the fence before I fall face first into the sucking mud.
The devil sees his chance and sends a hard blast of nasty water streaming at me, finally knocking me off balance and slamming me into the sucking mud.
Infertility. Hopelessness. Abandonment.
Stinking globs of mud splash up onto my face and I hear the devil nearly singing with glee, “You gonna stick around? You do not have to, you know. You can walk away and get out of this mess. Just walk away! Or better yet, since you are already down on your knees, just crawl!”
I turn towards Jesus, but I can’t see Him very clearly through the water and the mud running down my face and into my eyes. I see a vague glowing shape where I know He is, and I can feel Him lean towards me slightly as the torrent of nasty water rushes at me with even greater force.
The force of the putrid water takes my breath away. I gasp and choke as it streams down my face and I struggle to try to get my feet under me, but I can barely move. The heavy weight of the water is pulling me down into the mud. It covers my hands, and I can feel them sinking even further.
The devil howls with laughter. I can hear him jumping up and down in the mud nearby. “Your kids are next! I am coming at them with everything! I am going to break them and make you think it’s all your fault! I am coming after their minds, their bodies… their hopes. Everything! And you cannot do anything about it because you are too broken!!!”
Despair pours over me. I feel my sons’ pain in my own soul. Their struggles are whips to my tender heart. I begin to weep. My mind whirls… Jesus… can’t you see me? How much more do I have to bear, Lord? The devil can’t win but he isn’t playing fair. He is pulling my kids into this battle, Lord. Help me, Jesus! Help me!
I look toward where I know Jesus is by the fence and all I can see through the mud is a radiating light. It penetrates the mud and mire covering me, dripping from my face. I am caught in that moment by the light. Through the searing cold of the dirty water gushing at me, I can feel the warmth of that light. I feel strength in that light seeping into my soul.
I whisper through the mud pouring down my face, “Bring it on.”
The devil leaps to my side and bends down next to me. He is so close that I see the mud and water splattering on his face. I can see the hatred in his eyes, the glee he is feeling at my pain.
He whispers close to my ear, so close I can smell his sulfuric breath, “I am taking away your daughter. You are not good enough for her. You could not have your own kids because you don’t deserve them. You will destroy them. You are second rate. You are not worthy of their love. You failed. Jesus will abandon you because of it.”
A firehose of pain – of unimaginable loss – rips through me, wrenching me in half. I lock eyes with the enemy. The assurance I felt before has waned, my body is wrecked and exhausted, the despair starts to take hold of my soul when suddenly, the light that is Jesus near me suddenly pulses forcefully through me, flooding me with a peace equal to the pain.
I cry out a desperate “JESUS!” and stagger to my feet. I wipe the mud from my eyes, take a deep breath, and look at my enemy square in the eye as the pain and the peace begin to merge within me.
“You are a liar,” I say to him. “He has NEVER failed me or abandoned me. I am HIS and although I fail, HE NEVER FAILS. HE DOES NOT FAIL ME NOR ABANDON ME. I WILL NOT WALK AWAY FROM HIM. I will not leave Him because HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME!”
I will myself to stay upright as the mud covering me continues to threaten to suck me down into an endless abyss of despair. The light pulses around me, through me, over me once again and fills me. I hear an angry howl as the devil is hurled from me by the blinding, pulsing light of Jesus.
The water suddenly stops. I stand there in the mire, weary and worn. My shoulders slump in sheer exhaustion as I wrap my arms around myself and try to gather the ragged tatters of my heart together.
And then warm, strong arms come around me and lift me up. Jesus is holding me and the warm, healing light that emanates from Him surrounds me, fills me, heals me. He smells amazing and the clean, earthy scent clears the stench of the mire and the sulfur of the enemy from the air. I cling to Him and sob.
Slowly I hear whispers and I look around. I see people gathering around us, whispering to each other, “Who is this man?” “What is this light?” “What would make someone stand through that kind of battle?”
The peace inside fills every part of my soul and soothes and mends my torn and aching heart. I become acutely aware of a bright and sunny joy that begins to bubble up from deep inside of me. I begin to laugh and cry as the joy bubbles out of me and grin crazily at Jesus who gazes back at me with an equally bright smile as he wipes the last of the mud from my face.
He winks at me and whispers, “Bring it on.”
I smile at Him and we turn to the people.
“Come… I will tell you!”