In Every Fairytale is a Dangerous Forest

“Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.  Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.  Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” 

Proverbs 4:25-27 MSG
Instead of fixing my eyes straight ahead I have been watching sideshows.  The titles of my current sideshows of choice are Insecurity, Lies, and Fear.  On Friday I noticed that they had distracted me so much that I had not thought even once about Togo (major red flag).  Quietly I slipped away to find a place to think. 

The sideshows themselves are nothing new.  I have seen them all before (I even expected them to appear during this season), but this time something was different.  It was not just one sideshow vying for my attention, it was all of them.  It was overwhelming.  For most of my life I have been wandering through this dark forest full of wolves.  The vines of insecurity wrapping around me holding me back, the quicksand of fear causing me to sink deeper and deeper, and the beautiful poisonous flowers of lies beckoning me to leave the path... For years I fought and struggled to find a way out, but my efforts were fruitless.  Nothing I could do would save me.  Then one day in the deepest part of the forest a shepherd appeared and he said “come, follow me.”  Slowly and cautiously I began to follow his lead.  As he worked tirelessly fending off the wolves I walked slowly behind listening to the poisonous flowers as they broke into chorus: “you’re not wanted there” “you will fail” “they’ll be glad to see you leave” … Off the path I would bolt deep into the forest entangling myself in the vines.  Each time I did this the shepherd would find me, look me in the eyes, and say “Lock, what do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”   

When I became stronger he started to teach me how to identify which flowers were poisonous.  My bolting became less frequent and then one day I noticed that the edge of the forest was only a valley away…I was almost free.  Soon I discovered how dark the valley is.  The edge of the forest is heavy.  Every resource is devoted to trying to keep people from leaving.  My unruly independent spirit started trying to fight everything in sight.  As you can imagine I was quickly overtaken.  About this time the shepherd stepped in, picked me up, and carried me back to the path. 

I stood there refusing to move telling myself that there was no way I would make it out and he said "Lock, I will go before you and will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."

He is good.  This is truth.  I will leave this forest.  I am not an exception…He loves me too.

“If you say go I will go
If you say wait I will wait
If you say step out on the water and they say it can’t be done
I’ll fix my eyes on you and I will come…
Your ways are higher than my ways
And the plans that You have laid are good and true
If You call me to the fire You will not withdraw Your hand
I’ll gaze into the flames and look for You…”

Postscript: This post was supposed to be about what I am actually doing in Togo, but obviously it is very much not that…so excuse the mess and check back soon for an actual Togo post :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, amazingly written! I love your fairytale evil forest analogy!!