Entry #3: The Offer

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Another dream. I find myself standing in a meadow on the edge of the eastern dark forest. A run-down log cabin appears before my eyes. I crouch down, hesitant at what may happen next. The second man from my previous dream, the one who looks familiar and safe, steps out of the cabin grinning and saunters over. A tiny part of me says to turn and run but curiosity gets the better of me and I stand up, after all, no one has ever spoken to me in this place.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he says, “I’ve been wanting to speak with you.”

“Who are you?”

“A friend. I’m here to help you in this land.”

“How?” I ask, intrigued by the implications of his words.

“By making you an offer.”

Something seems off but I can’t stop myself. “What kind of offer?”

“I can make all of this,” he gestures all around, “go away for good, along with any physical symptoms. No more running from the enemy. No more nightmares. You could live a normal life apart from this place. And I can do more for you. I can give you anything you want, travel, career, relationships, you name it.”

“How can you possibly do any of that?”

“Let’s just say I’m resourceful in all the right places and ways.”

“Why should I listen to you and accept your offer?”

“Because, my dear, you’re exhausted. This place, this Heartland, is killing you.”

I nearly lose my balance. He has touched on not only my heart’s desires, but also my deepest fear.  Still, “What would you get in return?”

He chuckles and then smiles. “You pledge your loyalty to me. That’s the only way to end these nightmares for good and start a normal life apart from the curse of this land. It’s time for you to truly start living.”

I listen to his words, wondering how he can grant me all the things I really want, but the more I wonder about it, the less I care. My thoughts are jumbling together as the minutes pass.

The grass in the meadow unexpectedly waves in an invisible wind, the trees of the forest behind me motionless. The cabin shimmers as the sky turns a pale yellow. A real wind kicks up so hard I have to lean forward in order to stand my ground. “I’ll think about it,” I say, envisioning nights of dreamless sleep.

“Take your time, my offer stands. Let me know when you’re ready to accept.” He walks back to the cabin and disappears inside.

As the door closes, an arrow whizzes by me. I close my eyes and open them to the familiar surroundings of my bedroom.

Who is this man, really? Can he truly make the nightmares go away? Can he really give me everything I want?

We all have a choice on who we serve. Even if we choose to serve the real King, don’t we still struggle with having the good life, here and now? What sort of offers has the enemy made to you before? And what was the trade off he required?

The Heartland Journals: A Fictional Account of the Journey of Sanctification

0712162000aEntry #2:  The Players

The dreams continue. The arrows fly at me nightly from an invisible enemy. Tonight I find myself beside a stream flowing through a grove of maple trees. I can see faint, foggy outlines of a mountain range through the trees. Across the stream two forms suddenly emerge together, yet separately, as if they have timed their entrance perfectly.

I’ve never seen anyone else here before so I am immediately on edge. I’ve often imagined that others must be in this place, and I have certainly sensed the presence of something evil. But this is different.

The fog dissipates and I step closer to the stream to study them. As I move forward, the stream unexpectedly broadens and changes. To my left, the stream forcefully tumbles over rocks, creating rapids, and looking altogether impassible. Behind, fog curling away from him, is a bronzed man dressed in garments of pure, piercing light. His features are blurred, except his eyes, which are a mixture of the deepest of colors and blazing a halo of light. He emits power, strength, and danger. Nearly everything in me wants to back away from his direct, questioning gaze.

I close my eyes and turn my eyes to the other form. He is much easier to look at, friendlier, even handsome and smiling. He’s dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. He stares at me with beautiful, intense, alluring dark eyes. At first glance, he seems the type of guy a mother would love for her daughter to bring home. The stream in front of him flows at a leisurely pace, peaceful and smooth.

Without either saying a word, I know they have both extended an invitation to walk with them in this land. And I likewise know that I cannot walk with both. It’s either one or the other. There is no compromising, no working together. I stand for what is probably only minutes, contrasting the two. One light and dangerous, the other dark and safe. One unknown, the other familiar and beckoning.

They both have their eyes on me and I get the feeling that they know all about me, and this land. The question is, of course, which one can I trust to lead me through? Which will keep the enemy at bay, the evil far from me? Every instinct in me is leaning toward the second one, the one who looks like a model. And I realize that that’s just it—he seems too perfect. The first is an utter mystery, but I feel with some weird sixth sense, truth is in him. And isn’t truth what I am ultimately seeking, especially here in this strange place that lingers beyond the coming of day?

 

How do you visualize the players in your own Heartland? Is your Christ a bit dangerous or have you watered Him down over the years? Remember, according to Narnia, He is not a tame lion.