The Battle Surrendered
I cried myself to sleep.
A gentle touch pulled me from my slumber. I looked up. It was Him.
As fresh tears cascaded down my face, He pulled me into His arms. “I’m sorry,” I sobbed out.
“Dear heart,” He said tenderly. “I forgive you.”
He held me until my wails evolved into hiccupping spasms. Then He helped me stand. “Come on,” He said. “You can’t stay here.” Taking that small gold key from his pocket again, He unbound my chained hands and feet.
I followed Him to the rope dangling into my prison through the crack in the wall. He gestured at our escape route and said, “Ladies first.”
I tried to pull myself up the rope, but the sides of my prison had somehow become smoother than last time, and my feet couldn’t find a good hold. If I hadn’t been so weak from days without eating, I may have been able to climb it, but I’m not sure.
After a few tries, I turned to Jesus. “I can’t do it. I can’t climb up.”
He nodded. “It’s always harder to escape the second time.”
“So, we’re stuck in here?!” I panicked aloud.
I remembered Who I was talking to. Not even a sealed tomb could keep Him in, much less my prison. “Can You help me get out? Please?”
With an ear-to-ear smile, He replied, “I was hoping you would ask.”
He climbed the rope as easily as a fish swims; the slick wall could not hinder Him. When He was safely above ground, He told me to hang onto the rope. I obeyed, and He slowly drew me up. We were both under the blue sky in a matter of minutes.
Jesus untied the rope from the tree He had secured it to. As He began coiling the rope, a thought suddenly hit me, but I hesitated to voice it. He stopped His work and looked at me. “Go ahead,” He said.
“Jesus,” I began, “I know my capture was my own fault; I shouldn’t have given into the shadow creatures. But… why didn’t You help me? Didn’t You… I mean, You must have known what was happening. Didn’t You wake up?”
His eyes grew deeply sad. “Yes, dear heart, I knew what was happening. I was watching.” His voice cracked just a bit. “But,” He added, “you didn’t ask Me to help. You were too busy trying to fight them on your own.”
“I have to ask for Your help?” How could He have just stood there and let me be dragged off? I was incredulous.
He was patient. “You have to want my help. I never force it on anyone; I will only help you if you want Me to. My way is the perfect way, but I gave you a free will to accept or decline My help.”
So it was still all my fault.
We started walking through the forest, covering the same ground we had covered before. The sun moved across the sky slowly, but I kept a close eye on it. When it was past noon, I spoke up, “Hey, um, Jesus. Do You think now would be a good time to start my training? Because, those shadow creatures might come back for me tonight and I want to be prepared.”
“Your training has already begun.”
“What?” I cried. “But all I’ve done is get captured! You haven’t even given me the smallest bit of advice on how to wield a sword!”
He stopped and turned to look at me. “Did I ever say your training would involve weapons?”
“Um, well, not exactly….”
“I never hinted at anything of the sort.”
“But that’s what training is!” I protested.
Shaking His head, He explained, “You train to become better at something, and it doesn’t have to be with weapons. Athletes train to race better. Warriors train to fight better.”
“But I thought You were going to train me to be a warrior to fight the shadow creatures!”
He looked me in the eyes before responding gently, “Dear heart, I am training you not to fight.”