THE STRANGER I was walking down a long twisted road carrying a bundle tied to my back. In the beginning my load felt light. I barely noticed it....... But as I traveled over rocks and through thicket, becoming bruised and scratched tattered and torn...often getting lost in the dark and tripping over huge obstacles, I got very tired and my load became very heavy. I was out of balance from the weight of it. So I began to stop and rest for a while .. even decided to have a few laughs with others I met on the road. Sometimes a friend's load was even heavier than mine and they looked so haggard I would take a portion of their burdens and stuff them in the bundle with mine. The longer I traveled the more I collected junk to put in my bundle, sometimes my own and sometimes some friend's. Then one day my back felt so weak from my heavy bundle, which by now had grown almost larger than life, that I just finally stumbled blindly and fell. Fatigued and alone I was unable to pick myself up from the ground. I cried out from the extreme of my pain like a wounded animal into the loneliness of the wilderness. I give up I cried I just cant go any farther............... Suddenly and seemingly from no where a stranger appeared. He knelt beside me. I could see that he was big and strong...His face though was gentle and kind. He said to me: "I have watched you walking in your own way.. I have waited long for you"....This puzzled me.. I didnt understand ..."I never saw you not once. Where were you?" I replied. He answered kindly:" Your road is a long and treacherous one my friend. Had you been following my path you couldn't have missed me." My path is smooth and restful. .. I stayed close to you though always walking a bit ahead. I prepared the way that we would meet here. Even though you were blinded by your own dust blowing in your eyes and could not see me I have always been with you and watching your every move." At this point I still wasnt convinced that this was true. He kept talking in his soft voice, "You were so embodied by your own strength and so insistent that it was all powerful you couldn't have seen mine so I waited... You have been so determined on your self propelled journey to no where that you would find yourself some where that you were deaf to my voice. You have accumulated not only your own cares but those of your friends and tied them in your bundle until you shouldered the world on your back....Oh there were moments I watched you rest a while and laugh a while with others like yourself.... And these were your most stubborn moments. You were so certain you could run life on self will and take care of the world. You could not hear my still, soft voice calling to you above the loud voices, especially your own. It was always your choice to answer me. I dont make demands for people to walk my path. You didnt stop long enough to learn this.. Until you fell along this lonely road, weak and tired and frail you still believed in your own strength. You thought you didnt need me to care for your life. You relied on self will to carry your load and even convinced your friends you were strong enough to carry theirs. I listened with intent and saw that he was surely right... Somehow he knew me well, better than I knew myself. I was amazed. Without another word spoken , he took the heavy bundle of burdens off my back lifting it like a feather. Instantly I was set aright. My pain vanished and a zeal for life such as I had never known entered my being. Then he said to me "I will return to your friends what is theirs so that they too may walk to this place .. this is a turning point my friend. Your will might have caused them to wander into the dessert never knowing that a power greater than you or themselves was waiting for their day of surrender. But now they too will have the same chance to be free. They too have a true path to walk toward me." Surrounded suddenly with a great illuminated light I looked and saw that I was on a path that was so smooth I could walk it one day at a time and never have to tire. Ahead of me walked the stranger and I knew he was my God.
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