Darkness smothered her labored breathing as beads of sweat rolled from her forehead. Terror gorged her tender heart while torment jabbed and mocked her soul. Metal claws glowing with long ember tips bullied Marie endlessly as she lunged from side to side crying out for mercy to escape another burning. But mercy was nowhere to be found.
Swirling smoke shrouded the silhouette of the minion sent by her adversary, ancient and insidious. The delight he enjoyed in this game brought him to the very heights of blackish pleasure. Fragmented shrieks of desperation slashed repeatedly throughout Marie’s mind. “Where are you?!” she screamed silently. “Help me!” she pleaded without a voice. “Why are you so far away?!” she cried in vain.
With a loud, gasping breath, Marie’s dewy eyes burst open to a dark room. She stared frozen in fear. Disoriented in her cold, clammy gown, she felt for the covers at her knees and with both hands yanked them up snugly around her neck. She watched her bedside table slowly come into focus. “A dream,” she muttered panting faintly, “… it was a dream.” Her heart booming within her chest, she stared into the chilly darkness.
Outside the far window, she noticed the street lights reflecting in sparkling raindrops as a sudden boisterous clap of thunder jarred her frame. Her heart raced even faster, pumping loudly up through her neck. Rain roared down on the roof like trampling horses. Her gut churned as she turned over away from the storm and squeezed her eyes closed. Sighing deeply, she ached to put the nightmare behind her. She lay languishing in the stillness.
Moments later her eyes opened slowly to notice the silhouette of a man seated on the edge of her bed. Flinching at the sight, she then remembered sitting so close to her this faithful Gentleman, the one constant factor in her life. And the crucial lesson he had taught her, so many times.
That same lesson. That challenging notion. That supernatural reality. Had she forgotten it yet again? Raising herself to rest on one elbow, she looked up pondering into his shadowed face.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me…” she quoted under her breath. His eyes met hers.
“Were You really sitting here, all that time–?” she asked Him, remembering the terror vividly and seeking resolution. She mulled a few moments studying his features.
Her thoughts suddenly broke deep and clear, “I think I understand now… My dream was another perspective, a world of confusion and deception, like deep valleys I’ve passed through or trials I’ve endured….
But you are here. You were actually right-here-beside me…the whole time…” She looked over her shoulder at her dampened pillow, “whether I saw you or not, whether I sensed your presence or not.”
Clinching the sheet in her fist she gave him her full concentration, “Please-” she pressed, “Help me to walk by faith in You, and not by the sight of my circumstances.”
Ecclesiastes 11:8 Yes, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all; yet let him [seriously] remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his flock that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will rescue them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.
Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me.
Luke 1:78-79 Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us]
To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
John 10:27-29 The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. [To all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed.] And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand.
My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all [else]; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.