By John Hunt
I cringed as I walked throughout the dark, cavernous sepulcher – a sepulcher so distant, so dank, and so desolate, that it seemed to be on the edge of nowhere. Succinctly put, the place was anything but hospitable – a place as ugly and cold as I had ever known. If I were to say that my senses were assaulted, that would be, quite simply, fallacious. Actually, it was the extreme absence of any sensory input – a kind of sensory deprivation, if you will – that marked this place. No, I didn’t like this place at all. All I wanted to do was to leave, to abscond out the entrance from whence I came, but somehow I was constrained to stay. A morbid fascination had consumed me.
Carefully, I listened as I walked through the vast expanse. There was no sound – no creatures scurrying, no resonance from water droplets falling, and no cavernous echoes from my footsteps. I became disturbed. Intentionally, I slapped my feet on the ground to see if I could elicit a sound. No sound was heard. I shouted out. Silence.
Quickly I turned and looked around. Thick and impenetrable, the darkness surrounded me like a black shroud. I could no more see the hand in front of my face than I could hear my own voice. "What is this horrible place?" I thought to myself. My thoughts dissipated as quickly as they had come. Only then did I start to see them.
To say, "I saw" them would be a misnomer. In truth, I only had an awareness of their presence, a rudimentary sense of their being: the bones.
"We are the lifeless remains of something that not yet is," they seemed to speak to me, "of something that could become, but now is not."
"How can this be?" I tried to ask, puzzled by the riddle. Again, my words fell silent. I pitied the bones – I pitied them, and hated them, and despised them. I could feel their voracity, their iniquity, their…death.
This place, this catacomb, I decided was awful and cruel. It sucked everything in – every word, every thought, and every sight – but was never satiated. It consumed without distinction, without apparent regard for the consequences. It was desperate, and ravenous…and pitiful.
"Why am I here?" I shouted at the top of my lungs. "Why have you shown me this?"
Once again my words seemed to vanish before they could even reach my ears. Abandoned, alone, and destitute, I thought I was forever destined to endure this forlorn, forsaken place.
But then the answer came. Still and small, the Spirit’s voice spoke to me.
"This was your soul before you knew me."
In an instant, everything seemed to fade away, and I awoke in my bed. Still and quiet, I prayed. The lesson was apparent to me. I had become so consumed with my life, so entrenched in the simple daily act of being, that I neglected the still, small voice that I had once listened to, and the King to whom I had once submitted my will. I had become ravenous for the things of the world and had taken for granted the sacrifice that was laid down for me.
A deep appreciation came upon my soul that day, an appreciation for the washing of regeneration and the spiritual birth, for the grace that set me free from my tortuous solitude, and for the patience and loving kindness of an omniscient Creator. With God’s grace, I would not take that for granted again.
John Hunt lives near Chicago, Illinois, with his wife of ten years and three children. He is the author of the novel, In The Image of the Beast and the children’s book, The Mistaken Stone, both of which are awaiting publication. You may contact John through the Letters page of this magazine.
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