When all hope is gone

I exited the window onto the fire escape only to lunge backwards as a giant mouthful of teeth came at me. I pressed as far away as the railing would let me, too terrified to even scream, let alone cry. The bear’s nose and mouth were wrinkled together in a ghastly snarl, accentuating the glistening incisors ready to rip me to pieces. I heard noises and knew the men chasing me through the house would be upon me momentarily. I was trapped. The bear leaped for me again, far more agile than such a monstrosity had a right to be. My entire body trembled, and I half thought it was just as much exhaustion as fear. I had no idea how long I’d been running from both the men and the ferocious animals they had brought with them. But my time was almost up.

The huge snout appeared over the stairs, glinting black eyes filled with rage ready to catch its prey, and this time I knew it was over. Just as its mouth opened and it’s teeth were close enough to touch my skin…

“In the name of your creator, I command you to leave me be!”

I had no idea where the words came from. They just spewed out. And just like that, the bear froze. Backed off, growled at me. Then lunged again.

“Your creator commands you to leave me alone.” The words came out again, fraught with fear, but…somehow, I knew they would work.

The bear stopped again, its entire face twisting with anger. I took a gasping breath, and began making my way down the fire escape, unable to stop myself from quivering as I passed the massive heap of muscles watching my every move. My legs wanted to buckle under me, but I couldn’t let them. Not yet. The bear moved toward me again, and I looked at it.

“No.” The word was a whisper, a last piece of my strength, but it was all that was needed to restrain the creature again. I heard pounding behind me and forced my aching joints to move faster. Maybe, if I could just get around the house…I paused at the corner. Something else was coming at me. Was it another one of the animals the men had brought with them? My last remaining ounce of fortitude collapsed in on me and I fell to my knees. I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t have the strength. I watched the animal approach, and frowned. It was too small to be one of the mutated animals. And it trotted. Like a horse. A moment later, the pony was in front of me. I blinked at it, vaguely surprised to realize it looked very disgruntled.

“I was sent to help you.” Its tone was just as disgruntled as its face, and just in case I didn’t understand that the pony didn’t want to be there, it tossed its mane. “Get on my back.”

It intended to carry me. Utter relief swept through me, and, reaching up, I grasped the pony’s mane to help me back to my feet. It snorted but didn’t otherwise stop me. With effort, I forced myself onto its back, and it took off at a trot, away from the men behind me, away from the animals. I breathed in. And out. In and out. Let my eyes close as my fatigued limbs sang a grateful tune.

It carried me just long enough to have barely begun to recover my strength…and then I saw the group of men in front of us.

“Where are you going? They are going to catch us!”

“I’m bringing you where you need to be.” And with that, the pony brought me straight to the group of men, and within minutes I’d been captured, tied up, and brought to a holding area, where animals and men alike waited for me.

But I knew. Somehow, I knew. And every single time one of those men came at me with a knife, or one of the animals lunged for me, I pushed through my exhausted state, and told them no. Their creator, and mine, didn’t allow them to hurt me. They could touch me. Press the knife against me. Keep me tied up. But no matter how much they howled or growled or grunted their displeasure, not a single one of them could harm me.

It was a strange dream. I woke up from it, staring at the ceiling, and wondering what it meant. It had to mean something. It was far too peculiar not to. So I told my husband about it…and as I talked, I knew.

Life is not easy, people. It just isn’t. Just when you think things are going well, something will happen to knock you over. Sometimes it is a tragedy, sometimes it is betrayal by a friend, sometimes it’s as small as a crushing sense of failure because you aren’t where you think you should be. But no matter how bad it gets – no matter how many things seem to jump at you, God is always there.

He will always answer your call. Offer you help when you are on your knees. To get you moving when you are too tired to do so. No matter how many times you surrender to God, things will continue to jump at you, to try to hurt you, try to bring you under and tell you it just isn’t worth it.

But when it comes down to it, God’s power is made perfect in your weakness. Call on Him and He will always answer, even if He may not resolve the situation the way you think He should. And when He allows the next circumstance to happen – the next animal to leap at you or men to capture you – call on Him again. And again. Because no matter how dour things appear, He will still answer. Because He is our Hope through hardship.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9a

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