Once upon a time…
Dawn comes when the sky turns from black to sullen gray. Somewhere above it all is the sun, but in that moment it has very little influence. Bare trees shiver in the wind. Of all the kinds of cold, those mornings bring the lonely kind. Colorless and sterile, the winter is absolute.
In a small clearing in the forest, a prisoner sits. A fire sputters and snowflakes fall lightly, taking their chances in the dying embers. More land softly on his bowed head, conspiring there to make him just another lifeless part of the never ending white.
Out of the growing shadows another figure appears. He sits down on the opposite side of the fire, adding wood that he has collected from the dead forest around us. He isn’t dressed for the cold, but it appears not to touch him. In fact he seems comfortable here, as if he is visiting an old friend. He looks up from his task, and our eyes meet.
I realize that meeting an old friend is exactly what he is doing.
Nothing has really changed. I still shiver, shifting in my seat to allow the different parts of my body the hope of warmth. Everything around me has succumbed to the cruel, blue hand of winter except for the small circle where I sit, thawed by pitiful flames.
But now everything has changed. The dying fire that echoed of some deep place inside me has begun to grow. I’m not alone. This Man across from me understands exactly where we are, because he once sat on my side of the fire. Pain and loss are old friends of his.
Apparently, so am I.
I never understood the beauty of pain until I met the Man of Sorrows.
“…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that… that I may know Him… and the fellowship of His sufferings…”
Selection from Philippians Chapter 3, New American Standard Bible (NASB)