My eyes snapped open. Wide awake. Something had woken me from my sweet slumber in the blue cornflowers at the edge of the forest, something frightening, something more terrifying than I could ever envisage on my own! The hair rose on the back of my neck and I could feel the fast thumping of my heart in my throat.
Screams and moans came from the direction of the forest, tormented cries followed by the eerie laugh of the deranged! There! I saw something move! And again, something or someone began to emerge from behind the trees.
Grey. Empty eyes. Mouths wide in a never ending scream of torment. Dozens and dozens of people walking towards me, arms outstretched. The walking dead! Zombies? You’ve got to be kidding me! But then the stench hit my nostrils, slamming into me, making me retch. The smell of rotten flesh, decaying matter, dead meat! And I knew they were real and there was no doubt about it, they were dead!
From deep in the depths of the forest I heard a shrill cackle and in the air around me millions of flies, like a cloud of ominous, black gas filled my vision and in one instance, I knew. I just knew who was coming, who was in charge here, which loathsome, wicked sorcerer was behind this gruesome scene. The prince of the power of the air! My greatest enemy, the biggest threat to my Father’s kingdom, the devil himself!
I panicked! Should I run? Fear sprung up within me, paralysing me, freezing my mind, I couldn’t think! The buzzing of ten thousand flies grew louder and louder, almost deafening… Frantically I spun around and looked into the blank eyes of the dead woman closest to me… I gasped, astonished as her never-ending wail echoed in my ears. My neighbour, it was my next door neighbour! No – surely not, I had spoken to her across the fence just that morning. Chatting about the weather, the flowers, the kids – surface stuff!!! In horror I began to look at the faces of all the walking dead as they stumbled out of the forest. I knew them! I recognized them! I had seen that one in the grocery store last week, and that man with the beard had asked me for money as I walked out. I had pushed my way past him and shuddered at his filthiness! Those young ones to my left lived down the street and why, that girl went to my daughter’s dance school!
Tears sprang to my eyes, what was happening? What should I do? Way back, in the recesses of my mind I began to hear a loud pounding, the sound of nails being driven into wood and then the comforting voice of my Father “Bring them to the cross.” He said. “Bring them to the cross where I can lavish my great love on them, tell them about the riches of my mercy, my grace and my kindness.”
The stench of rotting flesh once again hit my nostrils and I gagged. So close! They were so close! Flies began to land on my face, crawling towards my eyes and the eyes of my enemy glowed red in the forest in front of me. I could almost sense the superior, smug smile on the devil’s face, the smile of one who thinks they are winning. A small, grey child walked towards me, long hair matted, blood dripping down her neck and a look of tremendous torment and anguish in her dull, lifeless eyes.
Suddenly I felt an almighty crack! The sound reverberated through my chest causing my heart to quake. It was the sound of a fine china teacup splintering into a thousand jagged pieces as it fell to the floor. It was the sound of my Father’s heart breaking as He looked into the lifeless eyes and agonized faces of the little girl, my neighbour, the man at the grocery store…
Tears began to gush out of my eyes, pouring down my cheeks and I opened my mouth and began to yell as loud as I could, “Jesus is the way, the truth, the life.” “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
From the middle of the forest I began to hear an awful buzzing sound, like a chainsaw eating its way through a tree, it grew louder and louder and more and more frenzied. Deafening. Ear splitting. The flies began to swirl in a huge, frantic circle. Threatening. I threw my hands over my ears to block out the sound and as I did a little voice whispered, “I wish.” It seemed like time stood still, everything stopped… All of a sudden there was a ripping sound as the enemy tore into millions of black, icy shards! “I wish,” said the little girl. “I wish too,” shouted my neighbour, “I wish for the water of life!” All around me were whispers, then shouts of “I wish.” Simple. Easy.
I felt a drop of water land on my arm, a big, fat, golden drop of grace! Raising my face I looked to the heavens and saw rain, a huge torrent of golden rain! As it hit my face laughter welled up within me, it was healing rain. Rain from the very throne room of God. Glistening drops of living water! The little girl in front of me began to giggle, she stretched out her arms as wide as she could and spun in circles, arms reaching to get every single drop she could. And oh – her eyes, blue like the colour of the bluest sea and the brightest sky!
All around me eyes began to open, blue, green, brown, beautiful! There was laughter in the air and colour everywhere! No more grey. Clean, everyone looked so clean, so full of life.
“Thank you Father,” I whispered as I slid to my knees, “You give living water to those who ask, life to those who simply believe!” Wonder and amazement filled my heart, “You do all things well!”
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-6