Over the next several weeks we’ll be posting installments of a short story put together by our own Carter Mundy. As we have seen in our series – “Jesus Stories” – truth communicated via the avenue of a story (or parable) has the ability to captivate, convict, and encourage the reader in a unique way. We hope you enjoy.
John 8:31–32, 42–47
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain
faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come
to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what
I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father
the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He
has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with
his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally
don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the
truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of
God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
Jesus reminds us that the truth will set us free as we follow him, the Savior of humanity. We will be free from a worthless life and free from those things which would enslave us, separating us from our true Father and Maker—the one who assigns our purpose and designs our life. What a glorious hope that has become reality. Jesus had to confront stubborn people, however, who refused to hear the truth and chose to believe a lie. But before we judge these people too harshly we must recognize our own tendency to refuse reality and desire imaginary circumstances and objects of affection. We perceive ourselves as gods, creating our own imaginary world in which we reign; but in actuality we are virtually powerless. We are blind to the true reality that we are slaves to our own lusts and placed under God’s wrath because of our disobedience; we are dead spiritually—under a curse like the whole of creation—until a Savior came and raised us to life, showing us who we were made to be, and who one day will restore all things to their proper order. The following story will demonstrate this truth in the life of one Everich Persona. Everich finds himself lost between two worlds, unable to find truth until he sees the Light. Please only take away from this story that which will remind you of and draw you closer to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Everich’s story unfolds:
Everich woke up restless and sweating. Had the night gone by so slowly that he couldn’t recall where he was? Blankly staring at a shadowed ceiling he thought he was at home, but he wasn’t sure just yet. The room was dark and cool; he felt as though he lay in bed—no smell of dirt filled his nostrils nor chilling dampness caused him discomfort, and he recognized he was rather warm after coming to his senses. His recurring nightmare plagued him once more; just reflecting on it sent shivers down his spine. What started as a nebulous series of dreams began to cause him much dissonance and suffering, even every night; he was running out of courage.
This whole experience of being powerless was strange to Everich. He was the head of a very profitable company—one of the youngest chief executive officers in history, as a matter of fact. He held great pride in being a young man of power and was never shy to use it to his advantage, especially for more lascivious reasons. Every week it seemed he was with a different woman more beautiful than the last. And of course, being powerful, which woman would refuse him? But further, he considered himself unequivocally handsome, kind, admirable from any viewpoint; virtually desirable in everyway. Because of his unparalleled character and achievements Everich was made famous across the world. Everyone wanted a piece of him and he loved it. He also considered himself unparalleled in political and cultural influence because of his fame. It was as though everyone in the world knew the name Everich Persona, and all people everywhere loved him with fervent passion. Everyone was at his beck-and-call; anyone would lay down their life for him. The whole world was at his finger-tips. Everich would go so far as to say that the world was his; yes, this was his world, indeed.
But something was amiss in his perfect world.
“Would you say that you have troubles, Mr. Persona?” a psychiatrist dispassionately inquired. His tone was neither caring nor uncaring, friendly nor unfriendly.
Everich looked off into nothingness. “I wouldn’t say I have troubles at all. In fact, I’m the most carefree person I know! I have everything I could ever want, and more. Everyone likes me, my life is interesting and fun… but these dreams… they are very much the opposite of my lifestyle. They’re out of this world. They were vague at first. But over time they became more and more realistic until now they feel completely real! It’s as if I’m leading two different lives—one right after the other. I go to sleep in this world and wake up in another strange and terrifying world.”
“Well, Mr. Persona, please: describe this other-worldly experience. Perhaps talking about it in a safe environment will ease your mind and convince you that these are not real experiences at all; that this is the real world, and that this other place is only a dream—a figment of your imagination.”
“I’m not sure if I can do it, Doctor. I begin to panic when I reflect on these evil reveries. It’s most frightening to me now that theses dreams are growing longer and more vivid! I used to wake during the night and remember vague details of the place. But now I wakeup after a full night of this torture, recalling every detail, every smell and taste and feeling. I even think, for a moment, that I can feel the grit of the dirt on my body and the cold, wet earth that surrounds my final thoughts of that despicable place.”
“Now, now, Mr. Persona; you must get over your irrational fear. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what it was like last night from the moment you went to sleep until the moment you woke up. Be as thorough as you can. And remember, it was only a dream.”
Everich dispelled a long sigh. He knew he had to do something to gain control of his problem. If talking about it would help, he supposed, “I… I’ll try. I hadn’t done anything differently than I normally do…” Everich began.
He had gone to bed, terrified of having another nightmare. But he had to go to sleep; some nights he had no dreams; maybe he’d get lucky, he thought. Everich lingered a bit, trying to think of how much money he had, how much influence he possessed, and how many women he’d been with—you know, “happy thoughts.” But the sleep was too much for him and he began to drift off into another world. Everich woke to find himself in what seemed to be a hole in the ground. It was pitch black and his screams were muffled by the dirt that surrounded him. He kicked and scratched and clawed and could smell the musty earth that was his resting place—could feel the damp soil and roots brushing his skin—could feel things crawling all over his body. Then something grasped his ankle! His blood curdling shrieks gave way to whimpers. He could barely make any sound at all.