The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
If you've been with us awhile, you have seen this several times. It has been almost exactly three years since the last occasion, so it seems about time for another journey into…
"The Deep Dark Woods"
A father startled his little boy when one evening he said to him, "Tomorrow, son, it's time for you to go into the deep, dark woods!"
The boy had often watched his father venture into the vast stand of trees that surrounded the family property. He so loved and admired his dad's seeming fearlessness concerning the dangers that might lie in the woods. His father's suggestion nevertheless bewildered and even terrified him. The woods terrified him. He shuddered at the prospect of venturing into them.
"Uh, Dad, did you say you want me to go into the deep, dark woods?" The boy feared he might have correctly heard his father.
The man smiled and replied without hesitation. "Yes, son, tomorrow's the day. I have no doubt you're ready, and I'll wake you up at the crack of dawn for a good breakfast, and then, and then a journey into the forest! Your first journey!
The boy slept little through a long, fitful night. When he did, dreams became nightmares as imaginations of what might lie in the forest startled him to wakefulness. How could his dad believe he was ready for the deep, dark woods? What might lie in their fearful depths? What was his father thinking?
Sunrise brought a knock on his bedroom door, followed by his father's voice. "Son, are you awake? It's time. Today's the day! It's time for you to go into the deep dark woods!" The little boy paused, trying find the courage to respond, "Yes, Dad, I'm awake." The enthusiastic voice sounded again through the door. "Great son, get your clothes on and come to the kitchen. I'm making a big breakfast for you so you'll be ready for your big day!"
The little boy arose and began to get dressed. He thought about his father, remembering again the courage and bravery of his dad. He also considered more how much his father loved him. He knew this was true! The boy realized his father must know something he didn't know. "If Dad thinks I'm ready, well…. I know I can trust him!"
The boy ate little of his breakfast as the sun rose on the fateful day. "Not hungry, son?" asked the father. The boy looked at his dad, still feeling uncertain about things ahead, but also trusting the man even more as he looked into his eyes. "No sir, not really" said the boy, barely speaking above a whisper. "I guess I'm just thinking about the deep, dar…". The boy found himself unable to say the words.
His dad smiled. "Of course, son, you're too excited to eat. I understand. Get your backpack. I'll meet you out by the poplars," he said, referring to a stand of hardwoods where an opening allowed entrance into the forest.
When the boy arrived at the spot, his dad was not yet there. He gazed into the woods. How beautiful they were as rays of the rising sun glimmered through the branches and leaves damp with dew. He loved the trees - from a safe distance - and he often lingered as he watched his dad disappear into the forest for his journeys. How brave was his father! And how much the little boy knew he was not like him! A sense of shame, coupled with fear, churned within his heart as tears formed in his eyes. He gulped hard, and thought to himself again, "I can trust my dad!"
The boy heard his father's approaching footsteps. The man drew near and put his arm around his son's shoulder. "All right, son, are you ready?" The boy quickly wiped a tear and looked up at his father. "Yes Dad, I think so. I think I'm ready."
The father replied, "Me too, son. I've been waiting for this moment since the day your were born! There are so many things in these deep, dark woods I want to show you. Let's get going!"
The boy's father set out toward the opening in the poplars. His son stood still, however, frozen in his tracks. Once again, he could barely speak, but as best he could, the boy called out to his father. "Dad… Dad, are you going with me?"
The father stopped and turned to face his son. He smiled and reached out for the boy to come and join him. "Of course I'm going with you, son! You're not yet ready for a journey into the deep, dark woods by yourself. Someday you will be, but this is not that day. No, not yet. Yes, I'm going with you into the deep, dark woods. We are going together, and I'm going to show you things I could never describe to you with words. It will be wonderful, and how I've looked forward to this moment!" The man looked deeply into his son's eyes. "Are you ready?"
Needless to say, the little boy was ready. He was more ready to journey into the deep, dark woods than anything he had ever done. His dad was going with him! His brave, strong father would accompany him every step of the way, transforming the vast forest from portents of fear and uncertainty to promises of discovery and awe. "Yes, I am ready, Dad!" he almost shouted with excitement. I am ready to go into the deep, dark woods!"
Whence we go, we go not alone. Our Heavenly Father journeys with us. Whether we venture unto shining summits, where vistas of beauty await our awed eyes, or into deep, dark woods that threaten with seeming peril, we shall not go alone. "I am with you always" promised the Lord Jesus, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). In Christ, God gives to us Himself. Thus, we can face anything and everything with the assurance the Lord Jesus will be everything we need Him to be in every moment, in every place, in every circumstance. Always with us, never to leave us - this is the promise of He who cannot lie. Are you ready? He asks. Let us respond, "Oh yes, Father, I am ready!"
"The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge."
Weekly Memory Verse
The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.