The Covering

Written April 2, 2011.

Exposed. Shivering. Eyes cast downward. I hug my arms around my trembling body as if to shield myself from the mass of judgmental eyes that glare at me through the darkness. Fear has paralyzed me; I am no longer able to run, but neither dare I stand and face my tormentors. If I ignore them, maybe they will go away. Maybe I will wake to find that this is only a bad dream. Yet the hideously glowing eyes seem to expand, to fill the void, to close in on me. I feel as though I am suffocating, crushed beneath the pressing weight of their stares. The concentrated beams radiating from their eyes seems to pierce my very soul, searching my thoughts and my memories, taking what is not rightfully theirs and making a mockery of my pain.

Though these shapeless forms have neither body nor features, I distinctly feel the condemning fingers of blame pointed at me as they surround me. A hissing whisper slices the darkness like a knife. What it says, I cannot even bring myself to repeat, but the words it utters are a shameful accusation of my past. I cringe, shutting my eyes tight and holding myself tighter, rocking back and forth to keep the pain at bay as another demonic voice chimes in, and another, and another. It becomes a chant, growing louder and louder in a cacophony of screeching reminders. Every mistake, every regret, every hellish outcome of every bad decision, is cruelly replayed in my ears.

Oh God, make it stop. I press my hands to my ears, hoping that maybe if I can block out the hideous cries, I can block out the past. That maybe I can block out the pain. That maybe I can block out the truth. Oh God… I know I’ve doubted you, cursed you, spat in your face. But if you’re somewhere in this void, if you’re everything you claim to be, oh God, make it stop. They’re closing in around me.

As I fall to my knees, I feel what seems to be a steady drip of rain splashing on me. I have fallen into what I can only describe as a shadow, yet it is as if all colors have been inverted, for I find myself within the confines of glorious light. In a miraculous paradox, it simultaneously exposes me and yet somehow covers me more completely than the shameful secrecy of darkness ever has. Its blinding intensity shines into the blackest corners of my soul, but this time there is no fear or shame. There is only transparency, a healing relief. The lies are stripped from the image I have spent my life so carefully crafting, leaving me vulnerable, yet safe, before the perfection of this all-encompassing light. All I have done, all I am, all I have become, is revealed in its dazzling brilliance. There is nowhere to hide. But there is no need to hide.

This shadow of light (if such a term can indeed describe it), lengthened and distorted by the late hour, is nonetheless a shape I recognize. I could call it a plus sign or a letter of the alphabet, but my heart cannot deny the truth. It is the shape of the cross. As I lift my eyes to the dying man suspended above me, I see that these droplets that have covered me are of his blood. As the voices of the demons fade from my ears, I realize that their scornful accusations, though true to my own past, are not directed at me at all. Safely covered by the shadow of the cross, I have escaped the hell of unending reminder and regret. In shielding me from blame, this Savior has become my target.

As I lower my head from the sight, tears of sorrow beginning to fall, a gentle whisper somehow rises above the din of demonic accusation: “Lift up your head, my child; for he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will cover you with my feathers, and under my wings you will find refuge. My faithfulness will be your shield and your rampart.”

My past becomes irrelevant, falling away into the shadows as I rest beneath the cross. The air is hushed and all becomes still as a final sigh escapes the lips of my Redeemer: “It is finished.” I have been covered.

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Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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