A Tale of Freedom

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

Jacob woke up from a hard sleep, wondering somewhat where he was.  He looked around to get his bearings, and then began to rub his eyes.  He looked down at his side table, and noticed a book that had not been there when he dozed off the night before.  He sat up, very curious.  Living in a small eight by twelve foot space in the middle of a large open building, his world, where no-one is allowed to leave their life space, and especially enter another’s, makes this rather puzzling.  Should he open it and see what it is?  Was this a trap set by the Ultimate Ruler to determine who was faithful and punish those who were not?  He was confused.  Who could have placed it there?  He stared at the book.  It was enticing him to open it.  He perused the area around his room.  No one was looking.  He reached out and touched it, then quickly pulled his hand back.  Nothing strange.  He looked around again, and slowly turned to the side of his bed and carefully picked up the book.  He lifted the cover and found one sentence on the page.  “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33b)

He quickly shut it.  This was not right.   This life, the world, was all he had ever known.  It was all there was.  What does it mean He had overcome the world?  Who was this ‘he’?  He quickly put the book back on the side table.  “This was wrong” he said out loud.   He put his hand over his mouth and looked around.  No one seemed to hear.  Their world was a huge place filled with innumerable cordoned off  spaces exactly the same size,  each surrounded by a six inch tall ledge topped by a black light tube that signaled crossing it would result in death.  This small wall ensured you stayed in your slice of the world where it was safe.  Each space was surrounded by a walkway a foot wide, the purpose of which he did not know because no one was allowed to walk around outside of their space.  What did the writer mean his world had been overcome?  And who was this “I”?  He had to know.  He picked up the book again and opened to the next page.  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”  (Joh 14:6a)

He closed the book again.  What does that mean?  What ‘way’ is he talking about?  He already knew the truth, it was essentially the world and the fact he could never leave, and he had no real reason to either.  All his needs are provided.  He is content.  He is alive.  He then spoke softly.  “I love my life.  Whatever I desire, I can have.  It is always provided for me.  The world has been good to me.”  This was very confusing, but very intriguing as well.  He decided to look further, hoping the mystery of this book would be solved.  He went to the next page.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  (1 Joh 2:15)  He shut the book again and tossed it onto the bed.  “This is ridiculous.  How can I not love this world?”  He got up from the bed and started to walk across his space.  He looked at the others around him.  Many were waking up and beginning to start their day.  Some were having breakfast, while others were playing games with the computer, the giver of all things.  He waved to Joe in the space next to him.  He waved back apathetically,  and suddenly he noticed that Joe was not smiling.  In fact he never remembered him smiling.  Further more, neither did Jim or Sara or Wanda, who were on the other three sides.  He had never noticed that before.  He then looked in the mirror.  He was not smiling either.  The world had convinced them all they were happy, but actually they were just existing.  Maybe that is what the book was trying to get across.

However, there was this nagging mystery.  Who is this Father?  Everything he read led to another question.  Was he the writer of this book?  He went over to the bed, sat down and opened it to the next page.  “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”  (1 Joh 4:14)  Wow, another person.  A son of this father.   Who are these people?  Jacob was now fascinated.  He thought it was a fable, but somehow it was penetrating his heart.  What danger was the world in that it needed saving?  It must not have been that bad because he had not heard and seen anything that would have hinted of danger.  Maybe it was a long time ago.  But he saved my world, and for that I should be grateful.  But, how can I believe this if I do not know who these two are?   He decided to turn the page.  “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, He is the Son of God.”  (Act 9:20)  Oh, now it was clear.  The father must be God.  And his son is this person Jesus.

But I have always been told that God does not exist?  The Ultimate Ruler is very smart.  He has always told me the truth.  However, he has told me everyone here was happy, and I am not that happy.  I thought I was, but, what can I do?  This is all there is, and this is my life.  I must try to be happy.  I do not want to dwell on this.  He takes the book and throws it into his garbage receptacle.  Suddenly a loud whirring sound occurred for a couple of seconds, and the book was gone.  He could now put this aside and do something that would make him happy.  He went to the giver of all things, brought up several happy movies and watched them all day until he nodded off to sleep for the night.

However, he did not sleep well.  He just could not get that book out of his mind.  He had destroyed it before sleeping so there was no way to find out what more it said.  That was probably a good thing though, these ideas could get him in trouble.  The last person who became disenchanted with the world was never seen or heard from again.  No idea what happened, but he was not all that crazy about finding out.   He slowly sat up and shook his head as though to get rid of any remaining vestiges of sleep.  He reached over to his side table and his hand touched something that should not be there.  He turned and looked, and there was the book that he had destroyed the evening before.  He immediately jumped out of bed, stumbling over the blankets that covered him, falling flat on his stomach.   Stunned, he got up and faced the night table.  How could this be?  He remembers throwing it in the garbage shredder and hearing it being destroyed.  He leaned over, looking closer.   It looked like the same book.  He slowly opened it to the first page.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mat 24:35)  He slowly backed up.  Now this was freaky.  It’s like this book knew what he was thinking.  This was no ordinary book.

Now, he thought he would experiment a little.  So, he said out loud in hushed tones, “Why has this book come to me, and why these words?”  He thought to himself, if this question is answered on the next page, then maybe I should pay more attention.  He slowly turned the page.  He could not believe what he read.  “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (Joh 20:31)  He looked up, eyes wide open.  He tried again, this time only thinking the question.  “Do you really know me?”  He then turned the page.  “Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.” (Isa 44:2)  Now he fell to his knees.  He really knows who I am.  No one in this world knows who I am, or even cares.  This book though, or the writer, does know me, and by name.

“Tell me who you are!”  He said this with a loud voice, not caring now who heard him.  He buried his face in his hands.  He suddenly felt a breeze come into the room.  He lifted his head, and as he looked at the book, he saw the page turn by the power of the wind.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Joh 1:1)  He said, this time looking directly at the book,  “You are God?”  The page turned again.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Joh 14:6)  and underneath that, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (Joh 17:16-17)  Suddenly, it was like a light came on in his mind.  He now understood.  This Jesus is from God, whom the Ultimate Ruler told him did not exist.  And this book was sent by him to show the truth which had been kept from him, and all that are in this world.  And through answering by the book the questions he had, he could not deny this truth.  So, the Ultimate Ruler lied to him.  It was the only conclusion that made sense.  He thought, if he lied to me about this, what else did he lie to me about?  Then, it dawned on him.  To us, not just me, all that are in the world.  Everyone here, Joe, Jim, Sarah, Wanda, everyone had been duped by the Ruler of this World.  We made him Lord, he said he would take care of us and make us satisfied, but he did nothing of the kind.  He may provide us all we think we need, but what we need is something far greater.  We need to be………….happy.  That’s it.  We thought we were because we were told we were.  And we all fell for it.  None of us are happy, we are merely existing, taking what the ruler said will satisfy us; movies, games, friendship with the four who surround us.   Food when we need it, drink when we need it.  All those things our physical body craves.  But nothing that really satisfies our true needs; joy, peace, ………..and love.

Then the page turned again.  He reached over and picked it up, reading the words on this page.  “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (Joh 14:16-17)  and after that, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)  “Wow!”  It was all that he could say.  These are the attributes that truly bring contentment.  And if the Spirit provides these to those he is with, then we can experience this from other like-minded people.

He was convinced.  What he had now was good, at least he had thought it was good. until he found out there was something better.   Now he knew it was all a lie.  A lie from the Ruler of this world who wanted everyone to be content with the things of this world.  “What do I do now?”  He said he was the way, and that no one comes to the Father but by him.  Maybe this is where I should start.  He turned the page.  “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Rom 10:9-10)  With all he had seen, this seemed so true.  So he spoke out, “Jesus, you have shown me, through this book, who you are, that you know me, and you care about me.  You are real, and I want you to be my Lord.  Save me from the delusion of this world.  I do not understand this raising from the dead thing, but if you said it, then I believe you..”  Suddenly, something was different.  He could not figure out what it was, but he felt different.  His face felt funny.  He looked in the mirror, and he was startled.  He found himself smiling.  Then he realized he was happy.  For the first time in his life, he knew what joy really was.  He loved it.  He never wanted to lose this feeling.  It was the best he has ever felt.

“So, now what do I do?  Was this it?”  Can’t be.  There must be more to this life than that.  So he looked around for the book.  He had dropped it due to the surprise of seeing the smile, and found it to the left of where he stood.  He reached down, picked it up, and opened it.  What he saw scared him.  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Mat 24:14)  He knew what this meant.  He was being asked to go through this world and tell others what he has now come to understand.  He had never left his little place in the world.  Now, he was being told not just to walk outside his little square, but to go to all the others and tell them so that they could see and accept what he had just accepted.  What was beyond this little corner of his existence?  He believed this word he had received, but to go out into the whole world was more than he had bargained for.  He had doubts that what he said would make sense to them.  Why could not the author of this book just show this to everyone else, like he had shown it to him?  Why do I have to go out?  Realizing there was no other way, he cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mar 9:24)  He cried out from the very core of his being because he knew he definitely needed help.  And he began to feel boldness fill him, as the fear dissipated.  So, he took the book and walked to the edge of his space.  He hesitated, then slowly stepped over the six inch wall and the black light.  After he was all the way out, he stopped, waiting for sirens and someone to show up and put him back in his space, or maybe kill him.  Nothing happened.  He slowly took another step, then another, then another.  Nothing changed.  He then realized that the warnings given by the Ultimate Ruler were just more delusions.  He saw signs telling him to not leave his space or severe penalties would follow.  Nothing.

So he wandered throughout all the world telling everyone he met about how there was a greater life beyond what this world had to offer.  He did all he could do to convince them, however, no matter how hard he tried, there were only a few that came with him.  He did everything he could to convince them about Jesus and what he offered.  But the vast majority of them refused to leave the comfort of the world.  They were not happy, but were deluded into believing they were.  Jacob was happy he had seen the truth and that he acted upon it. His smile never left his face, nor the smiles from the faces of the disciples he had made.  They divided up and were able to cover more ground, and this helped them reach more with the truth of that book.

When they had reached the last person, suddenly a man appears in front of Jacob, wearing a long white robe.  Just after that, all who believed their testimony came to the spot he was at, staring intently at the person that stood before them.  They all thought this was from the Ultimate Ruler, there to punish them and put them back in their spaces.  They were afraid for what would happen to them, however, revealing himself as Jesus, he spoke to them saying, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Mat 25:21)  Upon hearing this, their hearts were filled with joy.  He then led them to a gate that had up to that point been hidden.  It was very narrow, and only two could pass at a time.   When they were all in, the gate was shut and locked, and after a few minutes of walking, they arrived at a beautiful place, a large field that looked out upon a great city.  And a voice came from all around them saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev21:3-4)  They were home, their final home.  A place where they would never be alone, and will experience love as they never had before.  And they were happy, truly happy.  The world promised and did not deliver.  Their God, whom they were told was a myth, did deliver.  Their old, dreary lives were gone, and true life had finally come.  So they walked the rest of the way to the city and entered into the joy of the Lord.

And they all  lived happily ever after with no end.

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  1. Great as always Bill! You are an excellent writer!

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