I cling to what is around me, everything I have created with my own hands. I may be cloaked in the night’s darkness; I may feel the chill of the air whipping its gusts through my bare skin, but my mind is rest assured in what I have built. The soil beneath my bare feet is moist and teaming with night creatures that worm their way around in the black earth. I see one worm’s slimy shell meander his way to my pristine work of art I made the night of last. It stands tall. A miniature castle built of limestone and the finest jewels my hands could find.
It’s not just one worm now that has leached his ugly form to the walls of my creation, but a multitude I never knew existed beneath my toes.
I rush to the castle, furiously whipping my hands at the creatures who lay siege to the castle that once seemed so indestructible. In my fury I discover streaks of brown stains that looked like hideous tails left behind by the worms following their own path.
My hands began their sweeping motion along the limestone, desperately attempting to wipe the smudges that have darkened the once pure white tower. But the effort has been in waste. The grime has embedded itself into the stone too deep to repair. My efforts are useless.
I sink to the ground once more, trying to ease my distress in the other creations my hands have made. A slight smile forms at my mouth as I look at the jewelry box, the quilt of satin, and the porcelain bust. My limestone castle may be marred, but I still have other possessions to keep me company and to retain my identity.
I still have built a lasting legacy with my creations. I can still be deemed good and worthwhile from what my hands have made.
My thoughts are pushed aside as the earth begins to rumble. The sound was first only a light pounding; the vibrations only tickling my bare feet. The sound rises to such high decimals that I begin to cover my ears from the painful incessant cries from the earth. Cracks in the earth now appear, each spreading more second after second like a rip in fabric that inevitably will be torn apart. My mind reacts to the obvious; the earth is being torn and my treasures are now beginning to dance along with the earth’s shakes.
I see the treasures collapse into the cracks that have lengthened into gaps. I hold my chest in panic, and move to the works my hands have created, attempting to save the beauties that have encapsulated my life. Each effort of salvation has produced vain results. Each piece has now become swallowed by the earth that was once my home, and once seemed like it posed no threat.
My frantic running to save my creations has ceased as I lie on the ground, cheek to the dirt, with worms interlacing their grubby bodies between my toes. Tears become the outflow of my eyes as I realize my nothingness. I have nothing to show for my life. No legacy to leave behind. No astounding masterpiece that deems me good or worthy to grace this planet.
What do I have to show for my life if everything around me has been eaten by the very ground that has become my abode? My soul over floods with disparagement, as it knows it has been downgraded to the lowest of lows because my works have now taken root in the dust of the ground.
As sobs escape my lips, I realize death seems like the logical choice. What do I have to live for if all that I possess that is good is now gone? As the gleam of the moonlight pierces its illuminating light to the ground, I see well enough to reach for something sharp. It is the remains of the tower of my castle. My handmade turret is pointed at the tip, enough to do the damage I’m desiring- enough to bring to an end a life void of good.
“My little one, what are you doing?”
Such a simple statement, but I question it all the same. “My father is the only who called me little one, and he abandoned me. Who are you to call me that?” I look around me, expecting to see a crazed lunatic whose demented mind has mistaken me for his child. But no being is produced in the surrounding forest. No man has made his home in the trees.
The call comes again. “You are my creation. How could you believe that anything that you make with your own hands would ever produce goodness in your life? Why do you feel like you have to earn goodness? There is no goodness within you. I purposely allowed your creations to come to destruction because they are the measurement of what has overtaken them. They are no better than the worms of the ground or the dust of the earth.”
“I don’t understand,” my voice shrills on high to the heavens. “Didn’t you see what I’ve made?! Are you mocking me? How dare you say that there’s no good in what my hands have created!”
“All of your life, you have attempted to earn your own grace and goodness. You have created works with your own hands in an attempt to cover the sin in your life. You’re working on penance. You hope beyond hope that something you do can clean up the mess of your life. But how can a shack with holes pitted through the windows become a mansion if there is never anyone who can tear it down and build it anew? You’ve been trying to decorate your shack all along by painting flowers along the rotting wood. You call it a mansion, but all it is is a shack with gunk on a failing façade.”
Are you calling my work gunk? How dare you! I have no clue who you are but you have no right to call my works ‘gunk.’ And what do you mean by ‘penance?’ I’ve been doing good my whole life!”
“You’re still covering up what you know all along to be true. You’re working to produce good. You’re trying to save yourself by the works of your own hands. But I have seen what your hands have done all of these years. I have seen them slap a man you called your friend out of hate. I have seen them used as tools of sexual idolatry. I have seen you worship other gods other than me by building your ‘treasures’ as vessels of your sole adoration.”
“And that, what you speak of, is bad?”
“Yes. It divides you from me. See, I have created you with the intention of being the one to remove the shack from your life so to speak. I desire to make you anew, but you first must recognize that what your hands have created all this time has been in vain and has led to destruction. I am holy. You are not. You attempt to create pseudo-holiness from your hands, but it is nothing, and it is only disgusting in my eyes.”
“I don’t know if I can do that. My works…they were beautiful. They looked like treasures! And the so-called ‘bad’ you said I did really wasn’t much of anything.”
“You still cling to yourself as your own god I see, trying to win your own goodness based on something that I myself can destroy in seconds. And I did. The bad you did, you’ve been doing your whole life. How can you not understand that nothing you do when you function on your own can ever equate to good? My eyes despise it! That person you looked at with lust the other day was my child. Your obscene thoughts angered me because they are my own child that you are defiling in your head. It may seem like a trite act to you, but it hurts me as a Father, so much so, that I must deem it adultery. That man you slapped the other day? I saw your thoughts. Your bitterness was so seething that if your eyes were weapons that could shoot darts, that man would be dead. That man is my creation. What I saw in your mind was a murderous intent, and to me your thoughts were the equivalent of murder.”
“What right do you have to say this to me?!”
“Still trying to cling on to some dignity instead of truly being broken before me, I see. You know what is interesting? You already know who I am. I’m the One who is Holy. I am the only God. And I am the only One who makes holiness possible.”“If what you said is true, and I really am bad, is there hope?”
“There is always hope.”
I take a look at my surroundings again. I see the object before me that I was attempting to stop my breath, my heart, and everything within me- the pointed faux turret. I see the works of my hands now shattered and lying in a grave of soot and worms. It’s all futile. It was all worthless. Everything has only failed me, even what I thought was good was only fleeting. What’s the point of my so called goodness if it can only be destroyed in seconds?
I crumble to the ground and cry out to the Holy One in the sky to save me, and to redeem my life. My tears shower my face until my skin eventually burns from the salt of my eyes.
“You’re right. You’re so right. My whole life has been in vain! Even my goodness has been worthless. My evil deeds are ever before me! I have no clue how to make it better, my Holy One.”
“That’s what I’ve wanted from you this whole time; for you to give up. You can’t try to please me with your own works, so don’t even try. Salvation and true goodness is closer than what you could ever imagine. But it’s not found in you, or through you.”
“Then there is hope for me?”
“Not by your own merit. But yes, there is hope for you. I’ve watched you from the time that you were a child. I have summoned you by name and ransomed you by the pardoning of my Son’s blood. I sent my Holy Son here to earth to die for you as a perfect sacrifice. You spend time trying to sacrifice with your own hands, but each act is imperfect because you are not holy. My Son took on your sins, and when He bore them in agony and died, He died with your sins. Only through His perfection could you ever be made perfect, and only through His death could the evils of your heart ever be vanished from my eyes. Do you understand, little one?”
“So…you must love me then?”
“More than you could ever imagine! No lover could ever compare to the love I have for you. No Father could love you as perfectly as I love you. No one would ever go to the lengths I have for you, all to ransom you from your muck and bring you into my presence. I want to sing over you, and I want our separation to end. I’ve been fighting for you longer than you know; it’s time to finally surrender and stop fighting my love.”
“You’re right. I’m done! I can’t fight any more. I was going to take my life tonight. Did you know this?”
“Of course I did. You were finally at the state of brokenness I needed you to be at for my hope to become relevant and real to you. But you don’t have to die, little one. Your Lord has already died for you and taken on your imperfections, your failures, your sins. Killing yourself would be a mockery to me and the gift I’m fighting to give you.”
“You are truly Lord! What do I call you?”
“I go by many names: Elohim, the Great I AM, Jesus, Prince of Peace, and many more that could fill up more books than you have ever read.”
“Jesus, you died for me? How can it be so? I’m so sorry that my sin caused you death, but I thank you so much for it! I don’t want to commit evil with my hands, I want to do good. But I know that goodness can only come from you. Forgive me. Forgive me! Please be the One to help me turn away from sin and a life of working for goodness by my own merit. My works are really what you say: they’re food for worms and dirt. Be the One to save me, because I sure can’t.”
It was almost as if I could feel an invisible division break in that moment as I felt the Holy One, my Savior, smile down at me.
“Don’t forget, those blood stained hands had a purpose. Agony of God Himself on the cross had its purpose. Your sin was officially killed that day. Never attempt to unearth it back again and try to win your own goodness. It is impossible.”
Please leave a note to let me know if this story in any way resonates with your own life. As a disclaimer: this is a metaphorical story and as such, the voice of God should not be appropriated as the literal voice of God. Search the Scriptures and find the words written by the original Ink Blotter who authored your very life.