Had he seen what he thought he saw? The cold breeze rustling the fallen leaves only added to the chill in his soul. Had it not been for the few remaining minutes of nightfall, the long shadows of the trees would have been indecipherable from the darkness on the ground. As he looked back to the darkest spot he could see, everything seemed lifeless. Only moments ago, he was sure there was something there.
Earlier that afternoon, he had decided to take a long walk because he knew something was wrong. That morning, at church, something seemed to hover over him. It wanted him to leave. He could not remember a time when he was not involved in the church. He was raised there, made his profession of faith there, was baptized there, and now served as a deacon, but he was not the man they thought he was.
Several years ago, he began going to places online that a Christian should not visit. Comparatively, they seemed innocent enough, but they turned out to be stepping stones to even darker areas. It was so gradual he had not noticed his heart growing cold.
In the beginning, he was sure he could stop anytime he wanted, but how do you end something you have no desire to end? There were moments when the thought of being exposed would overshadow him with fear. During those times, he would resolve to put it all behind him, but it never lasted. As soon as the anxiety passed, he would begin inching closer and closer to his old habits.
He had not realized that the darkness had begun speaking to him. He would occasionally think, “If I would let this Christian thing go, I could do this whenever I wanted.” There were even times when he would say to himself, “Maybe my church is too rigid. Other churches think what I am doing is acceptable.” As he listened to the secret cries of his sin, the darkness drew in closer, tightening its grip.
Last night, it had drawn him into his online world further than he had ever gone. It probably would not have bothered him, but as he sat in church, he seemed to lose the ability to discern if the darkness surrounding him was an enemy or a friend. He did not know what to do, so he got up and walked out in the middle of the sermon.
As he came to the end of his walk, he had trouble seeing because the sun had disappeared behind the horizon. That is when the shadows seemed to move, and they seemed to be moving toward him. Even as he continued to walk, they seemed to be tracking him and drawing in closer. That is when he decided to stand still.
Were his eyes playing tricks on him, or was there something in the darkness? His final thought before everything went black was, “Either God is showing me the state of my soul to grant me repentance, or I have been weighed in the balance and have been found wanting, and he is turning me over to my sinful desires.”
When he came to, he was unsure what had happened. Had he blacked out, or was his mind playing tricks on him? He looked back to the darkest spot he could see, and everything seemed lifeless. He gathered himself and walked the rest of the way home. The light coming from the window of his house was a welcomed sight. Opening the front door, he felt a sense of relief. After settling himself and putting it all behind him, he ate a quick dinner, sat down in his favorite chair, and opened his laptop.
Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is to have you. – Genesis 4:7
“Take heed, this is that thy lust is working towards, the hardening of the heart, searing of the conscience, blinding of the mind, stupifying of the affections, and deceiving of the whole soul.” – John Owen