A tribe of early Native American Indians had a unique rite of passage for young Braves. On the night of a boy’s 13th birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of his family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away.
When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick wood, and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, as dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest, the boy looked around and saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he saw the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father, who had been there all night long.
Friends, at those very moments when our lives are not too different from the experience of that pitch-dark forest, may this story inspire our hearts and minds to remember that although we may feel at times alone, we are never lonely. Our heavenly Father is always with us, our Lord Jesus Christ is always with us. When the darkness is dispelled by the rays of His light, at that moment, we experience and see that our Lord is watching over us and guarding us as the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).