A parable is an allegory that focuses on a small sliver of the Kingdom experience. In reality, a presentation of the whole of the Kingdom would overload any human mind. This is one of those parables.
There you are in a cold dark hallway; a shivering child in the blackness of an unseen corridor.
You are walking along fine until you scrape your knee. You haven’t a clue what it was you bumped it on, as you can’t see your hand in front of you. You walk a few feet and knock the side of your head on something suspended from the ceiling. After a good cry and another few yards, you trip over something in the floor and roll into a ball, but not before you cut your shoulder on what feels like a knife.
You are beginning to loose feeling in your limbs from the blood loss, and the corridor seems colder than it was before.
“Is anybody there? Can somebody help me?” you cry, and suddenly the light switch is thrown on.
You hear a voice through the blinding light that asks, “Are you Ok? You look terrible. Why didn’t you call me sooner?” but all you can get out is unintelligible sobs.
“It’s all right child. Let me hold you.”
You would run to Him if you could, but the light is still to bright, so you hold out your arms and wait. It doesn’t take very long.
“There there, it’s nothing I can’t fix child. Come on, let’s go down to the river.”
“Is the river cold?” you ask,
“Very, but when you get there, you will be ready for it.”
“Can’t we just stay here?”
”We could, but I have a surprise for you on the other side. It will take care of all of this that you’ve done and then some. Will you come with me?”
You smile as he picks you up and caries you down the corridor, avoiding every obstacle that would have tripped you up so badly in the dark.
After a minute, He sets you down and explains that He will have to treat the wounds, or you won’t make it. First, He looks at your head. There’s a cut that doesn’t look too bad. He gets out a few strips of linen and some medicated oil and rubs the oil into the cut. The rubbing hurts pretty badly, but then when it’s over, you can’t feel the cut so you stop crying. Next, he applies the bandage.
He picks you up and then sets you right down again. “Before we go anywhere, I want to take care of that knee.”
“It’s Ok, I can’t even feel it. Can’t you just keep carrying me?”
”Yes, but you need to be able to use your legs.”
“But the pain keeps me awake. You don’t want me to fall asleep before we get to the river do you?”
”Son, I’m worried about more important things than that. Just take your hand away and I’ll fix the cut.”
“No, I’m good.”
With that, you stubbornly limp off, half of the time holding the cut on your knee in an effort to stop the bleeding and half of the time holding your back from bending over that much and trying to walk.
He stands up and shakes his head slightly as he waits there.
“Ok, fix it!” you shout back behind you, and then when you turn around, you see Him there in front of you.
“Ok, but this is going to hurt. I’m going to have to use a deep cleaner on it.”
He pulled out a strange little bottle of something red and poured it into the scrape on your knee. Nothing He had done before hurt anywhere near how this one did. You jump around in circles and eventually calm down.
”Now I need to wrap it.”
He wraps it in a strange paper that sticks like a Band-Aid, and then picks you up and caries you a ways before setting you down and seeing if you can walk now.
After a few steps to see if you really could or not, He asks you a question. “Do you trust me?”
You roll your eyes and say, “Of course. How could I not trust you after all you’ve done for me?”
“This is going to hurt, but I have to fix that gash on your shoulder. You will loose too much blood if it keeps going like that.”
“Hurt? How much? Is there another way?”
”No, I’m afraid there isn’t.”
He gives you a reassuring look, and then doesn’t wait for you to shy away. He pulls a burning coal from His mouth and places it on your shoulder over the now profusely bleeding gash. It melts like a molten ice cube into the wound and seals it much like a cauterization.
The whole time you whine between gasps, “What did I do to make you mad? Am I a bad person? Why are you hurting me? I hate you, I hate you! Why?” He just holds you closer and you struggle a little, but he is stronger and he doesn’t mind what you are saying because He knows the pain you are in. He’s been in it to.
After you’ve both had a minute to cry, you both get back on the way to the river. He checks the bandage on your head, but it has become infected. He rubs away the oil and pours some of the red stuff on it. This time it hurts more than ever because it is on sensitive skin. After he cleans it, He rubs some of the oil back in and the hurting calms down. When you are ready, he takes your hand and you walk on. Before long, you and He have reached the river.
“Son, I need you to trust me. I can’t explain what all is going to happen but this river is too fast for a child to cross. You are going to have to trust me no matter what. Ok?”
“Isn’t this the river that children can’t cross no matter what?”
”Yes, but I have a way. On the other side of the river I have a new body for you. It doesn’t have the scratches and scars you’ve picked up and it doesn’t ever get tired. Doesn’t that sound like fun! You can play with me forever and never get tired!”
“Yeah, but what if I drown in the river?”
”I’ve got you. You won’t drown.”
”Ok, but will it hurt?”
You look into His eyes and evaluate the risk.
“Ok, but hold me close.”
”You bet I will. Nothing can get you out of my hands.”
With that, He lunges into the river. Whatever this water touches dies, but this water could only kill once and the man had already died once. He holds you close, and the water takes your old body away, down stream and over a waterfall, never to be seen again. Your spirit is still clutched to his chest and when He gets to the other side, he immediately places it in the new body he promised.
He proudly proclaims in the voice of a parent, “I told you this would be better.” A grin sitting proudly on his beaming face.
”You were right!” you whisper as you hug Him and get all the air temporarily squeezed out of your new lungs.