I recently read of the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage. An interesting rite where at a particular age, the boy’s father takes him deep into the forest blindfolded. At a certain point he sits his son down on a stump and leaves him. He is required to sit on that stump the entire night and not remove the blindfold for any reason. Only until the rays of the sun shines through the blindfold can he take it off. He is told to sit still and not cry out for help. Once he survives the night, he is welcomed into the tribe as a man and is bound not to tell the other boys of his experience. Each lad must face the ordeal before he can enter into his own manhood.
As you can imagine, any young boy deep in the forest would be terrified. He would hear all kinds of noises – both real and imagined. He would no doubt fear a wild animal might attack or someone from another tribe pass by and hurt him. As the night wears on, the noises continue, but the young lad must sit stoically, never removing the blindfold or making a noise. It was the only way he could become a man.
After what seemingly feels like an eternity, the sound of the night begins to dissipate. Eventually, the young initiate can feel the warmth of the sun on his face and see the light coming through the blindfold. As he slowly removes his blindfold, only then will he see his father – sitting on a stump next to him – on watch the entire night.
That rite of passage has a wonderful implication for Christians – we are never alone. Even when we are in a dark place and feel as though we are all alone; even when we don’t know it, He is right there beside us, watching out for us and protecting us. The Psalmist declared, “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber…the Lord watches over you.” It was King David who saw God as his shepherd, watching over him and taking care of him. Even in the valley of the shadow of death he had no fear because he knew his Shepherd was there with him. The writer of Hebrews reinforced that truth by taking a passage from Deuteronomy where Moses instructed the Israelites about taking possession of the Promised Land and giving responsibility of leadership to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (the opposing forces in Canaan), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deut.31:6; Heb. 13:5)
The next time you face a trying circumstance and feel as though you are in the dark and all alone; when fear begins creeping in and you’re not sure you will make it, take off your spiritual blindfold and see who is beside you – it will make a world of difference!
To His Glory,