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I Hear Voices (Jesus' temptation reimagined)


As I emerge from the cool river, I perceive what sounds like thunder.


But as I listen more closely, I hear it.


A Voice. A Voice I've known all my life.


"I love you. You fill me with pleasure."


I soak in the joy I feel, resting in that I am known and loved. Fully and deeply.


I want to stay here forever.


But I can't. As much as I would like to, I feel compelled in my Spirit to go.


To go where, I'm not completely sure.

But I must go.


Away from all that's familiar.

Away from all that's comforting.


And I must go alone, my only companions being the sacred words of my ancestors and the consistent reminder of the truth that I am loved.


Fully and deeply.


I wander the dry and the dreary by day and rest in the cool and craggy by night, surviving on a small stream in a hidden cave I venture precariously into.


I settle down to rest my weary and aching body.


I hear something other than the sound of the water trickling. I hear voices.


Unkind ones. Accusing ones. Threatening ones.


I am unsure if I am having a nightmare brought on by my lack of sustenance or if the voices are as real as the rock underneath my head.


But this I know for sure.


I am afraid.


Repeating the words of the Voice from the river to myself, I quiet the terrifying voices briefly, but find myself completely exhausted, yet unable to sleep.


I hunger for that not-long-ago day.


As daylight comes, I feel a twinge of relief, but as the dark of night descends, the voices return.


This time, they are louder.


Meaner. Angrier. Scarier.


As I succumb to discouragement and fear, the reassuring whisper of the Voice I have known all my life finds its way to me.


"I will hold you. I will protect you."


I speak these words, this time out loud, again and again, until I finally drift back into a fitful sleep.


I awake in the morning, somewhat refreshed, convinced that I have silenced the voices.


And as the day wears on, I trust that it is true.


As the moon rises and my fatigued body and Spirit seek respite, sleep comes quickly, but not for long.


I am startled awake, heart racing and palms sweating.


The voices are back. Deafening. Menacing.


I scream, trying in desperation to silence them.


"Stop! Stop! Please stop!"


I can't stay here anymore.


As I rush from the cave, I perceive what sounds like thunder.


But as I listen more closely, I hear it.


A Voice. A Voice I've known all my life.


"I hear you.

I see you.

I am with you.

I am for you.

And never forget that I love you."


I head back into the blackness, lie down in the stillness and fall into the deepest of sleep.


All is quiet.


The voices are gone.


I soak in the joy I feel, able to rest.


I am known and loved.

Fully and deeply.


I want to stay here forever.

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