Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strength to Conquer

"There are dragons in the land. There always have been. And there has always been a holy call for defenders to challenge dragons. This is a central message of history, and it points to the defining conflict of the ages." Doug Phillips, president and founder of The Vision Forum, inc.

Vision Forum recently held a writing contest to see who could draft the most compelling story that artfully tells the "true" tale of the individuals, events, and the monstrous beastie depicted on the following picture.

I decided to accept the challenge and write up my own version of the "true" story. After two false starts, I was finally able to write a story that I thought fit quite nicely with the above picture. After many requests from readers for me to share it with them, I decided to post it for everyone to enjoy. May you each be inspired to follow God's holy calling in your own life - even if it means fighting dragons!

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Fendrel slung the saddle blanket over his shoulder and began climbing the hill to the castle. As he trudged along, his thoughts whirled. “Why am I so fearful? Sir Leofrick seems so bold and courageous, and I seem so weak and helpless. I do have my doubts as to whether the life of a knight is for me.” He walked silently along, letting his thoughts travel where they would.

“Thank you for the extra lift you gave me with the horses yesterday, Fendrel.” Leofrick sat down on a rough-hewn bench as Fendrel entered the castle’s gate. “You’ll make a good knight one of these days, I just know it! You are always level-headed and sincere, and your helpful spirit is very commendable.”

“I thank you for your confidence in me sire,” Fendrel said, “But I’m afraid it would be slightly less if you only knew the real state of my heart.”

“Oh?” Leofrick leaned slightly forward as Fendrel seated himself across the table from him. “And why would that be?”

“Well, I have to admit I’m not built of the bravest stock you could say.” He paused for a second before going on. “It seems that all the training I’ve had does me no good. Every time I see the enemy sallying for battle, it seems like they have already stabbed me in the back and I lose all heart to fight.”

“Sounds familiar!”

“Really? You mean you know what I’m talking about?”

“Aye, very well. I was the same way when I was your age. Just a young squire at the age of twenty, and frightened of every enemy I fought. But they weren’t all external ones.”

“Yes, that’s exactly it,” Fendrel said with a sigh as he slumped his head into his hands.

“You focus on being afraid of being afraid, and you miss the importance of trusting in God to protect you. Fendrel, I know you all too well; you’ve trained with me ever since your aunt brought you here after your parents’ tragic death 13 years ago. I’ve seen you climb from being a page to what you are today. You are not afraid of anything but what you allow your fears to dwell upon. Maybe you should stop viewing the enemy as invincible, and start trusting God to be your stalwart bodyguard, always ready to defend you! Fendrel, let me tell you a story my father used to tell.” Fendrel leaned forward expectantly as the gallant knight across from him began his tale of long ago.

Once there was a castle where lived a young man who feared nothing more than to be a failure.

“Wait, this is sounding all to familiar,” thought Fendrel excitedly.

As Diffident became more and more fearful of failing in life, he noticed that he began to fear other things as well. All of a sudden the forces of the enemy almost became too much for him. When things were almost to the point of failure for this promising young man, the King came up with a daring yet brilliant plan.

King Eonion gave this young squire orders to kill the outrageous dragon that continually ravaged the remote villages of His kingdom. The beast? Its name was Fear, and to conquer it would bring relief to many suffering peasants in that part of the land, including Diffident himself. The reward for victory? Being knighted as one of the King’s most trusted and faithful servants.

Although somewhat reluctant at first, Diffident set out on his journey, taking with him only his armour and enough money to pay his way. As he trudged along, he wondered why the King would send him on such a dangerous and important mission. On and on he walked until he had reached the place where the dragon was last seen. After making a few inquiries as to the whereabouts of the dreaded beastie, he decided to rest the night and resume his search in the morning.

After securing his supper on a little table at the side of the inn, he gave thanks and began to partake of the victuals. Suddenly a middle aged man rushed in and hobbled quickly up to the counter where the inn keeper stood tallying his accounts. Diffident listened intently as the man told of how the dragon had captured his only daughter and that he urgently needed help since he was unable to fight the monster himself. “This message is for me!” thought Diffident in a panic. “King Eonion, why did you give me such a difficult task? I don’t think I will be able to face this.”

“Fear not!” A kind hand was laid on Diffident’s shoulder. “Remember that whatever the king commands you to do, he gives you the strength to see it through. Diffident, He will provide.” Diffident turned around to see Angelo, one of the royal couriers, standing beside him. “Eonian will never let one of His subjects down!”

“Thank you, sir!” Diffident said with sincere gratitude. “You don’t know how encouraging it is to be reminded of the King’s protection. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.”

“Very well. Go in peace, and may God be with you!”

In the cool night air and pale moonlight, Diffident had no trouble in finding the whereabouts of the dragon. Steam rose from its venomous nostrils, and the ground shook with the roar of its mighty outcries. Diffident stopped as the monstrous creature came into view. “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness…my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust,” he quoted to help regain his courage. Looking over towards his right, he saw Talitha, the villager’s daughter, completely bound and helpless to escape. Diffident knew it was now or never.

Suddenly, the dragon spied Diffident sallying over the knoll. With a roar of rage the beast flung himself towards the young man, but was caught off guard by a swift and well-calculated blow of the squire’s sword. He spun around, slashing Diffident with his spiked tail, only to be flung backwards again by Diffident’s relentless sword. They fought for nearly two hours, but when the battle was over, the dragon lay dead. It was Diffident that stood victoriously over the fallen foe, saving the young maiden’s life and conquering the fears that had so long entangled the local villagers.

And that is how it came about that he was thenceforth knighted as Sir Baldric of Kemen, one of the King’s most trusted knights.

“That is an inspiring story, Sir Leofrick!” As Fendrel took a long delayed breath, he leaned back and thought for a moment. “I see what you’re trying to tell me.”

“Do you?” Leofrick searched the younger man’s face intently.

“Yes. I understand now that I need to conquer the dragon of fear in my own life!”

“And once you do that and place your entire trust in the Lord God Almighty, you will be able to conquer all the other dragons the devil sends into your life. Remember Fendrel, whatever the Lord commands you to do, He gives you the strength to see it through!”

1 comment:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about this blog post! I enjoy hearing feedback from readers. God bless!

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