They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19:17 NASB
Where has all the courage gone? For long days I have waited. For many days I have searched. Where has the life gone? For many long years I have been dead, trapped within my pain.
Where have my feet taken me? Why do I continue to tread the desert places, walking to high mountains and again finding only desert on the other side for all my pain of gaining the heights?
How is it that high mountains and deserts lead me to little hills? What is this place? I ask. It smells of death.
The path is clear to some, a granite wall to others. Understanding pulls me up the path. The suffering here is more than I can grasp.
This place is full of dead men’s bones. The Angel of Death has used his scythe here many times. Fear. There is a man here. I come to him as the wind blows coldly in my ears. “What place is this?” I ask him.
“It was a battle ground once,” he muses. “Yes, I can see that,” I say. “Your hands are wounded.” As I gaze at those hands I ask “Was the battle terrible?”
“Oh, yes. It was the most horrible battle in history and it all took place right here on this little hill. Do you believe me?”
“Of course I do, sir. You carry the wounds of the fight.” I look around with discomfort and fear. “You seem a wonderful man but I must go.” I do not let him touch me. He smiles and nods, saying not a word but seeming to know what choice I would make.
I again find vast wastes of sand and heat. The desert is all I have again. Is this all of this world? No, there is a hill I once saw with a man. No man has had the courage this man has. No man has the life returned from the heat of the fight like this man. No man carries scars like this man.
Scars? They are living badges of honor. Medals? He is the bravest man I have ever met. This wasteland is lonely and cold now. I’m ready to return to the little hill.
Days and days I travel. Can I find it again? Will I ever arrive? My journey goes on. I am so tired. I finally stumble and fall, giving up. I look up and there is the hill not now far away.
I smile and push myself up, running forward, hoping the Caretaker has not gone away. He is still there. “It is you!” I cry. “Do you remember me?”
“Yes,” he says with a smile. “I have never forgotten you.”
“This place,” I ask. “How many died in the battle that wounded you?”
“Only one,” he says with satisfaction. “Only One had to die.”
Wounded hands. Strong hands. Eternal hands. He touches me.
November 15, 1989