On the Narrow Path, Karen read the verses that the dark fiend had used to discourage her from her Lantern. Her heart began to heal when she saw the full meaning of those verses, for they made her see that she didn’t commit the unpardonable sin at all. The Light of Truth so relieved her that she thanked the Good King:
“I thank You that You haven’t left me. Thank you that I am still Yours in spite of myself.”
Though she had joy in her heart the burden on her back was still there, but it no longer felt heavy to her soul. Once she reached the cross on the hill she would be free of this burden.
She opened up the scroll to see where she was supposed to go next. Before she could read it she heard a cry for help.
“Help! Please help me! I’m sinking!”
Karen rushed to help whoever was in danger. She came across a bog and beheld a young girl stuck in the middle of the mire. She looked like Kelly, another friend of hers from Carnal City.
“Hold on!” Karen called as she desperately looked for something she could use to pull her out of the mire. Her eyes spotted a long branch on one of the trees around the bog. Using all of her strength she tore the branch off and brought it down toward the young girl.
“Grab onto this!” she called out to her. The young girl grabbed the branch and Karen pulled with all of her might. The mire was very sticky but Karen was not going to give up until her friend was safe.
“The branch is breaking!” the young girl cried out terrified. “Help me!”Karen saw that the branch was getting weak. If it broke the poor soul would surely die. But she had to keep holding on. This was her only way out. “Don’t let go! You’ll be out of this!” Karen urged her. She then prayed, Please Your Majesty, help us!
Tears filled the young girl’s eyes. “You can’t help me! No one can! I’m going to die here!”
“Don’t say that!” Karen pleaded, feeling tears welling up in her eyes. “You will be saved! I believe you will be!”
After Karen said those words she felt someone from behind tug the branch she was holding. She looked back and saw a tall rotund man smiling at her.
“Here let me help you out,” he said gently.
Karen thanked him and together they successfully pulled the young girl out of the mire. She collapsed on the ground and breathed heavily. “T-Thank you! You two have saved my life!” she gasped.
“Thank Prince Emmanuel and this gentleman,” said Karen as she turned to shake the hand of her helper. “Thanks again, sir, without you this wouldn’t have turned out well.” Then she looked him over. “Sloppy Joe, is that you?” she asked.
The gentleman gave her a quizzical look. “Sloppy Who?” he inquired confused.
The young girl giggled on the ground.
“Never mind,” said Karen, feeling her face turn a little red with embarrassment. “Who are you, good sir?”
“My name is Help, dear miss,” he said as he bowed respectfully and tipped his buckled capotain hat. “Prince Emmanuel sends me to aid those who are victims of the Slough of Despond. And it looks like He has sent you too. Can you please tell me your name, miss?”
“Karen, I’m a Lightbearer of Prince Emmanuel,” she answered. “Can you please explain what you just said about this ‘Slough Of Despond?'”
“I would like an explanation too,” said the young girl as she slowly rose to her feet. “Someone named Evangelist told me to follow the Narrow Path, and when I did, I end up nearly drowning myself. What is the meaning of this?”
Though her tone was angry, Help answered her question with great patience and understanding. “Did you by chance feel afraid on your way, dear?”
“Yes, I felt that I should hurry toward the Celestial City lest some great evil overtook me. What does ‘fear’ have to do with it?” she asked, wondering how a mere emotion could bring a person close to a devastating end.
“The Slough Of Despond is where the many fears of man settle. Discouragement and deep sadness are in this mire. Those who have fear in their hearts can easily fall into it and sink. Fear gives way to feelings of unworthiness, which can cause someone to doubt Prince Emmanuel’s love. But no one need fall into this pit because His love remains, even when we are afraid.”
“Sir, isn’t there something that can keep someone from falling into the Slough Of Despond? We humans are so natural to our fears that everyone could fall into it without a warning.” Karen inquired of him.
“Yes, Karen, there is something that can keep them from this depressing grave,” said Help as he pointed, “Look on top of the mire.”
Karen looked and shouted in cheer. “Why, there are steps!”
The young girl also looked. “Humph! I don’t see them!” she grumped.
“Look with the eyes of faith. Believe!” Karen encouraged her.
She gazed again, this time believing, and saw the steps. “How could I have missed them!” she exclaimed in surprise.
“Doubt kept you from seeing them. When people become fearful doubt blinds their eyes so that they can’t see the providence of Prince Emmanuel.” Help explained.
The young girl then fully understood why she was in such a sticky situation. “Oh, dear. If I had not concentrated on myself I wouldn’t have fallen into the Slough Of Despond. I’m truly sorry for not trusting in His Majesty.”
“We all slip and fall, dear. Don’t let shame dwell in your mind or you will have a Slough Of Despond internally.” Help advised her.
The young girl nodded. She was not going to give into her negative emotions again. She then introduced herself to him and Karen.
“My name is Pride. I came out of the City of Destruction in hopes of finding eternal life. I don’t care for my name now and I pray that Prince Emmanuel will give me a new one during my journey. I have so much to learn on this adventure.”
“Would you like to have a Traveling Companion?” Help asked her.
“I would like that very much. But who will go with me?”
Karen volunteered. “I’ll go with you, Pride. We are both directed to go on the Narrow Path and I can show you some things from Prince Emmanuel in my Lantern.”
“Thank you, Karen,” said Pride. “It will be a blessing to have a Lightbearer by my side.”
Help was pleased at the Lightbearer’s kindness. “You have the character of a helpful person, Karen. Keep shining for Prince Emmanuel.”
Karen blushed at the complement. “Thanks, and I will,” she said.
To Be Continued