I’ve always known that the tower existed, in the dark recesses of my mind. I knew nothing about it, but it seemed to be important, in a vague sort of way. I was walking in the hills, a favourite pastime of mine, nothing too strenuous or too far, just around my local area. The landscape was familiar and I knew where I was, most of the time. It was Sunday afternoon. The weather was fine, with a light breeze, and a brisk walk was just what I needed to clear my head from all the stresses of the previous week. I set off.
Very quickly the sky changed. Grey clouds were forming above the horizon and the breeze became fresher. I had packed a light waterproof in my rucksack, and was wearing strong boots so I didn’t think too much about it. I continued on my way, confident of my route as I picked my way through the tufts and heather. The wind suddenly became chilly and the sky darkened. My route was a circular track that would take me back home again. I plodded on.
The rain started. The wind became stronger. I was surprised at the speed the weather was changing. Before long rain was battering my face, backed by the strong wind. I pulled my hood down over my head and quickened my stride. I knew the route well and would soon be home again, I thought. Then I realised the terrain was no longer familiar.
There was a rumble of thunder in the distance. I pushed on, searching for a recognisable landmark. There was none. I had to admit to myself I was lost. I must have taken a wrong turning in the rapidly changing weather. There was a flash of lightning, followed by a deafening clap of thunder. Where was I?
A confused fear gripped my mind as I scanned the area around me, looking for some recognisable landmark. A dark shape loomed ahead. Blindly I stumbled towards it, hoping It might offer some shelter. Then another blinding flash of lightening pierced the storm. It was a building of some kind. I fortunately found a door and desperately turned the handle, and staggered inside. Slamming the door shut I slid to the floor with a feeling of relief and gratitude.
The place was well lit, yet there were no lights that I could see. A high arched ceiling was supported by sturdy pillars. I felt a deep sense of peace - and something else I couldn’t name - glowing inside me. The tower. I had avoided it for years; afraid of it in a strange way. Yet something had drawn me towards it. I felt I had come home. I was safe, and welcome, and loved.
My Sunday school days came flooding back to me. The God I barely knew. The love I had never known. ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.’ The storm died away as quickly as it had come. It had served its purpose.
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