Flashback: The Woman In The Forest

I’m going to use posts with Flashback in  the title to share things from the last couple of years which are relevant to our story and what God is doing with us. Every now and then God gives me things in the form of a story. This is something from 6 September 2013.

A woman is lying on the ground in a grassy clearing in the woods. The ground is white with frost. The woman is pale, very thin, gaunt even. She is shivering with cold and moaning quietly, moaning from hunger and pain.

The woman is a Church.

After a while a man comes along and sees the woman, lying on the ground, shivering. “Hello,” he says, “I see that we are family.”

The man is a Christian.

“I’m sorry you are cold,” the man says, and sits down on the ground next to the woman. After a while he picks up one of her hands and holds it. The woman smiles, weakly. The warmth from his hand stops her fingers from feeling quite so numb.

“Well, then,” the man says after a short while, “I need to get going. I hope it works out for you.” He gets up and walks away into the woods.

The woman starts shivering more dramatically and tries to call out. “Help. Please, someone help me.” Her voice is quiet because she is so cold and weak.

A teenage girl comes by. When she sees the woman she begins to cry. The girl gets down onto the ground next to the woman, takes off her coat, hugs the woman close to her and puts her coat over both of them.

The girl’s own body warmth begins to warm up the woman, who gradually stops shivering. The woman smiles. “Thank you so much” she says, “I was getting very, very cold.”

“Can you stand up?” the girl asks. The woman tries to get up, but her legs give way and she falls back down onto the cold hard ground. “I’m sorry” she says, “I’m just too weak and hungry. Do you have any food at all?” “No, nothing I’m afraid” replies the girl. “Wait, I’ll ask my friend to come.”

The girl pulls out her phone. “Oh no, there’s no signal!” The woman’s face drops. “No, don’t worry, I’ll go and bring help, I’ll find my friend” the girl responds. She leaves her coat with the woman and runs off into the forest.

It’s late afternoon, the light is beginning to fade. Snow begins to fall gently. Despite the girl’s coat, the woman begins to shiver again. After an hour or so, she stops shivering. Hypothermia is beginning to take hold. All she wants to do is sleep, but she knows that if she sleeps she will die. Desperately she tries to keep awake.

Dusk is beginning to merge into night. The woman is close to death now; her vital organs are gradually becoming colder and colder, she is almost unconscious. The snow lies without melting on her face, so very pale.

Suddenly, there is light in the forest. Sound. The brightness of voices and the crunching of dead twigs underfoot. A group of people emerge from the forest, carrying torches, led by the teenage girl. Five, no, ten of them. Several have rucksacks, which they quickly drop onto the ground.

As one, they gently pick up the woman and hold her, softly but firmly, in a group hug. Warmth, life and hope flow from the group into the almost-lifeless woman.

Rucksacks are opened, a tent is put up in an instant, out comes a warm sleeping bag, a huge Thermos flask of hot cocoa and a bar of chocolate. Several of the group crowd into the tent to add their heat. The cocoa helps to warm the woman up, the chocolate sends energy through her body.

The moment of desperation is past. She will live.

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