Once upon a time, in the misty past of yesteryear but still true today, there was a young man walking down an Interstate Highway 666. A man appeared before him and pointed to a sign that had just been passed by.
“And who are you?” asked the old stranger. He had a long white beard. He was slim and tall. He had bright but piercing eyes, which searched the young man’s face. “I perceive you are truly looking for something from your heart. Am I right?”
“My name is Anyone, I am looking for the highway of truth, I cannot seem to find it, for there is so much clutter and confusion, and so many voices, all saying they have the truth, but I know somehow they are all lying to me and to themselves.” He paused. “But I have this book, called the Bible, and it says that if I would search for this truth, I would find it, but I know not where to turn…”
“Well”, the old man said, “you will never find it here, along this Interstate, did you not notice how flat, broad and easy your walking has been? Did you not see the multitudes, the millions, nay, billions that travel upon it? Does that Good Book you have in your hands, which you have marked and underlined, and all but worn out, not say something about only a FEW find it? Hence then, my son, why are you still on this broad way?”
“Who are you?” The young man asked.
“I am evangelist, and I have been sent to tell you to go back, find the small strait gate, and enter in thereat and you will find a narrow way after it that you must travel. It is not a way easy, it is a way very hard, very difficult…”
“Yes, but I thought somewhere along here there might be a sign for me, pointing to the pathway, did I miss it somehow? Are you the sign?”
“My son, if you search with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength for the real truth, and leave this land of the lie behind, you will discover something only a few ever find, but it is worth every pain, every anguish, every tear that you will shed if you enter in”. The Old man paused. “There is nothing here except deceptions, delusions and lies. You must go back there” The old man pointed, “You will find a sign, pointing you off this broad flat easy way. It will lead you to a narrow trail and up the mountains into the mist. You might find it very interesting as you travel along…”
Well, the young man thanked the old man, and retraced his steps and found the trail sign. It was simply marked “TRUTH THIS WAY”. Just beyond the sign was a gate. It was marked “STRAIT”. It was extremely difficult to enter, it was very hard, but he managed to just squeeze through. When he got to the other side, he could no longer hear or see the thruway traffic, it has vanished in the mist. However, the trail in front of him he could make out and so he began his journey. He came upon another sign marked “NARROW”. He was happy inside, for he had discovered a way that appeared not to be traveled very much. He could see no one else along it. He began to realize that he had known about this for a long time, but never actually decided with all of his heart, mind and soul to enter in. The Old man had been right.
Well, the young man hiked up this very narrow trail that was very difficult even for him, and he was very athletic and agile young man. But he was determined to find out what the truth really was, so he continued despite all of the hard ships that he had to encounter along the way up the steep mountains. He began to realize that although it was difficult, if he kept the course, if he kept his determination, he could see progress, going up one mountain, then down deep into a dark, dark valley, and then up another mountain.
Eventually he came to a resting stop and a pathway off the trail. He thought he could hear some singing and laughter, but could not tell exactly where it was coming from. It sounded so joyous that he could not resist walking down this pathway that was simply marked “APPEARS RIGHT”. As he came down the pathway the mist lifted, and down below him was a vast and beautiful valley. There was a railroad track that wound its way through the valley and a great railroad station not far from him, which had a very long train that he could see very plainly. It was parked by the station, and he could hear the joyous laughter and talk coming from the train itself.
There was what appeared to be part of the Interstate that he had left behind some time ago. He could see multitudes of people getting on the very large cars that made up the train. He could hear those inside the cars welcome the others as they arrived. It was so joyful and so filled with laughter. He could not resist going down for a look.
The young man hurried down the trail and came upon a line of cars, all filled with people who were very excited and speaking about the Holy Spirit, God, and Christ. He was very excited as he walked by the many cars that made up the train. As he went by them, he noticed that they were all marked. One said “Baptist”, and another said “Methodist” and yet another “Catholic” and then another marked “Lutheran”, and more and more cars. He remembered back to his days in the world and thought to himself “I have heard of all of these denominations, there were so many of them, and here they are!”
He was beginning to doubt what the evangelist had told him, for here were all those people traveling on this broad, flat and easy to travel upon, highway. And here they were, all full of love and joy, and helping multitudes enter each car, depending upon their denomination and religious beliefs. Somehow he knew the train was soon going to be pulling out of the station, and almost everyone was now on board.
He continued up past the train, and even noticed cars marked with other beliefs as well. Finally the young man came up alongside to where the engine that was going to pull the train. It was a really beautiful locomotive, and he peered into it to see if he could see the engineer. He called out to the engineer several times and got no response.
The locomotive was really big, and he supposed it had to be to pull the hundreds of cars there were attached to it. As he turned to leave and walk back down the line of cars, he heard a noise inside the cab and looked up – he jumped back, full of terror, for he saw a skeleton with a skull and red glowing eyes looking and laughing at him. It was the most evil looking skull he had ever seen, with horns protruding from the top. The eyes were the most evil things he had ever seen, red and glowing, staring at him. He was so terrified he ran back along the train cars. As he went by he began to shout at the occupants:
“Get off the train! Get off the train, get off the train!! He was getting beside himself and began screaming at them – but no one would listen.
“What’s your problem, this train is about to leave and go to heaven, our eternal abode!” Hop on board, it has not left yet, you can still get on! Anyone can get on, just believe and have faith!! ANYONE AND EVERYONE IS WELCOME. Please come on board, do not be afraid…”
“But you don’t understand!!,” the young man shouted to them. “You do not understand who the engineer is. You do not understand who is driving this train…PLEASE GET OFF, I BEG YOU, PLEASE GET OFF, AND OFF NOW!!!”
The occupants of all the cars refused to listen and began to get angry at him. “You are not one of us, we are Holy, and do not come near to us…” they began to mock him. “You are from Satan, who does not want any of us to go to heaven! Get away from us!!”
Well, even so, he went back to every car on the train and warned them all, but none of them would listen.
It was then that he heard the whistle of the locomotive, and the train began to pull out of the station. The young man ran up the trail so he could see where it was going. He ran higher and higher and watched the train from a cliff ledge. Ahead of the train was a long straight track. The train was slowly moving at first, and he heard a thunderous amount of joyous laughter coming from the cars. “HEAVEN BOUND, HEAVEN BOUND!!” WE ARE OFF TO HEAVEN, PRAISE THE LORD, PRAISE THE LORD, AND PRAISE THE LORD!!.” Their voices hit and rebounded as an echo off the mountain cliffs and walls.
Suddenly, up ahead of the engine as it was gaining more and more speed, a huge rift opened up with fire and flames and thunderous noise. He watched sadly as the train and all of the cars were swallowed up by the magma and fire from below. He heard horrible screams of torment.
Suddenly, in the smoke, he saw the huge skull with the red eyes appear. It was laughing. “Fools” it said, they are all FOOLS.” And then it vanished.
The young man was very sad, and turned to continue his journey to find the truth. A voice came to him, and said, “Do not grieve, my son. They all had the same Good Book you do, they all could read, but they chose not to do as they were instructed. They refused Him that speaks from the heavens. They got only what they chose to get. It was their choice, not mine, for it is not my will that any perish, and that all come to true repentance. You, on the other hand, have read what it said, and have obeyed its commands. Continue on, and you shall find the real truth behind everything there is…”
Well, the young man’s sorrow soon turned to joy as he came to the top of the highest of mountains. He stood before the Great Light, and was judged by that light of Divine Love, and he repented and embraced that light and knew he had found and experienced the truth behind all that there was, is and ever will be.
I suppose, somewhere in this parable, is a truth that needs to be found. Will you find it?