The Warrior Princess lie in mud in a cloudy darkness and had been there for about a week, although she couldn’t really remember how long. She groaned as pain pulsed through her bruised body. Weak and head throbbing, she slowly pulled herself up from the ground to a sitting position. She was covered in dry blood and mud. Running her fingers through her mud-caked hair she tried to recall what had happened.
“Where’s my armor?” Horror filled her heart as she realized she didn’t know where it was. Squinting her eyes she could make out the outline of her armor strewn in the darkness around her. It all came back now.
It started when she took her eyes off the cross. She hadn’t meant to, she just became unintentional about her focus. After she had traveled on for awhile she put her sword in her sheath thinking that it was getting rather wearisome to hold out all the time. Plus, she saw no signs of the enemy, surely they wouldn’t attack. On she walked oblivious to the fact that her enemies’ greatest desire was for her to put her sword in her sheath.
She continued her way unaware that it slowly grew darker. Soon, she was lost in a thick dark cloud and instead of crying out for help she stumbled on. Her shield of faith slipped out of her hand and dropped with a slow, dramatic thud to the ground.
All of a sudden, she found herself surrounded by the enemy. Frantically, she looked for her shield, but it was too dark. In her nervousness she couldn’t manage to pull her sword out of her sheath. There she was, trapped and defenseless. Her enemies mocked and laughed at her as they danced around in glee. They were all there–Flesh, Pride, Emptiness, Failure, Depression, Loneliness and others.
In the darkness they spoke lies to her and tormented her. Fear filled her soul and she felt as if she’d never experience joy again. For as they danced round her, one would knock her down, another would throw a rock at her, another would slap her cheek, and so on. It was utter distress and agony for she could not see her attackers, nor what they would do next.
She felt so ashamed. “How could this happen?” “Will I ever live in victory?!” She wept, and groaned, and pleaded with them to stop. But it was of no avail, the enemies’ attacks didn’t let up—if anything, they increased.
“Look what you did! You failed again!” “You’ll never be like your precious Shepherd King—never!” “Just give up!” They called out in torment.
My Shepherd! Oh how I long to walk in fellowship with Him again! She lifted up her eyes and screamed out with all the strength she had. “Shepherd! Shepherd! My precious Yeshua! Come seek me out and deliver me from this miserable dark and cloudy day! Come quick–” Her request was cut short from a well aimed rock to the head. Everything went black and she sunk limp to the ground.
As she sat there remembering these things tears sprang to her eyes. Her tormenters appeared to be gone—at least for the moment. And it seemed to be a little brighter—maybe? But where, oh where was her Shepherd?!
She wiped her tearful eyes on her sleeve. Just then she saw with dismay the state of her garment, and it made her all the more sorrowful. Her beautiful white dress with the pale blue trim was torn and caked in mud—it was a very sorry sight. Had it been one of her other garments she wouldn’t have minded so much; but this is the one that He had given her. She thought back to the time when Yeshua had given it to her…
He was beaming with delight that morning when He surprised her with it. It was so funny to watch Him try to suppress His joy as He held a parcel behind His back, trying not to look suspicious. It ended in one big goofy grin and lots of laughter. When she opened it she gasped at the beauty of the garment. The Shepherd smiled with pleasure at her reaction. He said, “It is called the Garment of Praise, dear one. It is a gift for you.” “Oh thank you!” she stuttered to find words to thank Him, never quite finishing a sentence when He snatched her up in His arms and they embraced.
She smiled as remembered; “Thank You, Yeshua.” She whispered. With that the cloud lifted a bit. Is there a connection? She thought. But I don’t feel like praising…Guess it couldn’t hurt to try though.
“My Shepherd, You are good. You have done so much for me; I praise Your name.” The cloud started rising and her heart started pounding with excitement. “You made the heavens, and they declare Your glory!” She stood up on her shaky legs and continued, growing louder, “Your love is so great, so wonderful, more than I can comprehend!” Growing even louder and stretching forth a hand she said, “Your merices are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!” With the cloud almost lifted she stretched both arms as high as she could reach and looking into heaven praised Him at the top of her lungs. “You have conquered death and the grave! O death, where is the victory? O grave, where is thy sting?! You are the Victor! I praise You, oh I praise You!”
She pulled her gaze down from heaven, and there was her Shepherd in front of her. She fell down at His feet worshiping and asking for forgiveness. He reached down with His nail pierced hand and pulled her up saying, “I have already forgiven you, precious.” Then He scooped her up in His arms and took her to the still waters.
There He washed her, fed her, and bound up her wounds. There, beside the still waters, He restored her soul. He taught her once again to abide and rest in Him, and how to let Him reign in her life. And He restored to her the garment of praise.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:11, 12
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3