There was an individual named Peter, who, every night, upon drifting to sleep, was greeted by the devil and tormented by him for hours. Throughout their conversation, images ran through Peter’s head of bad memories and previous ridicule, for his persistence in seeking to do good. Peter tossed and turned in the bed, for hours, squirming as he held himself tight and felt close to death in waiting for the devil to leave.
One night in particular, the devil entered, late in the moon’s wane, creeping in as a dark shadow, with his long cloak behind him. He stopped at the bedside, grinning wryly, and addressed the young man named Peter.
“Hello my boy, I feel your fear, I see you know that I’ve come here!”
Peter opened one eye, then turned, to face the opposite direction. “I know, I know, I know it’s true, I know the cold that comes with you. I hear your voice when you speak, and yet I still go on listening.”
The devil swooped up, landing on Peter and forcing him to greet him with his eyes up above. “Yes boy, yes, yes you do! Because of what I bring to you! I have the option, don’t you see, I have the way out of misery. For it’s not me, who has hurt you, it is the one you hold onto. It is this God, a word I spew, it is this one who burdens you.”
Peter shook his head, then tried pulling his blanket over his head, but the devil wouldn’t allow him to. “I don’t know, I cannot say, I only know this pain is strange. I regret all the things I do, I question my faith when I see you.”
“Of course you do boy, you are smart! You’re not like those other dorks. You don’t need Christ, don’t need him dude, come with me and I’ll show you proof.”
Peter groaned, and smeared his face in his hand. “Devil be gone, why can’t you see, I don’t want this battle I just want to sleep. I know the thoughts you’ve sent to me, I feel the pain of my memories. I see the shame of fights I’ve lost, I feel the burden my faith has cost. I can’t think now, I cannot see, for somewhere in there was a dream. An image set, a quest I’ve known, but when you greet me the vision won’t show.”
The devil laughed at that, than took Peter by a pinch to each of his cheeks. “Come on my boy, your quest is through. Don’t you see God lied to you? What’s this trouble, for this quest? For what proof can your faith attest? You think I blind you, that God helps see? I think that sounds like divine blasphemy. For to me come senses, all that’s known, to me comes worry, and all your groans.”
Peter pushed the devil away from him and turned away. “Come on devil, just let me be. These thoughts of struggle are pestering me. I know my choice, I’ll see it through, it was for God and not for you.”
“Forget this God, this unseen being, there’s a reason the others all speak for me! Can’t you see I rule this world? All the hate seen on the news? Why do you suffer, why go on, in a place that your God has not even trod?”
Peter shook his head at that, then sat up. “No no no, this isn’t true. The last few words I heard from you. There was this one, this single man, who came to earth straight from God’s hand. You know his name, for him I speak, his name was Jesus and he spoke to me.”
The devil scoffed loudly, turning his head upright as he did. “Hahaha, you are a fool. The man called Jesus never knew you. He was not real, plain fiction you see, an idea of man for God to be. Let it be known you are mistaken, for heaven sent is a mis-translation. There was no man, who came here you, there was no man who I can’t rule. There is just a thought, an ideal that’s shown, to comfort humans who can’t quite cope.”
Peter stood up, and faced the devil directly. “I’ve heard these words that you’ve all said. You’ve now brought me out from my bed. I tell you evil, you listen to me, the words of Jesus strengthen me. They are true, so true I know, I often see them when your works exposed. More than once, more times than two, the man called Jesus led me past you.”
The devil laughed, scooting back, and falling away. “What, you’re troubled, how can you think? The world doesn’t teach that, it’s mental illness you speak. Don’t be dumb, don’t be so crude, there is no God who speaks through you. These are your words, your strength is too, the man called Jesus was no man but you.”
Peter laughed, and stepped only closer. “No no no no, I think it’s true. I think Jesus came and defeated you. I think his spirit still resides, in heaven’s pastures and bright pink skies. I think you lie, so constantly, I think you’re wrong, about what’s unseen. For all my struggles often pass, and all this heartache, even that won’t last. For every time I’ve listened to you, all my pain has increased too. But on those days which you’ve forgotten, and in those times where my soul was rotting, I asked for Jesus, his God too, I heard his words and they held true. For on those occasions he spoke to me, he told you were death to my dreams. And every time I’ve seen them through, every occasion I woke to do, the work of God as he showed me, the life of Jesus and suffering, I’ve found a place this world don’t know, I have found safety in heavy winds blown.”
The devil covered his ears with his hands. “Just shut up now, I’ll leave you be, just be careful for where hope breaths. There is no struggle it is all passed, when you listen to all I just spat.”
Peter stepped still closer. “So you say, and so you always have, that my pains will never pass. But I wake up and ignore you, I go on to see God’s work through. That’s when I know the truth unfolds, that’s how I know your ways are dull. For with the light the evil passes, and beyond temptation there is a pasture. Of peace and quiet, meadow’s dew, the life of Jesus is the life of truth. For when you come and speak to me, I often doubt and hate everything. But with God, when Jesus speaks, I can see most sights unseen. A path not tread by evil’s feet, a way to heaven man hates to speak. In these bleak nights my sight is lost, yet from the words that Jesus taught, I hear what’s good then see it through, and know for sure the King lives too. Do not stay here you are not welcome, go back to Hell and to your demons tell them – Peter is not coming here, for it is not we who that man fears. It is his God for whom for he rises, it the light which our kingdom despises. There is a God which this man sees, and by this light he will defeat. His quest not over or forgotten, the young man said that he does hear, the young man spoke what we all fear, that his own life we cannot rule, that his own way is to see God’s way through.”
At that, the devil swept of his cloak then fled at once.
– Thomas M. Watt