We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

He sat atop a hill overlooking Jerusalem. A sea of humanity had been stuffed to overflowing within the walls. The mood was electric, the crowd an undulating mass of chaos. To them, it was a curiosity, but he knew the true magnitude of what was happening in that city.

     Dallas Strongwell was a professor of physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. All his career, others in his profession poked fun at him for being a Christian. From a young age as a graduate student, his professors had told him that he would not make it very far in the sciences believing in a fairy tale like Christianity, and from a young age, he had resolved to prove them all wrong. If they needed proof that God’s Word was the truth, he would bring them proof.

     Dallas spent the better part of thirty years preparing to fulfill the promise he made to himself all those years ago. He had made all the calculations, some of which required him to invent entirely new disciplines in mathematics. He gathered all the necessary materials and fabricated all the components. Finally, he assembled everything into a working prototype. This was the tool that he would use to prove to the world that Christianity was not a fairy tale. The device that he built would help him win over all the holdouts to Christ. It was a time machine!

     His plan was simple. He would go back in time to several key points in scripture. Using recording equipment, he would gather proof that the events of the bible were true. The video, audio, and the time machine itself would be irrefutable evidence. No one could deny the scriptures after that.


     He wanted to start with the creation, but he didn’t know how the time machine would work if he got too close to the moment of creation. Instead, he settled for the fall of man. He found a place overlooking the garden. Using a parabolic microphone and a digital camera with a telephoto lens, he set up surveillance on Adam and Eve. He caught the temptation of the serpent and the disobedience of Adam when he took the bite from the fruit.


     He continued to watch as the Lord came through the garden calling out for Adam, the forming of clothing for them because they now knew that they were naked, and finally, he watched as they were cast out. An angel appeared at the entrance to the garden with a flaming sword. The sight was awe-inspiring to witness.

     Next, he went to the death of Abel. He watched and recorded as Cain slew his brother in cold blood. The sorrow at the loss of both of their sons was great. Abel to murder and Cain to exile. Dallas got emotional at the sight of it all. It was horrific to witness.


     After that, he went to see Noah and the great flood. He was not prepared for what he would witness there. First, he would see the debauchery of the people as they pursued their own pleasures. Later, when the rain came, he would see their desperation as they tried everything that they could to survive. Terror was on their faces as they realized that they were going to die. He saw the body of a small child float past him. It would haunt him for many years to come.


     He traveled to the banks of the Red Sea and walked among the people. When Pharoah came, he saw Moses put his staff in the water and the sea part in two. He walked with the people through the sea on dry land to the other side. Once on the other bank, he witnessed the waters collapse back in on Pharoah and his armies. It reminded Dallas of the bodies he saw floating in the water back in the days of the great flood.


     The story of David and Goliath had always been one of his favorites. With all the warriors of Israel gathered against the Philistines, he would be able to blend into the crowd. He watched as the tiny shepherd boy called out this giant of a man. David mocked Goliath and then, to the astonishment of the crowd, Goliath was dead. Even though Dallas already knew what was going to happen, he still cheered with the men of Israel.

david, goliath, battle-7302054.jpg

     He visited many more places and times. Dallas listened to the great prophets of the Old Testament. He went to the temple and took readings and measurements. He filled up many SD cards with images and videos. He truly was having an experience that could not be described, but there was one more thing he needed to see, the most important thing. The crucifixion of Christ.


     The crucifixion was the single most important moment in history. When He took the sin onto himself and died as payment for that sin, He said, “It is finished.” The debt of sin was settled at that very moment. If Dallas could get proof of that, then no one could deny the Gospel. He would go there and gather that proof before returning home and releasing the evidence to the world.

jesus, christ, god-4779548.jpg

     As he continued to watch the mass of humanity in Jerusalem, he decided that he would need to go down there if he wanted to see anything of substance.  There were just too many people packed tightly to get a good view or audio with the parabolic mics. He put away the larger equipment so that it would not be noticeable. He made sure that the stealth cameras and omni-mics were well hidden and angled to have a good field of view, then he set out for the city.


     Dallas made his way through the streets of Jerusalem as far as he could. The mass of people was so thick that it made him feel claustrophobic. This was made worse by the Roman guards keeping a section of the street, about five feet wide, clear of all foot traffic. It squeezed all the people into two tightly compacted strips along the side of the street. He found a place near where the guards were holding the people at bay. He would have a good field of view here.


     He waited for hours. People talked around him. Most had no idea what was causing such an uproar in the city. Some mentioned the rabbi that had come into the city just a few days ago. They said that the authorities had charged him with blasphemy. It was incomprehensible for most regular people to believe that a rabbi would commit blasphemy.  Other rumors came and went as he listened to the crowd. He made a mental note that the linguists were going to be having a field day with all this audio from when these languages were being actively used.


       As he stood there in introspection, he heard a commotion from up ahead. He saw a group of Roman soldiers leading a man who was carrying a cross. It was Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Dallas almost lost his sense of where he was and what he was doing. He wanted to fall to his knees and worship Him, but doing so would have garnered the attention of the guards and the Jewish leaders following behind the crucifixion procession. He resisted his initial urges and kept recording and observing.

      As Jesus came close to his position along the road, He fell to the ground, dropping the cross. Before Dallas knew what was happening, a guard grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out into the street with Jesus. The guard said something and pointed at Jesus who was on the ground clutching onto the cross. Dallas wasn’t really hearing what the guard was saying. His shock at what was happening had overridden his senses. He reached down and grabbed the cross, lifting it as he helped the Lord to His feet.


     Jesus looked at him, a look that wordlessly conveyed that He knew exactly who Dallas was. Some women who had followed close by were crying and wailing. Jesus looked at them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”


     As the Lord looked back to Dallas, He stared him right in the eyes. Dallas made the realization that he had always been meant to be here in this place and at this time. It was all part of God’s plan from the beginning. Dallas had heard that the man who helped Jesus carry the cross was from the northern part of Africa near modern-day Libya and that he had likely been a dark-skinned African man. Dallas’ father had been a medium-skinned man from Memphis, TN. His mother, however, had been a dark-skinned immigrant from … Libya. People always said that Dallas took after his mother.

Follow Me

     They walked along the path to Golgotha. It was a grueling walk, and the cross was heavy. He had no earthly explanation as to where he got the strength to carry it. He accepted that the source of that strength had not been “earthly” in origin. He hadn’t spoken with the Lord along the way. He didn’t know what to say. Here he was with Jesus Christ with a whole bunch of live recording equipment, and he couldn’t think of a single question to ask Him.


     As they completed the last few steps to the place of the crucifixion, Jesus gently squeezed his hand as if to say, “I know”, then He let go as the guards dragged him and the cross to the final position to start the process. Dallas watched as they crucified Him. He couldn’t turn away despite the horror that he felt. It was the most brutal thing he had ever seen. It affected him more than the dead in the flood, more than the bodies floating in the Red Sea after Moses released the waters to return to their place. It was far worse than the bodies of the Philistines in the aftermath of when David slew Goliath. All that precious blood flowing out of God made flesh.


     As he knelt there weeping uncontrollably, a man approached him. He looked around and the hill was nearly empty. The body of Jesus was gone, as were most of His followers. The man knelt down to Dallas and said, “My name is John, and you are?”


     Dallas knew him of course. Everyone knew of the apostle John, the only one of the apostles who was present at Golgotha. Dallas grabbed John’s hand as he was helped to his feet. He thought about the question for a moment and responded. “I am Simon of Cyrene.”


     “Did you know the rabbi?” John asked.


     Dallas considered that question. He had known Jesus since he was a teenager and accepted Christ. Jesus had lived in him for decades now, but that is not what John was asking. He had to be careful about what he said next. 


     “I knew He was what he said He was and wanted to meet Him. I did not know that I would become involved in this” he gestured to the site of the crucifixion as he almost vomited at the memory of it all.


     John looked at the place where his mic and camera were hidden. “I trust that you got what you came here to get?”


     His heart nearly stopped. John knew, or at least he had an idea, that Dallas was here as much more than a bystander. “Yes, John, I believe that my business in Jerusalem is finished.”


     “You should be along your way then Simon,” John said. “It is clear you do not belong here, and there is much work for both of us ahead.” John looked him straight in the eyes before he turned and walked away.

     Dallas could have been imagining things. Perhaps John didn’t know his true identity or purpose, but the way that John looked and spoke told him otherwise. He took it as a sign that he needed to go back to his own time and stop meddling in past events. He made his way down from Golgotha and back toward where he had hidden some of his larger equipment.


      He took off his mic and camera from under his robes and put them in the bag with the rest of the equipment he had hidden. He took inventory to ensure that everything he brought with him was present. It would be a disaster if he left some sort of modern technology two thousand years in the past. The ramifications would be incalculable.


     Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him and turned to see what it was. He was blinded by a brilliant light a few meters in front of him. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw a figure standing there. It was an angel. He was in shock at the sudden appearance of this being. Fear gripped him into inaction, and he just stood there like an animal caught in the beams of a bright light.


     “Hello Dallas,” the angel spoke softly.


     Dallas was freaking out a little. He manages to sputter out a weak, “Hi,” and after a few moments longer he was able to ask, “What is your name?”


     The angel smiled at him, “My name is of no importance. I have come to stop you from making a terrible mistake. You cannot be allowed to take your recording devices back with you. You would destroy the faith of an entire generation.”


     Dallas thought for a moment, overcoming some of his fear. “Then why was I allowed to come here and take all these recordings if I was never going to be allowed to bring them back? You could have stopped my time machine from working, and I would have never been able to come here. You could have broken my devices and I would have no record of what I had seen.”


     The angel looked at the bag of equipment on the ground. “You are certainly right about that last part.”


     He then produced a sword from what appeared to be nowhere. He pointed the sword at the bag of equipment. A bright pillar of white-hot flame came from the blade and consumed the bag and everything it contained. Dallas was stunned by the suddenness and thoroughness of the destruction.


     Realizing that the time machine was also in the bag, he said “So that’s it. My life’s work is gone, and I am trapped here.” He hung his head in despair.


      The angel came over and rested a glowing hand on his shoulder. “Do not be troubled. While it was not the Father’s plan for you to take back proof to the future, it was His plan for you to be here and to see all of this. The reasons are beyond created beings such as you and I. All will be revealed in His time. For now, go home. Your work here is done, and so is mine.”


     As the angel slowly began to ascend into the air, Dallas called after him. “This would have made everyone believe. Why should they remain blind?’


     The angel stopped and turned around in the air. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The angel turned back and continued to ascend until he was gone from sight.

     Dallas hung his head and dropped to his knees. His obsession with proving the truth of the Bible had blinded him to the concept of faith. Scripture says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. It had been staring him in the face all his life. He just hadn’t seen it. The moment he had proof of the truth, the possibility of faith was gone. He couldn’t ask people to have faith in something if he was able to prove it beyond any doubt. How foolish he had been. He began to weep uncontrollably right there on his knees in the dirt. Over and over all he could say was, “Forgive me, Lord. I am so sorry.”


     After a few moments, he could feel a change in the air around him and the sounds of the wind ceased. He opened his eyes to find himself kneeling in his lab dressed in normal clothes instead of the robes he had been wearing.


     He stood shakily, disoriented by the sudden changes. The lab around him was just as he had left it before his trip back in time. His clothes were the same clothes he had worn just before he had changed into more appropriate clothing for the trip. It was as if he hadn’t gone anywhere.

      Dallas was still thinking about everything that the angel had told him. The emotions of the realization of what he had almost done tore at him. As he looked across the lab, his eyes settled on the drawing board stretched out along the back wall. He stepped over to it and looked over it. All the equations and calculations that he had created to make his time machine were there in front of him.


     Whether or not the trip had been real or a part of some sort of fantasy was one thing, but these calculations were very real, with real-world applications. He thought for a moment about all that he could do with those equations other than time travel. As he thought about the possibilities, the words of the angel echoed through his mind. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


     He took the final few steps to the board. He reached over and grabbed a cloth hanging from a magnetic hook on the side of the board. He reached up and started to wipe the board clean. Line by line, equation by equation, his life’s work slowly disappeared, and as he finished his work, he put down the cloth and said, “All right Lord, we’ll do it your way.” He turned off the light and headed for the door.

     As he left the lab, a figure outside the window was watching from the shadows. As the sky above lit up with a streak of lightning, his face was illuminated. There was no glow or radiance of any kind, but the features were unmistakable. It was the angel that had destroyed all of Dallas’ equipment. He looked at the blank drawing board and smiled. He turned and walked away from the building as he faded into nothingness.

Enjoy My Stories & Articles

Find more stories and blog posts here.

Leave a Comment