There was an altruistic young man who was disillusioned by the ways of mankind. He heard of a wise hermit that lived in a cave and knew everything. After much research to the hermit’s whereabouts and an arduous trek through the deep forest, he found this bearded recluse and asked for advice.

The hermit replied, “Son, you look tired and hungry; let’s have some rabbit stew from my cauldron, and then we'll talk.”

After the meal, the youngster inquired, “Do you know everything?"

The hermit chuckled and replied, “I know a lot, but only God Almighty knows everything!”

“What if I don't believe in God,” asked the youngster. “There is much misfortune and injustice in the world, and it seems He could have done a better job — if He truly does exist.”

“There are two worlds,” said the hermit, “one of the Earth and another of the spirit. God is the king of the spiritual world but has allowed us free will to decide our destiny while we are inhabitants of Earth.”

“So what happens if we go our separate ways to live however we wish on Earth and simply turn to dust when we die and become nothing?”

“There is no such thing as nothing,” replied the hermit. “‘Nothing’ does not exist; it's impossible, my friend. Once God has created us in His image, we will live forever in the spiritual world and will have no choice. The believers go to heaven, the evil go to hell, and the rest dwell in a middle world forsaken and forlorn.”

The young man suddenly awoke from his deep slumber and felt the glowing presence of Jesus in his heart and all around him. His life was changed forever. Never again did he feel the need to visit the hermit.

Dennis Cooke