John Holbrook

The Guardian Spirit

Randy’s head rolled listlessly in the hammock as it bounced over the steep mountain trail. His mom and dad followed behind, their brows furrowed in worry, while sweat dripped off the bodies of the two men carrying the hammock suspended from a pole.

Randy lived deep in the mountains of Mindoro, where the people fear evil spirits. Earlier that year, though, he had spent several months living with some relatives in another village. Every night the family read amazing stories from a big black book. Then they prayed to God as if He really heard them. Randy knew about God; all the Alangan knew who God was. But Randy had never met anyone who knew God personally and could talk to Him or read His words.

Randy loved the peace and happiness that he felt while he lived with his Christian relatives. He peppered his hosts with questions each evening during worship. It was not long before he accepted Jesus as his Savior and decided to get baptized.
All too soon, though, it was time to go back to his parents. He was the only Christian in his whole village, but he was determined to be faithful to Jesus. He began telling his parents and everyone who would listen to him about how God had sent His Son to save them from the spirits that held them in slavery.

Some listened politely. Others just laughed. “Please, Randy,” his parents begged him. “Don’t leave the old ways. The spirits will get angry, and they may try to kill you.”

“Don’t worry, Mom,” Randy replied. “I am God’s now. He will protect me. No spirit will be able to hurt me.”

It was only a few days later, though, that Randy came down with a strange illness. His parents did everything they could, but soon Randy was so sick that he lost consciousness. “Hurry!” Randy’s dad urged. “We have to take him to the shaman.”

“Randy wouldn’t want to go to the shaman if he were awake,” his mom replied. “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

“Our son is going to die if we don’t help him,” his dad replied. “Do you know what else we can do to save his life?”

And so it was that Randy’s head lolled around in the little rattan hammock as the men of his village rushed him to the shaman. Soon they arrived, and Randy’s dad approached the little hut, trembling in fear. “Oh, old one, will you help us? Our son is so sick. I have brought you a little pig. Won’t you please heal my son!”

“Bring him here,” the shriveled old shaman croaked. He climbed into his own hammock, pulled a dirty sheet over his head, and began the eerie chant that all Alangan shamans use to call their spirits.

“What?” the old man suddenly cried out, jerking the hammock to a halt. “No! You must take your son away. Leave immediately.”

“Why?” Randy’s father asked in astonishment. “Whatever could be wrong? Won’t you please heal my son? I’ll bring you another pig next month, only please heal my son.”

“No!” the old shaman replied, beginning to tremble. “Just now, I called my spirits to help me heal your son. They refused to come into the house, though. I looked around in the spirit world to see why. That’s when I saw him. There is a huge, blindingly bright spirit standing over your son. He guards the boy, and none of my spirits can even get near him. I’m sorry, there is nothing that I can do. Please, leave quickly! My spirits are afraid.”

It was a very sober group that made their way back up the trail to their village that night. “Well,” said Randy’s dad, climbing up the ladder behind the men who carried his son. “I was wrong. It’s clear that God really is watching over Randy. From our ancestors’ time, we have always known that God is good. Our sin cut us off from Him, though, and He never would help us. That is, until now. God is obviously protecting Randy from the spirits, so we will just have to trust Him to take care of our son.”

As soon as Randy’s parents believed God and decided to trust Him, Randy began to get better. Within a few hours, he woke up, and just a couple of days later, he was back at work on their mountain farm.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God’s Spirit guards all of His children, even when they cannot take care of themselves? Won’t you trust God to take care of you and your family?

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