The gloom under the trees frightened Gilda, but the signs strengthened her resolve. She continued along the path wondering where the path would take her next. And then, the path came to a sudden stop at a small, stone cottage. At the bottom step was another sign. As she drew near to it, she could read the words written upon it, “If we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (from Romans 8:17a).
Gilda cautiously climbed the steps and approached the heavy wooden door. She listened carefully for a moment and thought, to her dismay, that she could almost hear the sound of heavy breathing. She slowly swung the door to peer inside and then drew her breath in sharply. In the center of a large room was a tall, wooden table with three bowls set upon it. The smell of something sweet filled Gilda’s nostrils and her hungry tummy growled. But what had caused her to gasp was the enormous form of shaggy brown bear on the other side of the table, staring at her with piercing black eyes. The bear lifted a paw towards her and, to Gilda’s astonishment, seemed to be gesturing her towards the table. Gilda took a deep breath and then walked forward while the bear watched. As she came to the table she could see all three bowls very clearly, the first had a card that simply said, “Pleasurable Pursuits”; the second a card that said, “Company of Others”; and on the card of the third was written, “Presence of the King.”
The huge bear raised his massive head and gazed into Gilda’s eyes. A deep growly voice rumbled from his chest and Gilda felt terrified. “One bowl was left here for you,” he said simply. “Can you tell which it is?”
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