Not long ago a stranger appeared in a village. The people who lived there were usually skeptical to outsiders, but this visitor was different. He used words like faith, believe, trust, confidence. The villagers enjoyed listening to him talk and started to turn to him for advice on all sorts of matters. Working his way into their heads and eventually their hearts, he became part of the community.
A short time later a terrible sickness descended upon the village. People of all ages and all walks of life became ill. Villagers came to the stranger and asked what they should do. He told them as he always did, “You must have faith, believe, trust, have confidence.” They listened and waited. The village doctors tried cure after cure but nothing worked. The plight worsened. Colleagues, friends, and family members died. The stranger told them again, “You must have faith, believe, trust, have confidence.”
Soon an angry mob gathered outside the stranger’s house. They yelled for him to come out. He did not appear. The frenzy heightened. They threatened to burn the house to the ground. The door slowly opened. The stranger walked out. “I know why you are here, but you must have faith, believe, trust, have confidence.”
A woman mourning the loss of her husband and two children came forward. “You keep telling us to have faith, believe, trust, have confidence, but in what? We have tried everything. There is nothing more to do.” Another heart-broken villager spoke. “We never had this problem before you came. “ The stranger remained quiet. Voices echoed from all directions. “You brought this with you.” “Your talk of faith and trust has brought us nothing.” “When you are gone, the plague will be too.” And then the inevitable call for blood erupted. “Let’s kill him.”
Two hulking villagers seized the stranger. He did not fight. The mob circled him. The stranger scanned the vengeful crowd, studying each face. A young boy asked, “Do you still have faith, believe, trust, have confidence?” He inhaled slowly and smiled on the release. “Did faith, belief, trust, confidence bring you to this moment or something else?” The crowd fell silent. The stranger closed his eyes and awaited his fate.