“Why did I ask you to correct me? Why did I ask for that pain?” Truly I do not understand myself in these moments.
“Because your flesh is being subdued enough that your heart can be heard. Now come, share you heart with me.”
I try, but keep finding myself distracted. “Lord, I keep moving away. I have been keeping You at a distance, not allowing You close. And it has been me all this time.”
“ Yes. You have worked so hard in my Name, serving, you say, but it has not brought you close. You push harder and harder out of fear, fear that I will turn you out if you do not. You are terrified to let anything go as if you would lose Me as well.”
I can only nod as He speaks my heart aloud.
“Look at your hands.” He instructs. I hold them out, palms up. He touches them, runs His finger across the row of calluses I developed from weight training. “These are good, well earned. They came from subduing your flesh.” Carefully, He takes my hands in His, turning them over. I see bruises on my knuckles, nails torn and cracked, fingertips ragged, frayed. “But this—“ He tenderly strokes the wounds, “this is from striving, holding on too long, holding on to what you should let go, beating your hands on tasks not meant for you.”
I have no reply. I’d never seen my hands this way before. I grieve.
“You push harder because you fear you must for acceptance. I long to change that I want to set you free.” It is quiet again as I think on these things.
“Come sit with Me.” His invitation is gentle, not demanding, comforting. We sit beneath a huge tree on the richest soil I have ever seen. He scoops a handful into His powerful hand, showing me. “See this soil, it is rich and the seeds planted here grow strong, bearing much fruit.”
He holds out a handful of fat, round seeds that look like acorns without the caps. “These seeds are from these trees. They are full and ready to spring up in this ground. You see, this is what I have for you to plant.” I listen in silence, unable to grasp all that I am seeing.
“You have been planning in desert places, planning these…” He holds out what look like poppy seeds, letting them trickling through His fingers to the ground. “You have dug hard ground and toiled hard, but still the harvest has been small. You have refused to believe you could till other, better ground. I have longed for you to plant these fertile seeds, but you could not consider it.” There is a note of sadness in His voice. He presses the fat seeds into my hands. With some hesitation, I take them. “Not just these, but much more.” He shows me rows of bushel baskets of these seeds. “I have the soil waiting for you—you do not need to find it for yourself, I will take you there. You already know how to plant the seed.”
My heart leaps at the possibilities. My back aches at the remembrance of my own planting and the dingy, hopeless harvest. All I can do is whisper, “Yes”
“But,” He begins again, “you have never allowed it. You have seen yourself as small and useless-something to be thrown away after one use. You convinced yourself o this, that you were useless and unlikable because you were afraid. You felt rejection from others, assumed it to be from Me and convinced yourself the rejection was justified. You denigrated My precious creation in you, the works of My hand, you have stood in the way of my purposes out of a fear and a vow that I would turn you away. You have distanced yourself from Me.”
I can see where this is going, but cannot help myself from crying out, “ Oh, God, change me, change my heart. I don’t want this distance from you!” The truth of His words rings out within me drawing out a yearning for change, but still something within fights against this, knowing that there will be pain in the process.
He rises, brushing the soil from His hands. “Come, take My arm.” We begin towards the grove and the place of correction. For a moment I am fine, but then the panic sets in again. I turn to run, but I turn in to Him, not away, and run full force into Him. I find I am shaking so hard I can barely stand. “No! No, not there again—please, no! I can’t!”
He wraps His arms around me. “Shhh, I am here.” He holds me for a long time, until the shaking stops.