Monday, February 06, 2006

Chapter 2: Exposure and Obedience, pt.4

“Let me cleanse you.” He has a basin and sponge, filled with a blue antiseptic solution.

“No!” I recoil in horror, knowing it will hurt.

He rebukes me again. “Now.” Is all He says.

I am ashamed. The pain from His rebukes is so great by now that I cannot hold out long. “Yes, Papa, I will.”

He begins to cleanse me, gently but firmly working off all the crusted dirt and blood that covers me. As He does, I begin to confess and repent: my heart is full of pride, unclean; my belly full of unclean appetites, my womb unfruitful, barren, my feet disobedient, not walking His path.

It hurts, I writhe in pain. I try to run, but He will not allow it, firmly holding me to Him. “Turn around.” He directs.

My back is scarred from burdens I should not have carried. My shoulders are bowed by burdens I have not shared. It hurts! I am not sure what hurts worse now, the cleansing or the exposure of these things which I have kept so carefully hidden.

“Let Me look at you now.” This is not a suggestion. I hesitate and His rebuke is quick to come. He continues until I relent. I cover my face, humiliated, as He sees me. I can feel His penetrating gaze cover me and it is humbling.

“Cover me!” I cry out without thinking. “Cover me in your righteousness! Do not leave me exposed!” I weep into my hands, still covering my face from His gaze.

With unexpected tenderness, He wraps me in His robe once again. Finally I lower my hands from my face. I see in his hand a jar of ointment. “Let me put this on your wounds.” I fear this too is a command.

“No, you would have to look at me to do it! I can do without!” Even I am not pleased at this first response of my heart.

“You have done without for far too long. Must I rebuke you again?” There is something, perhaps disappointment in His voice. I tremble at the thought; I do not think I can handle more of His rebuke.

I allow Him to open the robe, exposing my wounds, but He does not take the robe from me entirely. He spreads the salve over my many wounds, until I am covered in the ointment. I stand there, naked but for His righteousness, humiliated. I cannot lift my face, I cover my eyes.

“Lift your face.” He directs.

I do not have the courage or strength to disobey any more. I find though, in my humiliation I am not afraid either—what more could be worse than this?

He tenderly takes my face in His hands and kisses my forehead. “Now you have tasted true humility.” He whispers.

“Papa God! It hurts!” I cry to Him.

“I know.” Is His only reply.

“I thought I could obey You,” I whisper. “I’m sorry.”

“ I know. You will learn as we return here again.” He responds kindly.

“We have to come back?” The thought is almost too much to bear.

“Until you can do this without rebellion, without the need for rebuke, you will need to return.” He explains without hesitation or surprisingly, condemnation. The later surprises me most of all. Although He was clearly angry with me, there is now no criticism, no condemnation for me, only the explanation of His process.

Part 5-->

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