I am not refreshed when I awake this time. I am acutely aware of my uncleanness. This place of obedience is so hard. I thought we would stay at correction, by the tree. That place was painful, but I knew that place, somehow making it easier.
“Come, we still have much ground to cover.” His voice breaks through my thoughts. He gestures in the distance to what seems a mountain. We are not even close. Still spent, I cannot conceive how we will ever get there.
“It is not time to go there, yet, do not fear. Little one, let me anoint your wounds, let Me see them.” His voice is gentle, but the command is there.
I do not want to obey. I fear His rebuke, though. I step forward, to Him. He begins by anointing my face—I had not realized how hurt it was: my eyes, my cheeks, my throat. He removes my robe and I stand trembling before Him. As He anoints me, the salve burns and I see: my heart is unclean, my breast does not nurture, my belly is full of vile appetites, my womb barren, my legs do not stand, my feet run.
“Turn around,” He instructs.
Hanging my head, burning with shame, I obey. My back is scarred, my shoulders bowed. I know this salve heals, but for now, the pain is great. And there are yet wounds He has not touched.
“Come close to Me now—reveal your wounds to Me.” There is no hiding from Him!
I want to pull back, but I fear another rebuke. I close my eyes as He applies his salve to these deeper wounds. Then I feel Him cover me once again with His robe.
Suddenly, I know He is not trying to humiliate me! He is not trying to break me! I do not know why I had been so convinced His goal was to devastate me. As He tenderly covers me, I feel His grace and see His desire all along as been to make me whole, to cleanse me of those things which keep us apart.
“Now give Me your hands and feet.” More willingly this time, I obey. I feel the strength of His hands as He rubs His salve into my hands and feet. He finishes, but I am still exhausted, there is no refreshing for me.
“Why don’t I feel better? I just feel numb…” I mumble, confused.
But He hears and is willing to respond. “Your wounds are very deep. It will take time and further anointing.”
“Again?” I wonder aloud. My heart falls. This is still hard—harder than I had thought. I did not expect to have to go here, never saw this coming. I feel another pang of dread, glimpsing my own sin—sin that runs deeper than I ever knew. I begin to see how far I have yet to go. “You are going to make me do things I cannot!” I cry out, panic rising up in me.
“No.” His voice is assured and firm. “No, not what you cannot. I will never ask from what you cannot do. Only what you refuse to do.”
This was certainly not what I wanted to hear. There is quiet between us now. I feel dejected and alone. I long for the closeness of the day before.
“I am here, just as before.” He reminds me, and it is true, He is. He has never turned His back on me. “This place is for you to become stronger. I must let you grow here.”
“Will you be with me?”
“You have My arm in yours, but you did not realize it.”
I look down to see His arm entwined with mine. We have been walking together and I have been so caught in my thoughts and fears that I was unaware of it.