Slowly we enter the gate. I lean heavily on His arm, drawing strength from Him. What once was a garden is filled with enormous, thorny canes, like old, old roses gone terribly awry. The canes are as thick as my arm, the thorns as long and thick as my fingers and wickedly sharp. The air is grey and heavy, thick with flies and gnats. It is an awful place!
“Quickly!” He instructs, “Uncover that I might anoint you.”
Immediately I obey, responding to the urgency in His voice.
As I do, He explains. “The real danger here is the flies. They will lay their eggs in any wound or weakness. Their maggots can destroy you.” My stomach churns with the image as I wave the insects away from my face.
He anoints me with oil this time. The oil is heavy and thick, burning at my heart and belly, though I am not sure why.
“Now, I must anoint and cover the pain from My rebuke to you. If I do not, the flies will attack that pain. The flies are doubt and if they lay their eggs in that pain we will not reach the castle itself.”
How can I possibly argue? “Cover me Papa!” I cry releasing myself into His hands.
He finishes covering me with oil and again dresses me in His robe and sandals. We look once again at the ruined garden. It seems we just stare for a long time.
I am at a loss from what to do. “Do we cut all these back?” I ask staring at the massive canes. I cannot imagine what it will take to cut these back, even with the sharpest blades.
“No,” He replies, shaking His head gently. “We must find the roots and dig them out.”
I have no idea how to find these roots or even where to begin. “Papa, how?”
“I will take you. I know the roots. But you must be careful, do not let the thorns wound you. You must not give an opening for the flies to attack you.” He takes my left arm now, before He had been on my right. “Let me walk between you and the thorns. I will cover you, protect you here. These thorns will not hurt Me. Remember, you must stay covered here. You have walked too long without the oil and still bear many wounds.”
I close my eyes, nodding at the truth of it.
“As the thorns are rooted out, we must also clean up the garden, change the structures of the flesh. That was the burning you felt when I anointed you.”
There is a stone bench near the gate, not yet overtaken by the thorns. He guides me to sit with Him there. It is cold here and the cold of the stone penetrates my bones as we sit there quietly.
Finally, I hear myself whisper, “You are not yet 'Papa' in this place yet, are you?”
My voice seems very, very small.
“No, not yet, but I will be.” He touches my chest and shows me a small, withered, lifeless heart. He breathes on it and it begins to come to life! “I will be” He whispers again. “Come now.” We rise. “I will guide you. Take care that you do not become lost here. Stay close to Me. All this has but three roots beneath it. I will take you to them.”