Sunday, March 05, 2006
Chapter 12:Listening to His Whisper pt.2
At the waterfall, I try to wash, but it is hard. I hurt-I just plain hurt right now and still I have no answers. What am I supposed to do now? Looking down, I see I am still stained, stained with guilt and shame for what I have done, what I have clung to I do not know what to do.
“Repent, wash” His voice is kind but firm.
No more! I think – I am tired, deeply weary and want to be done. I do not want to obey. But I remember His stinging rebuke – I do not want that either and if I do not obey that will come until I do. So I obey. “I repent of accepting this guilt, this worldly sorrow that is not from You.” I see how I have been drawing it into myself, like the pain, and holding on to it, building my world upon it. “I repent, Papa, I let it go, I release it, forgive me!” Finally I see the stains washing away.
I am clean, but my heart is heavy. I look for Him, but do not see Him. “Papa, where are You?” Panic fills my voice. Did the reluctance in my obedience drive Him away?
“I am here.” I hear His voice by the tree. It reminds me that He said the tree was a place of reconciliation as well. I begin to walk out of the water, but it is difficult. I ache all over and my heart is heavy. I grieve for what I have done and still feel without direction. By the time I reach Him I am chilled and cold throughout.
Silently, He dresses me in His robes once again. The fabric, though soft and warm, feels weighty against the aching places of correction. I cannot lift my eyes to look at Him now. It seems like we stand that way for a long time.
Finally, He directs me. “Kiss my face.”
Of all the things I did not expect Him to say! This was certainly the first on that list! At first I am too stunned to obey.
“Kiss Me.” His firm voice repeats his direction.
“How can I?” I wonder. If I could, I would disobey, but I am too afraid of His rebuke for that. Lifting up my head is unbelievably hard, but I do. I stretch on tip toes to reach, even as He bends down to meet me. Carefully, very gingerly, I kiss His face.
As I do, He sweeps me into a deep embrace, lifting me from my feet into His arms.
“How can you do this?” I protest.
”How can I not?” He shows me that we are looking at different things. I see my sin, He sees repentance. “You heard the whisper of My spirit and left a place of comfort today even though there would be pain. You saw your sin and repented. How could I not be pleased?”
“But I am unclean! Beneath this robe I am stained and unclean! How can you bear to touch me?”
“You have been washed by your repentance. The robe is to cover any stain that remains yet to be washed. I see only My righteousness in you.”
He carries me to the tree, to sit with Him on that branch. Tucking my head under His chin, He embraces me in a bear hug as before. I feel tired, still unclean. I wish I could see what He sees.
But all I can see is how I have failed Him again. I am grieved and still do not know what to do. Now that I have repented and sought change, what do I do? How do I do things differently? But in this moment I even fear to ask.
“Oh, my precious child…” He begins.
“Precious?” I wonder.
“Yes, precious. You have greatly pleased Me. In this moment you feel so distant, but you are closer than you know. You sought to remove what would come between us and you have even though it cost you in the process. I am pleased to know that you value this closeness enough to pay for it in your flesh.”
I ponder this concept for a while. “It hurts, Papa.” I whisper, finding this is all I can discover this is all I can find to say.
“I know.” He replies, confirming what He said a moment before. With a gentle hand, He reaches from his embrace to stroke my face. His touch soothes some of the raggedness of my soul.
“Papa,” my voice still a whisper, “I dread what you are going to tell me to do. I fear that—I fear that you intend to humiliate me, to hurt me. I know change is needed, but I fear you will make that a way to pay me back, I guess, retaliate against me for what I have done.” I hang my head in sorrow, for I am ashamed at the contents of my heart. “I’m sorry Papa.”
“Little one, I know you are afraid—afraid of Me. Some of that fear is right. You should fear my rebuke, that helps you to obey when your flesh cries out otherwise. But the pain of rebuke is only to bring you to obedience, the pain of correction to bring you to repentance. Once you have come to that place, I do not continue to use pain to train you. I want you to understand that I do not treat my children,” He lifts my chin to cause me to look at Him, “My daughter that way, that pattern you know from your mother’s ways, not from mine.”
Immediately I see what He means. “Papa, forgive me! I repent of those judgments and expectations I have been carrying from the wrong way I have seen You because of my mother’s ways. Please, change my heart! Help me to see You rightly! ” I cannot hold back this cry from Him, even though I do no know what to expect.
“Shhh,” He presses my head back to His bosom. “I will not change these things in you with harshness but with My gentleness.” He softly strokes my cheek again. I find I want to hide from Him though, afraid that at any moment for no reason I can understand He will explode in anger. “No, you must receive my tenderness, my love right now. This is why you wear My righteousness and not your own. Yours is not sufficient, mine is.
“No, you are not perfect. I am perfecting you. Just sit here with Me and let My love penetrate your hurts. We can not talk about what to do until you remember where you are.”
So I lean back into His arms and rest a while. Slowly, I feel a peace beginning to creep over me.