Gingerly I rise to my feet. It is still hard even to stand. I feel unsteady through out. He puts His arm around me once again and I lean heavily upon Him as we begin to walk. With Him I walk to the edge of the garden, following the edge of the fence. I notice that the fence is iron now, no longer stone. The bars are about shoulder high with stone pillars separating the sections. The fence is not nearly so formidable as it used to be. I see some flowering vines beginning to row up the iron pickets.
“Those vines will bear fruit and draw others to your gate.” He tells me warmly. I think He is pleased.
Together we walk very slowly. I did not realize how much strength I was drawing wrapped up in my own efforts.
“You have worked so hard,” His voice brims with love not condemnation, ”It has driven you, given you no peace, not real peace but rather a counterfeit that was close enough that you would settle for it.”
It is true, what can I say? I want something more now, something that is real. He nods and smiles at me. “Why are we here? What…” I cannot find the words to ask the question on my heart.
“Because seeing these changes will strength you.”
I get a glimpse of something now, just briefly. All the tings I have been afraid of being asked to do, the things I cannot do, I am unable o do them because of something within me. As I am changed I will be able and no longer afraid.
He smiles and nods again, glancing toward the fence. “All that remains is for you to paint the fence and it will be finished.”
“So it does not have to come down?”
“No, the fence is necessary, you must have it. But it has locked you in as much as it has kept others out, so it had to change. Since I stand guard over your heart now, it serves a new purpose, one of the spirit, before it served the purposes of the flesh.”
I ponder on this as we wander to a more distant part of the garden. I do not think we have been here before. It is the spot farthest from the castle, the tree and the waterfall. But there are vines growing over the fence here as well. And in the distance I ser people outside the fence.
“Who are they, Papa?” I ask, suddenly unsettled by what I am seeing.
“They are those who will want to enter this garden because of the fruit they see.
There seems to be a lot of people, coming closer now, and I am afraid. He clearly sees what is happening now.
“Shhh, do not be afraid. Remember I keep guard here now, they cannot hurt you in the garden. They cannot hurt the garden, it is meant for them.”
His words do not make sense to me. I need some time to come to grips with this idea. “Papa, can we move away? I keep feeing as though I must do something here and I do not think that is what you want of me right now.” I whisper tentatively.
He smiles again. “You are getting stronger to see and resist the flesh. This is a step toward healing. You are right, these cannot come in until your wounds are truly healed. Come.” He wraps my arm in His, but does not put His arm around me this time, letting me stand more on my own. I am shaky, but I can walk this way. I still lean heavily on Him though.
As we walk, He speaks to me, teaching me. Finally, He tells me, “Child, I will reset your expectations and give you a platform for a new level of faith to arise in you so that you can walk in my purposes.”
“Be it unto me according to they word, Papa. I want what you want. I do not want to settle for something less. I want what you desire. “ I pause a moment, stumbling over my words. “Because, Papa, I think I can really trust you now, trust that you are not going to hurt me, to make my life difficult just because you can. I don’t think I ever know this before.”
We walk toward the castle now, stopping at a shaded bench by the moat. We sit down to rest. I am already so weary! From the bench I can see the colorful fish cavort in the water, the sight of such life fills me with joy.
“Are you ready to look at your wounds?’ He asks.