“I will believe You, Papa, I will trust You.” I rise to get the keys. The drawer is sticky, but it opens. Inside, there is a key ring with one large, gold key and many smaller once. The firelight reflects dully from the keys. Somehow I know if I take hold of them, I will not want to let them go.
With just one finger, I scoop them up, hooking my finger gingerly in the ring, not allowing them to fall into my palm. I rush to His side, almost throwing the keys at Him in my haste not to become too attached to them.
He takes them carefully, as though handling a treasure. I am stunned by the concern he demonstrates in handling them. Wordlessly, He polishes away the tarnish until they gleam. He removes a length of shimmering white velvet from within His robe and carefully wraps the keys it in. With equal care, He takes the wrapped keys and places them in His robe, close to His heart, then turns toward me.
I am startled and shocked by my own reactions. I flinch and barely resist the urge to cover my face with my hands. “Don’t hurt me Papa!” I cry out before I can silence the words. I thought I was at a place of trust, I truly believed that I did trust, but my own words betray me. I expect Him to be angry, but He is not.
“Have I ever?” He asks calmly and without reproach.
My flesh tries to answer yes, but I cannot find any place where that is truly the case. He has said ‘no’ to me at times, but that is not the same.
“No, you have not.” I whisper afraid of taxing His patience.
“Have I ever given you reason to doubt Me?”
I look back. It seems hard to find places of trust because so many of my own works seem mixed in. I keep looking and cannot find any place He has given me cause not to trust when I have been unable to do something on my own.
“No you have not. But I do see how many times I have taken matters into my own hands, even when You have been there and how I have usually complicated matters or made a mess out of them.” I hang my head in frustration.
He beckons me to His side again. I sit beside Him once more, resting my head in His lap now.
“You have been faithful, daughter, hung in and endured what few have been willing to. You have been faithful to a fault.” His words sting now as I see so much of what I thought to be faithfulness has been my own flesh working out of fear of rejection and self protection. I am devastated and feel condemnation welling up within.
“I have seen the faithfulness of the past and blessed it. It was an act of obedience and it was the best you had to offer me. You gave it willingly. It was a sweetly fragranced offering to Me.” There is a note of sternness in His voice that cuts through my sense of condemnation. Gently he lays His hand on my head. “It is time to grow up now, though. Time for you to stop being faithful to what I have not called you to. Time to stop working pointlessly and to focus on what I have called you to.”
I feel the tears trickle silently down my cheeks. I cannot stop them, much as I would like to. I say nothing, not wanting Him to see me right now.
“You have not listened to me, child.” He says firmly, even as I hide my face from Him.
Placing His hand under my arm, He bids me stand and face Him. I cannot lift my face to Him though. I feel the fire, hot on my back and my grief burning within me. All I can focus on is that I have failed yet again. At some level I know He has said more than that, but still failure is all I can hear. With a firm but kind touch, He lifts my chin so I must face Him. The tears burn my face now, but there are no words to speak.
“You have not listened to me.” He repeats Himself, His words edged with rebuke, but somehow, in this moment I do not care. “All you have heard is that it is time for change, you did not listen when I told you that what you offered to Me then was pleasing to Me. You gave to me the best you had and gave it out of an obedient heart. A widow’s mite, a pleasing fragrance. You must hear this.” He hold my face in both His hands now. “You have pleased Me.”
Without intending to, I start to pull away.
“No.” His voice freezes me. “You will stay until you hear this. Condemnation is threatening to overtake you and if it gains a foothold your wounds will not heal and you will lose the ground you have gained thus far. If you want to keep this ground you must make a choice to truly hear Me now.”
His words are heavy and I cannot ignore them. I must obey. “Yes, Papa, I will.” I whisper, reluctantly, not understanding why this is so difficult for me.
Still holding my face in His hands He begins again. “Offerings made from a genuine, loving and obedient heart are always pleasing to Me. You have pleased Me, child. I am pleased with you.”