He leads me back through the dusty halls down to the study. By the time we arrive I am exhausted again. As He sits in His chair by the fire, I drop to the floor on the soft sheep skin and lean my head on His knee. “I am so exhausted Papa! I do knot know how I can do this? How can I do more?” I want to cry, but cannot find the tears. The task He has placed before me seems more than I can possibly even consider.
He strokes my hair gently. “You work too hard and need to rest.”
Quietly and kindly He shows me how I have used busyness to protect me. As a youth I used it to protect me from things at home, either keeping me away from there or at least keeping me from the path of the storm. So I retreat to the busyness in defense and cannot allow myself to rest even when there is nothing to defend against.
“What must I do about this?” I whisper, stung by the truth of what He has shown to me.
“Your heart needs to be healed. I want to be free from this.” He whispers to me.
“What must I do?” I am at a loss to see His path.
“Give Me the keys to your heart.”
His words strike me hard. I though I had done that. Keys mean ownership—does He not have that over me?
“No” He replies to my thought. “You allowed me a lease, a long one, but not ownership.”
I am taken back to see that He is right. I have not actually trusted Him with true, full ownership. I have not allowed Him full control—residence yes, but little more. The reality hits me heavily, weighing deeply upon my heart. What would ownership, what would Him having the keys look like? My first glance at such a thought is fearful, full of hurt. Instinctively, I fear that He will use His ownership to hurt me.
I tentatively glance up at Him and can see clearly that He knows what I am thinking. He says nothing though, but again strokes my hair tenderly and rests His hand on my shoulder. Clearly, He is not angry with me, though I do not understand why.
“Where are the keys?” I finally ask, realizing that even if I wanted to give Him the keys, I could not.
“In the drawer of the bookstand.” He glances toward it briefly as if trying not to push me into action.
I rise slowly from the soft sheepskin rug, my mind in turmoil. Somehow I am not surprised to find that the drawer is stuck when I try to open it. I work at it earnestly for a while, but finally return to His side.
“How do I open the drawer?” I feel stupid asking, but I do not know.
“Make a choice to trust Me again.” He reminds me of when we walked through this trust issue in another light.
As I sit down beside Him again, I find I have my head down, resting on my own knees y mind and heart reeling with what he is asking of me. Somewhere along the line I have learned that He really does not care about me, that He does not care about my needs, or was that my comfort? I am not sure I remember clearly in this moment. Some part of me knows that giving Him ownership requires level of privation and sacrifice that I have heard about in the awful ‘stories of old’ about what was gone without and how holy ‘they’ were to do it. It sounds so much like He wants to deprive me of all comfort or relief I might find. It seems like things are hard enough now, why should I invite them to become harder still? How can I trust that He will not tear down this place once He owns it?
Somehow, I have already forgotten what He said in the dining room. I want to obey, but feel so conflicted. I wish I could cry, but cannot find the tears. I feel ill, I do not know how to do what He has asked of me.
“Papa, I want to obey, I just do not know how to open the drawer. How do I trust you in spite of all I have been taught?” The words tumble out of me in a rush. “I want to do this!” I raise my head to look into the fire—I cannot look at Him right now. “If it would help….please, take me from this place…rebuke me if that will help me do this!” I hang my head once again in despair, still unable to find the tears to release my turmoil.
He is quiet for a long, long time. Somehow it is fitting, the silence helps me to calm myself just a bit. Finally, He reaches forward, laying a hand on my shoulder. “A willing heart does not need rebuke.” He says firmly.
I do not know what to say, feeling as though I have no hope now.
“Come closer to me, here by my side.” He directs. Not lifting my head, I obey, leaning against His leg, His hand still on my shoulder.
Quietly, He begins to share with me about the Good Father and the Good Shepherd. He reminds me of His names that I have studied and that none of them are names of fear and hurt, but healer, provider, shepherd, refuge, strong tower, deliverer, redeemer. There is no name for Him that means destroyer, wounder of His children. That is simply not who He is, it is not in His character. What I have learned is a false representation of my Papa God. He works all things to good for His children. He gives good gifts to His children, we are the sheep of His pasture, His wealth and His treasure. He tends and preserves us for Himself. Those things I fear, He simply will not do, they are not in Him.
He lets me think on these things for a long time, but it is clear that I must make a choice. He will not force me, but I must do something with what He has shown me. My anxiety has not lessened, but I have chosen.