I find His last statement confusing and contrary to what I have been taught. I had been told over and over that “God doesn’t care about your happiness, He cares about your perfecting. I just knew my happiness was irrelevant, something that just should not, did not matter to a real Christian. I’d been taught not to consider it, not to dwell on it. I cannot grasp what He is talking about. “I don’t understand, Papa, you care about that?” The words pour out before I can censor them.
“Yes I do. Is not the fruit of the Spirit joy?”
Joy? Happiness? He really means actually being happy? Somehow the concept never before seemed possible. I has always assumed that I was too imperfect to ever be at a point where I could be happy and also be pleasing Him.
“Yes, Happy with a real joy beyond what the world portrays as happiness. A deep contentment and security in my love and goodness. You cannot have that in the midst of all this pain an your belief that I approve and sanction it all.”
“So all this is not pleasing to You? This was not the way you wanted me to feel, not what you wanted me to understand? This was not to be the fruit of my service?” My feelings pour painfully out as I hit the core of a deeply held belief.
“How could those things, the wounds, the pain, be the legitimate fruit of the good seed you have sown? No these are not your fruits. They are the weeds growing among the harvest. Your harvest has barely been touched. The painful wounds have stood in the way of gathering even a fraction of it.
“Child, I have wept and mourned with you over these things even when you had no tears left to cry. Every wound, each blow to your heart and spirit I have felt in myself. Even when you did not know and understand the damage, you just felt the dull throb of the wounds, I was there beside you, offering comfort that you did not know how to receive.
“Receive that now from Me. Let Me share in taking the pain from you and leave in its place the growth and strength that you have gained through it. I want you to grow past all this now, grow into more and greater things.”
“Yes, Papa, “ I whisper, my eyes misty with tears. I need time to process all He has just said. “I will, I will.”
I find myself still struggling with the idea that He is concerned with my happiness. I never really knew I was allowed or even supposed to be happy.
“You are thinking as a servant.” He explains. “The servant’s happiness is irrelevant to the master. You are more than a servant. You are my child and my friend.
I want you see you walk in a joy that will be your strength. Your strength has come from determination, from sheer stubbornness and your ability to set pain aside. You have come to a point where you are weary and what once was sufficient is no longer enough. My joy is to be your strength now. Let it replace that pain.”
A tear quietly slides down my cheek, followed by another and another. I am wary. My own strength is not enough to continue. I really do want what He offers.
“Come to the windows with Me.” He takes my hand to help me up and guides me to the tall windows. He stands behind me as I look out on the grove, the tree and the waterfall. Pulling me to Him, He wraps His arms around me. “This is your promise that you will not be disappointed. It is our place of meeting where we will always be reconciled.
I realize that in my fear of disappointment, the pain I already know is easier to hold than the fear of losing happiness. The pain of the disappointment is so great that I must avoid it at all costs.
“Expect abundance now, daughter.” His voice intrudes on my innermost thoughts.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see the coins in their place in the cabinet.
“You are fighting against it even now..” He continues.
I look down, surprised to find myself guarding against His embrace.
“You do not have to fight this any longer. I will not disappoint you or leave you or turn you away.”
I know I must make a choice at this moment, I must make a statement of faith, the feeling just do not conform. “I will not fight against this joy any longer. I will receive what you are trying to give me. Forgive me, Papa, for fighting you for so long.” I stop pushing His arms away and begin pulling them into me.
“The joy that I have to you is not a joy that resides in the things of the flesh. It is a deeper lasting strength, born of a confidence in my loving kindness. What I give you now is only a small portion of what I have for you. I give it to you now to strengthen you in going through those remaining boxes.”
I hear the pleasure in His voice as He explains this to me. The knots in my belly feel like they are being undone. As the ache within in is fading away a new strength and energy is taking its place. I find my thoughts freed to consider what there was not room or energy for before. “This is what you mean? This is what you want for me?” I ask, feeling a little weak in the release of the inner tension.
“Yes, little one,” He kisses the top of my head. “This and more. There will be room for more when you release to Me the pain you carry.”
He was right, I needed this because now I truly want to let it all go to Him. I can face going through the old hurts having tasted what He promises on the other side.
“Come then, let us begin again.”