My dreams are strange once again and I awake uneasy and disturbed. “Papa?” I ask uncertain what is happening now.
“You heart is anxious.” He declares, showing me He understands even what I do not tell Him.
“Yes, Papa, why?”
“You sense there is change coming. And there is. I want you to establish a new memorial stone here in this place.” He explains carefully.
I understand my growing anxiety now. Taking a deep breath, I ask, “What must I do Papa?” My emotions are mixed. I know what He requires of me is always good, but it is often so difficult. I was not prepared for this.
“This memorial stone is a surrender, a surrender of independence.”
My mind races now. I do not understand, but yet I do t the same time. I have always been fiercely independent. That has been how I have gotten through much of what I have dealt with in life. I am terrified of what will be if I have to give this up—what is He asking of me? I begin pacing before Him. “Papa, I don’t understand. I will obey. Please, tell me what do I need to do?”
I can’t stop pacing nor the racing thoughts in my mind. I just cannot see what He wants. I think too, I am deeply afraid to even look there, it seems to much to bear. He does not reply. Finally I have to ask, “Does this require your correction for me to see it?” A knot of dread fills my gut. This does not seem to be a place of correction though. I am so confused!
“No daughter.” He finally speaks. “This is not something that you have done wrong. “ I hear more than feel myself begin to breathe again. “No child,, “He reaches out to me, touching my shoulder, stopping my pacing. “You have not disobeyed Me. I have made you the way that you are. I gave you that independence, it is part of your gift, part of what allows you to do what I have called you to do: to think for yourself and to stand and teach what is difficult and even painful and to do it in strength.
“No, I do not wish to take that from you. I do not ask you to change that, to become something or someone that you are now.” He pauses for a moment. “I am asking you to submit it to Me in this place of worship.”
Part of me is relieved, but I am no less confused that before. But still I long to obey whatever He asks. “I will do what you ask, Papa. Tell me what to do.”
“This will be a sacrifice. You must build an altar.” He explains.
“I don’t know how.”
He does not answer immediately, but seems to look around for a moment. His gaze settles on a large flat rock just a few steps behind me. “Take that rock and bring it here.” He directs.
The rock is large, half as tall as I am and about as wide as my shoulders. I am certain that it is heavy as well. How can I move it? It must weigh as much as I do, at least, even more! But I know He would not ask of me something I cannot do. So, I walk over to the rock.
The stone is rough, like unfinished limestone but not sharp. I pull at it and find it is more than my arms alone can lift. But I know that I can lift much more with my legs. Perhaps I can get my shoulders under it and lift it that way.
I tip it up onto my shoulders and push it up off the ground. The walking is difficult, but I manage to get it the few steps to Him. Carefully, I set it down before Him. He nods at me as I try and catch my breath from the effort.
“It is not complete. The altar must have horns.” He explains indicating the shape He wants it to take.
Not knowing what else to do, I find a stone and chip away at the edges of the stone altar to make it conform to His design. The blows of stone on stone jar my hands and arms. They ache with effort. My legs still quiver from the effort of moving the stone. If preparing is like this, I fear what the sacrifice will be like.
His voice jostles me out of my thoughts. “The altar must have fire.” He hands me the lantern holding glowing coals. I have nothing to transfer the coals with. Still hoping that I am doing right I open the lantern and spill out the coals on to the stone altar. I am surprised to see them glowing brightly, then suddenly burst into flame.
“What do I put on this altar?” I finally ask, not sure if I have thought it or said it aloud.
“You will know.” He replies reassuringly. “Just worship Me.”