Monday, June 24, 2013

The Blow

Hebrews 12:5-11 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

I doubled over in pain, clutching my stomach as if the air had been knocked out of my lungs. Then I surfaced, and the sobs broke over my body. Convulsions pulsed through me. I pulled myself tighter, shaking uncontrollably.            
Deep in my pain I sensed Him watching me. But my emotions pulled me powerfully back under. I lay there, curled up, drenching myself in my own tears, for what seemed forever.
            When the convulsions finally ceased, and my breathing slowed to its normal pace, I once again felt Him there. He was close to me, watching me. I continued to lay still, curled into my ball, hoping He would leave. 

            I watched her collapse.
            Her pain stabbed my heart. Every convulsion of loneliness, fear, pain, sadness was felt within my own soul.
            She might have drenched her face and hair in her tears, but my entire body was now soaked with my Heavenly tears. The rains, the lightening, the thunder crashed upon the earth because of her pain now—her pain that was surpassed only by my own.
            I kept watch over her as she lay. It took all my ambition to hold Myself back from running to her and picking her up in my arms. Oh, how I longed to cradle her to My chest and whisper that everything would be alright. Oh, how I longed to dry her tears and smother the angry convulsions that ravaged her small frame. But I restrained Myself in patience.
            Finally she stilled. I knew she could sense Me.
            I took a step toward her and reached out my hand to lovingly, reassuringly caress her. 

            He took a step toward me and reached out His hand to touch me.
            “Don’t touch me,” I shouted, recoiling away from Him.
            He looked baffled at my revulsion. Being omniscient, I would have thought that He would completely understand that He needed to leave me alone. I guess not.
            “Jaime?” He implored.
            “This is Your fault!” I snapped back.
            “Get away from me. I don’t want to talk with You.”
            “I HATE You!”
            Before God had even screamed my name, I had already pulled myself back into a tight ball—crying once more. I knew I didn’t hate Him. But I was angry. I was hurt. And it was His fault.
            The wave of powerful emotion passed. God had not zapped me. I could still feel Him standing beside me. I slowly ventured to peek up at Him. I was not prepared for the look of overwhelming Love in His eyes. I had almost wished to see anger; that I could have dealt with. But His Love made my outburst all the more shameful.
            “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
            “It’s okay, My sweetheart. I forgive you.” He reached out for me again. And although I said nothing this time, I still recoiled from Him. “Jaime,” He said flatly. No longer a question, but what appeared to be a demand.
            I ignored it. “Why did You do it?”
            “What do you mean?”
            I struggled against the anger rising within me again. Omniscient! “You know exactly what I mean.”
            “Jaime, listen to me—”
            “Answer me.”
            “Why did You—”
            My breath caught in my throat. I doubled over again. The sobs returned. As did the convulsions. I felt God’s arms encircle me. I was too overwhelmed to throw them off. The loneliness was too much. The pain was too much. Not only the pain of separation, but the pain of truth. I was hurting him!          

            I sat next to her, holding her.
I knew the truth would break her walls, but I had wanted to tell her gently—tell her in a way that would cause less pain. But she had been unwilling to listen—not only now, but weeks and months before. The pain could have been so much less—for them both—if only she had listened. But other sounds and other voices had congested her ears. I had spoken, but she had not heard.
So, now I sat by her, holding her. Fully knowing that I had torn her down . . . and yet eager to build her back. If only she would let me.

            I slowly allowed the truth to sink in. It hurt to do so, but I knew that to reject this would be to reject God, Himself.
            Eventually the sobs retreated, and I pondered what God had said.
            “Why didn’t You teach me how to not hurt him? I asked You to teach me how to love him. Why didn’t You do that?”
            “There was no space for me to do that, Jaime.”
            “What do You mean?”
            “Your life was too cluttered. There was too much going on internally and externally. You didn’t give me the room to work on it. Jaime, you didn’t even make room to work on your relationship with Me—let alone work on your relationship with him. You might have said the words, but you didn’t do the actions to accompany them.”
            By now I had diverted my eyes from God. I was staring at my hands in my lap.

            I knew I was pushing Jaime hard. She was exhausted by her emotions. But for once she was listening to me. I knew she was listening, even if she didn’t want to be.
            So I forged ahead. “Jaime, you don’t trust. You don’t trust anyone. You don’t trust Me. You don’t trust him. You don’t even trust your mother. The only person you trust is yourself! Which is irrational, Jaime. Do you realize how much you have hurt yourself?”
            She continued to stare downward.
            “Jaime, look at me.”
            She looked up. Her long, curved eyelashes clumped together with salty tears. I wanted to tell her how beautiful she is—even in her agony, but I knew now was not the time.
            “Jaime, why do you trust yourself when you have only led yourself to death?”
            Her upper eyelashes lowed, pulling a curtain over her pale, blue eyes.
            “I don’t know,” she whispered.
            As I stroked her chin, she opened her eyes again.
            “I realize you don’t know, Jaime,” I said, gently. “That is what we need to work on. Listen to the words of My Son: ‘Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.’ ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his sons asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’”

            I listened to God as He shared the words of Jesus. I knew these verses well. I was also well aware of how much I fell short of them. I continually harbor doubt in my heart—so when I do say things, they rarely happen. I don’t trust enough to ask, seek, or knock—so I just don’t attempt to do any of those, no matter how much I have tried to accept God as my own Father.
            I looked pitifully up at God. “I keep failing.”
            God smiled and He pulled me close. “This is not a test in school, Jaime. You cannot fail.
            “Yeah, but, I hurt—”
            “Yes, you hurt him, Jaime. But you did the right thing; you let him go—you gave Him back to me, so that I can heal and protect his heart.”
            I had no response for Him. I knew He was right. But it didn’t take away the longing.
I wanted to still be holding him in my own arms—not have him in God’s arms. But I knew that was selfish. After all, I was hurting him. My arms were not a safe place for him to be.
I looked at God and slowly nodded. “Okay,” I whispered.

            My heart leapt with Joy at Jaime’s quiet okay. I knew her emotions were still fighting—still crying out in agony from My discipline. But at least she was not allowing them to trample over her will. Her will was still intact enough to be submitted for alignment under My own. It was a beautiful moment of obedience. I doubted Jaime could feel any Joy in that moment. But I did.
            I stroked her hair. My daughter is growing up. Still holding her close, I gave her the next steps of obedience: “Now what you need to do is get up, run back to Me, and together we will try this again. Trust Me.”
            She stirred in my arms. I could sense her doubt rising. “But I don’t know if—”
            I stomped it back down. “Just trust Me.”

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