The Journey (Part 5)

Why is this journey so long?  Why haven’t we reached His kingdom yet?  I don’t know how much further I can walk.  Most of this journey,  I have felt like I am walking wounded.  Bruises and cuts, whether inflicted by myself or others, barely have time to heal before more hits are delivered.  I don’t have the strength to raise my shield in the attacks.  Instead, I keep taking hit after hit after hit; sometimes, I’m not even standing back up before I get hit again.

Battered and bruised I go to the King.  I ask questions, but rarely receive the answer I want to hear.  Instead, He gently holds me close; so close I can hear His heartbeat.  “I’m hurt, Father.  I don’t think I can continue.  If I get hit one more time, I might not get back up.”
“I know.  Every time you are hurt, I hurt too.  Every time you cry, My heart breaks.  But, this is the road you must travel.  This is the road which will strengthen your faith in My love for you.  This road will teach you to believe what I say is true of you, rather than the lies that are hurting you.”
“Why can’t you just whisk me away to your kingdom?”
“Because you have more to learn about My love for you and to understand about who I am.”
“But it is hard and I’m weary.”
“Come to Me when you are weary.  Draw your strength from Me.  Take what you need from Me.  When you cannot walk, I will carry you.  For now, lay your head down and rest.  I will watch over you.  You are safe.”

Crying, I lay my head on His chest and He wraps His arms around me.  I fall asleep listening to the sound of His heartbeat.


The Journey (Part 4)

“I knew this would happen.  I knew it was too good to be true.”  This is the thought going through my head.  I knew He wasn’t loving.  I knew He would leave me.

Today, I found myself in the darkest part of the forest.  Absolute darkness.  I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  Every time I tried to take a step, I tripped over a tree root or fell into a hole.  I cry out for the King, but hear nothing.  I reach out to take His hand but only feel empty space.  No longer do I hear the encouraging reminders of my traveling companions; instead, I am surrounded by the lies of the enemy and left alone in the battle.  I cannot face this dragon one more time; I don’t have the strength.  I thought the King would never leave me; maybe I was wrong.

Finally, I stop moving.  I sit on the ground, dejected.  I don’t want to cry.  Crying is a sign of weakness, and weakness exposes vulnerability.  Yet, I can hold it in no longer.  Tears stream down my face as I give in to my fears.  I wonder if the King has even noticed I’m missing.  Is He looking for me?  Or do I have to find my way back to Him?  Does He really care?  As the rain starts to come down, I scream at the storm.  I’m so scared of being alone that I feel as though my heart is being ripped from my chest.  The fear is a physical pain.  I scream louder as the thunder and lightning continue, releasing every pent up emotion.  After screaming so long I lose my voice, I sit back down, weary.  I do not understand.  Why would He leave me?

Eventually, I realize that I no longer feel the rain pouring down on me.  I look up to find the King covering me.  The storm hasn’t stopped raging, but He is there.  The fears rise again.  I pound my fists into His chest screaming, demanding to know where He was and why He left me alone in the darkness and the storm.  He doesn’t retaliate.  He doesn’t defend Himself against my blows or push me away.  He doesn’t become angry at me.  Instead, He gently wraps me in His arms, holding me until I stop fighting.  He whispers words of love and comfort to me.  He sits down, pulling me onto His lap, and gently rocks me.  This is what a loving Father does when His child is scared.

The Journey (Part 3)

As I continue to travel with the King, I am constantly caught off guard.  I expected that traveling with the King would protect me from attacks by the enemy.  Instead, the opposite seems to be true.  I repeatedly face assault from various sides.  And not in the way I expect.

The enemy doesn’t attack with swords or spears.   This enemy attacks with lies and doubts.  He sneaks into the camp and whispers to me that this King doesn’t really love me, doesn’t really want me in His kingdom.  He tells me that I was right in thinking I don’t belong with this King.  He reminds me of my scars and wounds, of the battles I have fought and continue to fight, telling me I am not a part of this royal family.   The enemy speaks louder and more often than the King, so it is harder to fight against him.  I ask myself, “what if he is right?”

Then, I notice something.  As we have traveled, it not simply me traveling with the King.  Our party has grown.  A great host has joined us; people who have known the King and traveled with Him for a long time.  As we walk, they tell me more about the King–His faithfulness, His love, how He cares for His people.  They tell me stories of how He has proven to be faithful and loving and true time and time again.  They remind me that He has chosen and accepted me to be part of His royal family.

The Journey (Part 2)

I awake the next morning feeling like the peace of the previous night had faded. I was fearful again, and watching for an opportunity to run as I donned my armor and weapons. I had to talk to Him, to explain why I couldn’t return with Him. Surely He, of all people, would understand that I didn’t belong in His kingdom. I do not belong among diamonds, crystals, pearls, and beauty. I belong where I am–among the dirty, muddy, and scarred.

As we travel, I try to convince Him I don’t belong. I tell him things I’ve experienced, battles I have fought and continue to fight, things I’ve done, all of which make me ill-suited for His kingdom. I am surprised by His response.

“I know,” He replies calmly.
“You know?” I ask, a mixture of fear, disbelief, and surprise in my voice.
“Yes. I knew all of that when I came looking for you. What’s more: I knew all of that before you ran away. I know you.”

Those last three words frighten me. I. Know. You. Does He realize this? Can He see my fear over the realization that He knows me? That level of knowledge implies a power over me. If He knows me, all of me, what will He do with this knowledge? How will He use it? Is He a King to be trusted with this power? Is He a good King? Am I safe?  Once again, the old fears come up; the dragon has not yet been slain.

The Journey (Part 1)

“Run!”  the voices tell me.  “Don’t think about anything else.  Just get away.  This isn’t safe.”

So, I run. Over hills, through forests, across rivers.  I trip over rocks but I keep going, unsure of my destination.  I don’t care where I end up as long as it is away from here.  All that matters i protecting myself.  I ignore the tree branches that slap me, the rocks that cut my feet. I don’t think about the cold or exhaustion or hunger until I am far enough away.  I stop to catch my breath and listen for sounds of pursuit.  He is still there, searching for me, calling my name.

I cannot go back with Him.  I don’t belong.  I am not the beautiful princess everyone thinks I am.  I am a dirty warrior, covered in mud, sweat, blood, and tears.  My hands are not soft; they wield a sword.  My eyes lost their innocent look long ago; they have seen too many dragons and battles.  My feet do not wear slippers or heels; they are rough, calloused, and dirty.  A perfect representation of my life.  A life spent battling dragons.  And yet, a girl is not supposed to wield a sword or fight dragons.  But, when there is no Prince Charming and the castle is under attack, what else can I do but learn to defend and protect myself?

I know why He is pursuing me, but I can’t do it.  I’ve already told Him so.  I can’t face this dragon; I don’t have the strength for this battle.  I can’t win.  Why can’t He leave this one alone?  Just let the dragon win.  Is it really worth the fight?

I place my hands on His chest and push away as hard as I can, yet I am still in His grasp.  He won’t let go.  I scream and kick and cry; He calmly holds me close. I beg and plead for Him to just let this be; let the dragon win.  Just this once; don’t make me fight this battle.  He pulls me closer and says He can’t do that.
“Why not?”  I ask through my tears.
“Because I love you too much to let you keep living this way,” He replies.
“You love me?”  I ask, not quite believing it.
“More than you realize,” He says.
“I can’t fight this dragon.  I can’t.  I’m not strong enough to defeat it.”
“I know.  But, you aren’t facing it alone.”
“I’m not?”
“No.  I will be with you.  And you will have others from among my soldiers fighting with you.  You are not alone.  I will be your strength and protection.  His flames may sting and burn, but they will not consume you.  You will not come away unscathed, but he will be defeated.”
“But, I’m weak and still recovering from recent battles.”
“Draw your strength from Me.  Eat of the Bread of Life, and drink of the Living Water I offer.  I will give you rest.”

I am beyond exhausted; I am weary.  I am tired, the deep inside kind of tired.  Tired of running, of fighting dragons, of defending my castle.  I long for someone, anyone, to take up the fight.  I honestly believe that the first man who comes along and defends and protects me would have my heart forever.

I tell Him of my weariness, tiredness, and longing.  He gently picks me up and cradles me in His arms.  He tells me I am safe and invites me to sleep in peace.  I close my eyes and lay my head on His shoulder.