OUCH! I tried to pry out the unevenly cut lid from the can of green beans and now blood gushed from my finger. The jagged wound required sutures and a tetanus booster injection. I was instructed to keep it clean and bandaged. However, two days later, I disregarded that advice while at a Church women’s retreat in the mountains. What happened that afternoon became a lesson in following God’s Voice; even when in the process, there is pain and fear.
Roaming along the woodsy path near the creek, I tearfully call out to God:
“Why do I bother coming to these retreats, Lord? It is lonely, and I have no friends to hang around with.”
“I am with you. You are never alone”
I know that in my head, but it seems impossible to experience it in my inner being. I go sit on a boulder next to the stream and gaze across the creek. I notice that there is a blockage of debris preventing the water from freely flowing. Green scum, the color of boiled spinach, floats on the surface where the stream does not move. I feel disgust at the trash polluting the purity of the water.
“Clear out the obstruction.”
“What?” I do not want to put my hand in the dirty water.
“Remove the rocks that are damming the course of the water”
“Like the obstruction in the creek, is the blockage you have in your inner being”
I do not want to do it, but I know better than to ignore God. Using my uninjured non-dominant hand, I start pulling out pieces of trash and sticks from the icy cold water. Brownish-green slimy stuff is dripping from my hand, and mud is getting in my shoes.
“Use both hands”
I tuck my hands under my arms. “But God, my finger! It will get infected if I put it in that disgusting water.”
“Use your hands and soul. These are the walls of your heart that are being removed. With each rock removed, name an emotion that is holding you back from Life In Me.”
I put in both hands. The chilly water shoots pains up my arms. “I am angry!” I yell out as I pick up a rock and forcefully throw it onto the ground. “I am jealous,” and a muddy rock is tossed with less force. “I hate me!” The rock is thrown with all my strength. Sweat drips into my eyes and my hands are numb from the cold water. I am finished; the stream is now free-flowing. I sit on the boulder and stare at the pile of rocks, drying in the sun.
“There is still one more barrier, but it is buried and you must go deep to pry it out.”
I know what He means, but I am so tired and my throat is parched. Wearily, I get up and try to dislodge the large stone but it doesn’t budge. “I can’t get it.” I whine as I sit back down on the rock.
“You need to get into the water”
Now that I am so hot, that sounds rather nice. I take off my shoes and socks and plop both feet into the swirling waters. It is cold, but feels so good. Bending over, I submerge my hands up to my elbows and dislodge the giant stone. Clear water dribbles onto my clothing. “I fear rejection” I gently place the stone onto the dry ground, next to the pile of rocks.
“Now build on alter to ME and allow Me to consume those fears”
The numbness brought on by the cold water is beginning to thaw and blood circulation painfully begins.
I pile the rocks on top of one another, name each emotion, and cry with fatigue and pain.
With a last look at my Holy Ground, I hike over to the bathroom and run hot soapy water over my hands. It really hurts.
“Lord, is this a touch of the pain you experienced for me?”
I feel so much freer now, as I head towards the cabin to get cleaned up.
That was several years ago and life drastically changed after the encounter with God. My finger healed without incident because of the Touch of God. My spirit has healed as a result of His tangible way of allowing me to touch and remove the infection within my soul. Like the old chorus proclaims: “I have a River of Life flowing out of me.”
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