How happy are those whose strength comes from you,
who are eager to make the pilgrimage to Mount Zion.
As they pass through the dry valley of Baca,
it becomes a place of springs;
the autumn rain fills it with pools.
They grow stronger as they go;
they will see the King of Kings on Zion. Psalm 84:5-7
Weeping the Princess walked through the dry valley called ‘Baca’. She stumbled into the King’s presence, holding her latest performance review. Normally her reviews were good, but this one was just wrong.
“Watch your back” someone at work had warned her upon her return from Canberra. He had not been wrong. “Oh, Father” she sobbed as she told him of her troubles at work. “It is so unjust”. At first the King seemed a long way off. She drew near enough to hear Him speak the word ‘Ecclesiastes’. As she looked through the book, the only words that spoke to her were these;
If the axe is dull
And its edge unsharpened;
More strength is needed
But skill will bring success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10
“Compared to their skills, the axe is dull, its edge unsharpened. These people are better skilled, better trained, and more experienced. I have not been there for twenty years like they have. This is not a level playing field. I am working with all of my strength to compensate. If skill will bring success, help me develop it” she pleaded despairingly.
He leaned forward and comforted her. “Don’t fear them! It is I, even I, who comforts you. Who are you to fear their reproach? At the outset, you did not stand up to the workplace bullies and their culture when you needed to. You must believe in yourself, otherwise the dragons in the workplace will always seek to undermine you.” The King saw her pick up on the word dragon.
“No, this is not an attack by the dragon, at least not directly. It is about your character. I have allowed this struggle and bad time to befall you, for their bad performance review will not matter down the road, but mine does. The one I give you on the day you stand before me is the judgment you should worry about, and there are things I am not pleased with.”
“… and the Lord has sapped my strength
He has handed me over
To those I cannot withstand”. Lamentations 1:14
She drew a ragged breath, thinking things had been wrong for a long time, and had gotten even worse since she had returned from the land across the sea, especially at work. “What fault do you find in me?” she asked. “You have been walking in your own strength.” He said. “My strength?” she asked incredulously. “If the axe is dull, and I have not got the tools to sharpen it, then strength is the only thing I do have to get the job done! Forgive me for asking, but how is that bad?”
The King again spoke of the quarry, from which two rocks were cut. One rock she saw from a long way off. It had been transported for thousands of miles. The other rock she had grown up in the shadow of.
“Look to the rock from which you were cut
And to the quarry from which you were hewn;” Isaiah 51:1
The King told her; “The deaf and the blind were the rocks you were cut from. They did not ask for help, and nor do you. Strength became the attribute they wanted, the quality they desired, and the rock that formed their character. The difference is they had people by their side, where you had to go it alone. You had to rely on yourself, which led to independence and a lack of trust in others, including me. Learn to rely on me. Take my yoke, and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. I will lead you in true righteousness, which produces quietness and confidence.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:16-17
“You need to find faith; faith in me, faith in yourself, and faith in your fellow man.” The King led her back to the first rock and stopped her in front of it. A word had been left in German and English, for the children who would follow;
“Trust the Lord in your ways and free yourself of your troubles. Trust His fatherly care, before him nothing is too hard or too large that He cannot guide and lead you by the glory of His name to greater love and happiness. Of all the people and possessions, my Saviour is still nearest to me. The Lord sees into your heart.” – Anna Dassler, Carnarvon, 6 Jan 1932.
“Your Great-Great Grandmother was a woman who found strength in me” He said. This she asked of me;
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy….
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”
The words her Great-Great Grandmother had left on the rock were a comfort, but the King’s words goaded her. Tears stung her eyes. She had every reason for being strong; there was total justification for it. But if the King said it was wrong, she had better listen to Him. She did not want to flunk His performance review. The King stood against the rock, as His beautiful eyes held hers. The moment had come when she finally accepted she would have to unlearn everything she had ever been taught, even the ‘good things’.
She asked “To be strong, I must rely on you and others?” “He replied “I know for you it is a place of wounding, and you will feel you are putting yourself in harm’s way. But I am here. I am here in Deborah, Livia, Eve, and Don. I brought them to you, and I will bring others like them that you can trust.”
She replied “I am at the end of myself. You lead, and I will follow. I know that YOU would not give me the workplace bully as a mentor, or demand that I seek help from those who would use and undermine me for their own advantage. If you are in charge, then I am ready to trust those whom YOU bring me.”
His reply was a promise;
“In repentance and rest is your salvation
In quietness and trust is your strength” Isaiah 30:15
A message came from her friend Prince Jim in Florida, a man who knew the King, but not of her struggle.
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape... But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape... A strong woman isn't afraid of anything... But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear... A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her... But a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone... A strong woman walks sure footedly... But a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.... A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face... But a woman of strength wears grace... A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey... But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong!
The tune that the words were set to was “Turn, turn, turn“, by a group called the Byrds. The lyrics they used in the song came from the book of Ecclesiastes. “Turn, turn, turn” she heard as she picked up her staff and changed direction, the wind at her back.