“Are you ready?” He gently asks.
I cannot speak, but nod as He takes my arm again. We seem to arrive all too quickly. But when I see the tree, my feet seem to freeze in place. "No—don’t make me walk there alone—please!” I can’t seem to make myself go, although I know I should. Firmly, He leads me by the arm, placing my hands against the lower branch for strength. I know I will need the support soon.
“This is what you asked for.” He reminds me kindly, showing me once again that He is not angry, that I am not in danger.
“I know” I whisper, but I dread what is coming. And He begins.
He opens my heart before me and shows me what I have never seen before. It is awful, unimagined, the very things I believed myself free of, I am guilty of. I who fear rejection, in my early infant judgment have become bound to it. I reject everyone, parents, sister, friends, struggling over children, husband, and even God himself. In my fear of Him rejecting me, I have convinced myself to hide from, to reject Him!
“Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” His correction is not gentle—it hurts at the deepest parts of my heart, my soul. I can only cry. “It hurts! It hurts! My God! I’m sorry, forgive me! I’m sorry I have rejected! It is my sin alone, mine alone!”
He is merciful, but not finished. He pauses to let me breathe a moment, but then begins again. He reveals to me my pride. In my very claims of humility, in fact, I have taken pride, pride in my uselessness, pride in being unlikable, pride in being unlovable! In the very claims of humility, I have built a monster of pride.
“Oh, God, I repent, I repent of my pride! Forgive me!” My gut is knotted and wrenched, aching with a wretchedness I have never known. “It hurts!” I whisper over and over again. I feel raw, the pain is so great. I struggle to stay in that place. I want to hide away in my little niche, but struggle to hold on.
He continues to reveal the vileness of my sin.
“Why do you not let me hold on! Stop, please, a moment!” I hear myself cry.
His voice is sharp now, closer to anger than I have heard before. “No, You are doing this in your own strength, you must not.”
My heart breaks. “Help me, help me stay here. I will not run today! Help me!” Suddenly He is there, offering me His arm to cling to as He continues. Weakly, I take His arm, relieved to draw from His strength. He continues.
The pride is truly awful. I cannot believe how much it hurts to see. It hurts! I want to scream, but hold it back. I never knew! “Forgive me, forgive me! I never knew how prideful I had become—forgive me for setting up myself, my ideas above Yours!” There is a pause and I breathe, wondering.