“There is one more thing,” He says, “Idolatry.” The word hangs heavily in the air, seeming to silence all other sound in the woods.
At this, all the strength leaves me and I collapse, limp across the branch of the tree. I cannot even continue to hold on to His arm. I cannot believe what I have heard. “How? When? What?” I stammer, unable to grasp what I have heard.
“Yourself.” Comes His awful answer.
Suddenly I can see it all clearly. I see how I have worshipped the image, the unacceptable, unlovable image of myself that I have created. I’d set myself up as my own idol, before God, all the while claiming He had rejected me!
“Oh, God!” I cry out, writhing with the gut wrenching truth. “Oh, God! I am so sorry! Forgive me! I have done the unthinkable—what I’d never though I’d do! I always believed I worshipped only you, but I haven’t! Forgive me! I’m so sorry.” For the first time I hear myself scream in pain. It was all too much!
He is done. I sink down to the ground, not even making it to that niche. There is no hiding from this. I weep uncontrollably. “Forgive me! Forgive me!” But even as I speak the words, I know there is more. “Take this idol from me!” In speaking it, I have to go back, to allow Him to continue in His correction. It seems so hard to get up. But this thing, this idol burns in me and I can not allow it to remain.
I slowly climb back up to the branch of the tree, taking hold of it for strength. There is none left in me. “Please, please, take this idol from me.”
He is there beside me. “Are you sure?” It seems as though it is important for me to choose this.
I nod. He begins, showing me the horror of the idol I created, the horror of having another god besides Him. I am horrified by committing the very thing I was sure I could not. The pain goes deeper than any I had ever known before. I can not contain it further. I scream out and scream again. "It hurts! It hurts!" I want to cry out "stop!" but know in His goodness He will not. It hurts! "Forgive me! Forgive me!"
The horror continues until my guts convulse and I can barely breathe. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Papa God! I'm sorry Papa God!" Over and over I cry out to Papa God. I'd never called Him that before.
Some time in the midst of my cries it is over. Yet I can not stop crying. I curl into a fetal position on the tree limb, hiding my face in pain and shame. "I'm sorry Papa God! Papa God, Papa God!"
He is there beside me then. He says nothing , but lifts me like a child in His arms. He holds me, my head tucked under His chin, close to His heart. I can hear His breath, feel the warmth of His presence. He holds me until I stopped crying.
Then He carries me to the stream near the water fall. He says, "I want you to know this time that I have forgiven you. I will wash you clean." He bathes me then, like a child, from my hair to my feet. His touch is peace, relief. He comes to the raw places and once again said, "Let me touch and heal these."
My heart cried yes, but I still can not. "I, I can't--not yet. I'm afraid to be seen."
He kisses the top of my head. "I'll wait." He gathers me in His arms again and carries me to a warm, light spot on the bank. He wraps me in His robe and sets me down beside Him. "Rest now." He instructs.
Resting against His side, in exhaustion, I sleep.