The Fourth Thorn

As I mentioned in a previous post, God showed me that there were “thorns” in my heart that were symbolic of things that were done or said to me that I had neglected to deal with adequately at a previous time. These things had grown in to symbolic thorns that caused me continual pain and fed my system a constant stream of poison and infection. This is the story of the Fourth Thorn.

The morning after the Third Thorn came out, we were in church. The music was meeting us where we were, and I had to sit down at one point, putting my head on my hands to pray. The realization of where I had been and where I was now was almost too much for my mind to comprehend, and I sat in awe, amazement, and wonder at what God had done.

I realized at that moment that the Fourth Thorn was on the verge of coming out, but I also knew that this was neither the place nor the time for it. I couldn’t sit in the front row and sob and work this one out in public. So I asked God if He could help me remove this one at a time when I was alone and not at risk for looking like a blubbering fool.

God graciously granted my request, and the name of the Thorn which was on the tip of my brain disappeared from all recall. And it didn’t return for three days.

When it did, I was lying in bed and praying for my brother-in-law. I felt a deep connection to God and things in the spirit realm during this time, and God decided that the time was ripe to work on this Thorn. Its location was slightly to the left and down from the third Thorn, squarely in the left ventricle.

It was named Unforgiveness.

I didn’t think that was possible…I have always been quick to forgive. My motto has been “FIDO,” for Forget It, Drive On! Push past it. It doesn’t matter. Just make peace. Oh yeah, a good portion of my natural makeup is that of a peacemaker. So let’s see, non-confrontational overachiever who craves peace and will about anything to get and keep it.

Yep, that’s a recipe for unforgiveness. But not in the conventional understanding of the concept. I forgave the wrongs done to me, but I continued to hold the people who had wronged me at arm’s length. I continued to hold them accountable for the fact that they DID wrong me, not necessarily WHAT they did to wrong me. The “what” part of the equation was water under the bridge.

And so I started with my parents. And moved on to my sisters, my friends, my past boyfriends, my sexual assailant from an assault in college, my husband, my…God?

How is that even possible? To not forgive God?

It was that particular oxymoron that puzzled me the most. God is perfect, sinless, and all loving. He had never done anything to me that wounded me.

Ah, but He hadn’t prevented wounds and bad things from happening. And that is entirely within His ability. So at some level, I was holding God accountable for not preventing my abuse, my assault, my pain…my miscarriages.

The audacity of this realization was worse than the reality that I had been holding others accountable for things that I’d already forgiven. I had held God at arm’s length because I thought He should have prevented some wrongs in my life that He didn’t.

I confessed and released the people I had been holding in escrow, as it were, and in my spirit, I saw the thorn’s upper portion crumble away to dust. But there was still a small portion left in the wound, and I realized quickly that if left there, it would continue to grow and cause infection. I apologized to the Lord for the sheer audacity in holding Him to a standard that was unfair. He sees all, knows all, and is over all, and I only see a portion of the picture. So for me to judge Him based on my limited understanding was entirely wrong.

As He forgave me, I saw my own hands use a crowbar and pry out that last piece of thorn from my heart. It was the deepest piece, the small fragment that if left there, would have continued to poison my heart and life. The wound closed up quickly after that, and the scar tissue is tenderly growing and covering the spot.

If you had asked me about forgiveness prior to this experience, I would have told you that I simply didn’t struggle with it. But as I’ve already learned, denial and repression are powerful things that held me captive for far too much of my life. I’m grateful to be free of them, but also have to be on guard against letting them back in to my life. Even a believer with 20 years experience can fall prey to these things, as I discovered. I’m incredibly thankful for the prayers of those who are holding me up and helping me to expose the sin for what it is and root it out of my life. And so I’ll keep plugging along in this bit of Gardening, allowing the Master Gardener (that would be God, not Jerry Baker!) to show me what patch is next and how best to care for it.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 221310H Jul 2008 and is filed under Anger, Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Sexual Assault, Thorns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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