She sat with her back up against the wall, hugging her knees and rocking ever so slightly. Her eyes skimmed over the words in her book for the hundreth time. Her heart ached.
She was an idolater.
Such an ugly, antiquated, almost archaic word; she had always linked it in her mind with biblical times, with heathen priests crying out to stone and metal, slashing themselves with ceremonial knives, pouring out blood in worship.
She never would have thought it was possible.
She would have told you she loved her Jesus.
But the words on those pages probed deep into her heart and revealed the truth.
The words began to blur and the world began to spin. She viewed the trees, with Southern moss hanging down like feather boas, retro chic. The birds continued to chirp their melodies, little flits of brown and red dotting the sky like confetti.
She looked up, and she saw the veil being lifted, the curtain being momentarily pulled back. Where she sat was in her own temple, the place in her heart where she conducted private worship services to the gods she had placed on high pedastels, the sacred spot she had profaned by burning incense on the altars of false gods.
These gods had managed to go unnamed for so long that she didn't realize that every act of worship had erected the altars higher and higher, until she sat in their shadows. They were giants now, towering and mighty and sneering. They no longer wooed and flirted, they demanded sacrifice. They were drunk with power and wanted more, always more.
Money. Acceptance. Popularity. Materialism. Selfishness. Accomplishment.
Their statues were ornately decorated, yet the jewels and fine craftmanship and the precious gold overlay did nothing to hide the hideous, grotesque expressions on their lifeless faces.
She was flooded with despair. Her depression and anxiety and self-loathing threatened to overwhelm her. She longed to be free from her chains, which linked her to her idols, which held her captive.
And then, a greater shadow swallowed her up. As her eyes adjusted, she glimpsed His back. She felt a rush of exhilarated terror. And yet, in one huge act of courage, she begged Him to rescue her. She knew instinctively, from the deep, that He was the only one who could.
He began toppling the altars, smashing the idols one by one. With each blow, her heart became lighter, freer. He demolished every trace, and consumed them with His refining fire.
She bowed low.
When she heard His voice, she looked up, timidly. She saw His throne, high and lifted up, alone. His glory filled the temple of her heart.
He will have no other gods before Him.
He beckoned her to come, to serve, to live in His shadow, near to Him forever.
He gave her singleness of heart.
She now lives for an audience of one. She resides in the shelter of His wings, shadowed and sheltered. Close to His heart.
And now she asks, will you come to Him to be freed from your chains? She whispers to your heart, "Giants are in the land. But there is a greater shadow."