I have a great deal in common with Humpty Dumpty. Like Humpty, I just had a great fall. And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put me back together again. Part of me was broken into a million tiny pieces—and it was Mercy that orchestrated my breaking.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 ESV
I grew up hearing this verse (who didn’t?), and it was always quoted as a warning against being prideful. Fair enough, because there’s definitely an inherent warning there. But for the first time, I see the unrelenting love, the promise of deliverance as well. Because I’ve just had a big fall…and the destruction wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Part of the definition of “humiliate” is “to mortify.” And mortify? “To destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of…” Pride is not a gentle characteristic, to say the least. I have never successfully removed my own pride through simply choosing not to be proud or haughty. I’ve prayed many, many times for God to deliver me from my pride, to smash it and make me a humble woman. I don’t think that I previously connected my fall with that prayer, but I do now. The mortification of my pride is God answering my prayer for humility!
Pride is so natural to me, and so pervasive that I cannot always see it. That’s the gift of a fall – it’s hard to miss a great lump of pride once you’ve tripped over it and gone flying off a cliff, you know? With every divinely orchestrated humiliation, more of my pride is utterly destroyed – its strength, its vitality, its very ability to function. God loves me so much that He mortifies the intractable, entrenched pride everywhere He finds it, because pride always stands between me and God.
So as I said, I recently gave a spectacular shout-out to Humpty Dumpty with a terrifying fall. My pride did go before destruction, but the destruction was to save me. I had a standard that I was holding onto in pride, and I believed that this standard was not only right, but absolutely necessary for God to be pleased with me in any way. And when my complete and total failure to maintain that standard was utterly exposed, I felt the agony of humiliation and shame and fear. Part of me very much expected the world to end right then, and in a way, it did. I had put a face on God that didn’t belong to Him, and the world that was governed by the God-mask I built was destroyed.
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up…
Ecclesiastes 3:3 NKJV
That prideful delusion had to be broken into a million pieces, utterly destroyed. As long as it was in place, I couldn’t see God as He really is—I just kept seeing the mask I put over His face. My fall was orchestrated by His love. He wants me to know Him AS HE IS, and anything that stands in the way of that is fair game.