When I was held captive by my sin, I lied to everyone I knew. I lied to my family and my closest friends, and even though I was doing it to myself, it was the loneliest time of my life. There was one area of my life where I couldn’t lie, and that was in my writing. I couldn’t fake it when it came to writing. I had friends and family who were perplexed by the change they saw in me. “Why aren’t you writing anymore? We miss your blog…When are you going to publish the book you wrote?”
Yesterday in therapy I realized the reason I could not lie in my writing is because it is a place where I commune with God. When I am writing I release myself completely to Him. Oftentimes, I have no idea what I am going to say until my fingers are moving across the keyboard. I may have an idea of the concept, but as we are there together the words fall from my hands. That’s a scary place to be when you are watching every word that falls from your lips.
The attempts I did make at writing felt so fake, it compounded my guilt. This morning, I found one of the posts that I wrote in December 2013, and reading it now I can hear that the Spirit was nudging me towards confession and repentance. Now, don’t applaud–I didn’t obey the Spirit and come forward to confess. I was a cowardly sinner who avoided the shame, humiliation and pain until it was out of my control.
But, as I read my writing, I can hear that I did have faith in the hope that Emmanuel was coming to save me. Sometimes the way He saves us is in the exact way we would like to avoid. We want him to swoop down like Superman and remove us from the storm where we are in exile, but instead God walks with us as we head straight into the gale-force winds. On the other side of the storm, even as we travel through the barren land, there is peace. And, eventually He will take us to the promised land.
I am Israel (originally posted December 2013)
“I am Israel,” my voice bounces off my windshield and echoes through the car. Hearing the sound of my own voice jolts me a little and my emotions rise.
Israel in pain, you turned your eyes from God and focused on other gods to soothe the ache.
I am You in my pain. The ache is deep.
Israel in pride, you walked down the path of rebellion and selfishness.
I am you in my pride. I struggle to submit to God ways.
Israel in captivity, in your rebellion you chose these chains, and now your choices weigh heavy.
I am you in my captivity. The thing that I relied on to ease my pain now pushes me down and towers over me.
The dashboard displays the blinker and the tap, tap, tapping gets louder with each beat until the beating of my heart grabs a hold of the mechanical rhythm.
Emmanuel has come.
Emmanuel has come to set us free.
The blinker heartbeat turns to a Christmas carol. I hear the words I’ve known for years as new. Emmanuel has come to set us free. I am Israel and Emmanuel has come to set me free.
Depression cannot hold me down
Fear cannot captivate my nights
Sin cannot control my impulses
Anxiety cannot leave me breathless
I am Israel and Emmanuel has come to set me free.
The traffic light changes. As I turn the steering wheel with one hand, I reach across and switch on the radio. The soft whisper of the song treads easily across my heart and fills my soul with hope.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.”