My soul is thirsty. And isn’t it true for so many things in life that it’s when you’re hungry and thirsty you start making compromises. That’s when you become weak and the temptations around you start looking like a more decent option than they would if you had fed yourself earlier. Temptations are always around, but now they feel like fortified walls of must do’s instead of a mist you can easily walk through. The fear of missing out starts kicking in, and logical thoughts start taking on a new form. The world is sneaking in, but the world isn’t there for you, it doesn’t have your back. It’s false promises and empty claims latch on and suckle the life out of you. Entertaining you for a moment just long enough to forget what you forewent to get that fleeting pleasure. Using truth laced lies to get from you what it will never replenish. Like an abortionist sucking a fetus from the mother’s womb, promising you a more comfortable, convenient life. But instead you’re consumed by guilt, shame, and regret leaving you not comfort or convenience in the least. You are full of the world but it doesn’t make you full. It’s a leach feeding off of you, a parasite using you.
You aren’t just hungry and thirsty. You are starving.
All that’s left of who you were is a skeleton; sunken and desperate to remember what it was like to be fleshy and vibrant. To remember walking in the freedom set before you, without chains entangling your feet. To remember being radiant with joy as you’d close your eyes and breathe in the rich love of a creator who cherished you. To remember the warm feeling of a father’s protective love.
Tired and weak, you curse the world for robbing you of anything tranquil; for draining your joy and peace, leaving you bankrupt. You tip your head back looking up toward the heavens and curse the god who let you get to this point. How could he just sit there and watch you waste away in misery? You squeeze your eyes shut and tense your whole body, allowing yourself to feel the rage that is coming from somewhere deeper than you’ve ever known. Tears start streaming down your face. You crumple to the floor, and the sobs take over. Struggling for a deep breath, you give into the dark sadness you feel lost within. You feel swallowed in depression. You pound the floor and scream! No one is around to hear you, but you scream anyways. Your frail body is so weary and fatigued you have no energy left to even hold yourself up. You lay on the ground, catching your breath. Thoughts of completely giving up flood your mind, what you wouldn’t give for a little bit of peace. Leaving this gloomy, selfish world seems like your only option. You shudder as the darkness around you seemingly reassures death as your only way out of this unbearable pain.
You close your eyes and slowly exhale.
You’re nervous and uncomfortable, but willing to go to the most extreme lengths to escape this unbearable agony. You stretch out on the cold tile floor in a symbol of surrender. If there were a god out there, now would be the time for him to say something. You lay in the silence, listening, only hearing the sound of your shallow breaths. You don’t hear anything. No soft voice, no comforting breeze. But you keep lying there. You lay there so long you give into your exhaustion and drift off to sleep.
Even in your dreams you cannot seem to escape the darkness. You’re running and running but the darkness never stops.
And then, in your dream, you hear something faint. You sop running and look around, trying to quiet your breath so you can hear better. There’s a long pause, and just as you’re about to start running again the voice comes for a second time.
I love you.
It’s so delicate you somewhat believe you are making voices up, even in your own dream. Besides, look at you. Who would love this shadow of who you once were; this decrepit, pathetic version of you? You have nothing. You are nothing. Who could love that?
Then, interrupting your thoughts, you hear it again.
I love you. I want to be with you. Come to me!
No. You don’t know what I’ve done. You don’t know how I’ve hurt people. You don’t know how I’ve hurt myself. I knew the things I was doing were wrong and I did them anyways. You don’t want to be with me.
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I was with you in the darkness. I know you. I know all of you. And I love you. Come to me!
I’ve gone too far. I’m too weak. I’ve done too much. You can’t love me.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
In your dream you look up and see a hand stretching out towards you. You try to step towards it, but you feel chafing around your ankles. Chains. You are still shackled to the weight of shame and guilt. You stare down at them, any hope you had dashed again. Then the voice comes back.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Give me your hand. I love you. Come to me.
You’re sure the hand is out of reach, but desperate for love you stretch out your own anyways. Miraculously, you feel the touch of the hand as it takes yours. Big and strong, it closes around your hand and all of a sudden there is a bright light all around you. You feel warmth coursing throughout your body. Parts of your soul you thought were long decayed spring to life! Chains are broken and you feel the weight of them slipping off. Weightless and hopeful, you laugh for the first time in what seems like forever! The soft voice is now a booming one, loud and powerful and full of authority.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
This time you don’t just hear the words, you embody them. They hold such truth in the love that you feel you can’t help but respond with rejoicing!
I am yours and you are mine, God! You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You are familiar with all my ways. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
At that moment you awaken from your dream. What you just experienced was indeed a dream—in your mind. But you know with a deep conviction the truth that it held in reality. You stand up. You still have remnants of physical weakness, but there is something drastically different.
If there is hope, expectant hope, there is also joy. You feel so full of joy it’s impossible to contain! It feels as though it is bubbling up within you, overflowing because you know the Good News! Your hope is based on eternity. It is based on what the Lord has already done for you and the love He has shown. You close your eyes and feel His presence! One day you will see him face to face and what else can you do but praise Him and thank Him and sing His praise! What, then, should you say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
You start walking forward. Each step, a step in freedom.