For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins.
– Colossians 1: 13-14
Imagine a daring rescue under way. Yet, somehow, the one in captivity fights to be freed from the hero’s valiant attempts to save her. Resistant, she scrambles to break free from the champion’s grasp, clambering to return to the familiarity of the dungeon. Amazingly, she prefers the familiar darkness to the vast unknown. Even the most noble, brave and daring knight in shining armor requires the cooperation of the damsel in distress he tries to free.
Similarly, though the gloom of captivity had consumed the Israelites for 400 years under the oppression of the Egyptians, like a gallant warrior, God swept in to save his people. He did this with mighty miracles and a great show of power. Even so, the children of Israel wasted little time before complaining that the rescue was unwelcome.
Had they rested in the Lord’s embrace and trusted His leadership, the march to the land of Promise would have taken only eleven days. They chafed at His leadership, however, so it took forty years.
You may be tired of “wandering” around in your desert wilderness as well. All the diets, programs, prescriptions, and procedures over the years have felt like exercises in futility. What many of us have failed to realize is that the solution to which we have turned again and again is actually perpetuating the very thing we hoped to remedy. When we diet and restrict our foods we tend to fixate on the food that much more, thereby further chaining our hearts in bondage to food, eating, and a preoccupation with our bodies! This explains why diets don’t work permanently. It is like Israel going around in circles out in the desert.
The Lord offered the Israelites the amazing guidance of the pillars of cloud and fire, yet they refused to see the compassion, kindness, mercy and grace of His leading. Had they followed his leading, their wilderness wanderings would have ended much sooner.
Similarly, our King of Kings offers us an even more amazing provision today, inviting us to house the presence and power of His Holy Spirit within us so that we might reach our land of promise and realize all that He intends for us. If we would follow the leading, our wilderness wanderings would end, too.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
– 1 Corinthians 3:16
The Lord’s goal isn’t for us to be thin.
It is for us to be HIS.
When people start Thin Within, there is often a “honeymoon” phase. All seems so wonderful! But as time goes on, as God peels our hearts away from that which has actually bound us, we may long for the soothing familiarity of the very coping mechanisms that have been killing us. The sooner we cooperate with his rescue from the darkness of our obsessions, the sooner we can experience the joy and the freedom He offers us in the Kingdom of Light.
With the Israelites, God wasn’t after meaningless rituals, monotonous routines, and mechanical responses. He wanted adoration and obedience motivated by hearts of love devoted to Him.
In many ways God’s people said, “Thanks a lot for rescuing us, but we preferred oppression. At least we knew what we had back there in Egypt! The whippings weren’t so bad. Better than walking around in the desert!”
Certainly, from where we sit, this seems absurd. Yet so often we act as if the rescue our God intends for us requires too much of us. We, like ancient Israel, want the quick fix, the magic wand, the instant deliverance.
In fact, transformation requires perhaps the most challenging thing of all—that we are open to change, the willingness to let go of what has been—to press onward. Change is incredibly frightening for us. Even if that change promises new life.
How About You?
Do you feel like you are fighting his rescue his way? How so?
Are you willing to rest in his rescue now? If not, what is keeping you from trusting?
How are you like the ancient Israelites?
Take a moment and journal a prayer (or just say one) telling God about your intention to be willing to let go of the familiar, to welcome the new thing he wants to do in your life. 🙂