A long time ago, a guy named Moses was called by God...did a bunch of epic things and liberated the Israelites from captivity...leading them into the wilderness. And it seems like a page later, the Israelites were wanting to go back to Egypt. The place of captivity. Their wrists and ankles, freshly freed of shackles and all they could think about was that maybe they should return and put the shackles back on.
It's what they knew for so long. It was predictable. It was horrible and heavy. But there was security in knowing what the shackles would bring.
Chaia should be dead. 5 days to live in a hospital bed. She was 8 weeks old and fine. Then she was 8 weeks old and near death.
I watched my wife go through the excruciating heartache of not being able to hold her 3 month old baby girl for days because of all the tubes.
Her heart was compromised. 25 percent not functioning. The outlook was not good. But her heart function has doubled in the last year!
Then in trying to treat the disease, the meds caused a brittle bone disease and fractures happened all over her little body. She went from crawling to crawling weird to not crawling at all. The outlook was not good. But her bones bounced back and now she is walking and even running!
Then randomly, a pseudotumor in her head. putting pressure on her eyes. This remains unresolved right now.
A disease that kills most at birth and most of the rest by 6 months...and Chaia turns 3 in a month.
And sure there are issues. She doesn't eat. She is a walking pharmacy. Her heart is still compromised. But God is doing something in this story that is spectacular. She shouldn't be here. But she is. And she is hilarious. "You ready for a diaper change"---"No not today"...At the playground two weeks ago. On the slide with a bunch of kids and parents around, she stops in her tracks and says "Oh Chaia tooted out Chaia's butt" (Yes she refers to herself in the 3rd person...she's got a diva complex.)
She's obsessed with the playground...mainly the woodchips at the playground. She's obsessed with the Petstore...mainly Tucker the box turtle.
She is going to preschool in the fall. Are you freaking kidding me?!
There is so much joy to be had here.
But if I'm honest? I've been kinda stuck. We knew the shackles of Egypt...of suffering and pain and heartache and bad prognoses and unfortunate reports for so long that our default is to assume that even if the shackles are off today, they are going to be on again soon. A time of celebration and joy and happiness and fun and freedom is met with suspicion and fear and doubt and despair. When will the bottom fall out of this? When will the next round of heartache arise?
This expansive freedom and joy to be had and all I can think about is the shackles.
That's what captivity does.
It shows you a security and predictability that can be had. Sure it's horrible and heavy. But you know what the shackles bring.
You've been stuck in the dead end relationship, the same habitual imprisoning choices, the broken way of thinking, the self reliant, grace defiant life of shackles of so long. You may not like what you're becoming but at least you see control and predictability. Sure it's horrible and heavy. But you know the shackles. And if you don't squirm or resist too much, they aren't all that terribly uncomfortable.
The message for Israel.
The message for me.
The message for you.
It's time to put your freedom on.
You weren't made for shackles
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Sure there is risk in running into the expansive relief of liberty. Sure there is unknown in the unpredictable. Sure there is fear in being known more fully and knowing others more fully. But security in captivity is security in death.
It's time to put your freedom on.
To know that your past doesn't define you anymore. That your shame doesn't contain you anymore. That if Jesus has set you free, you are free indeed.
Joy and Love and Fun and Delight and Thanksgiving and Intimacy and Hope and Grace and Peace and Relief and healing.
They are one broken chain away.
Put your freedom on.