The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt -- a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
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Slavery is a burdensome way. The Israelites in Egypt knew it all too well. Enslaved by the Egyptians for generations, they bore the weight of the physical burdens, the emotional burdens—they bore the weight of the spiritual burdens. Though God was with them—holding their hands through the uncertain journey to freedom—once free, they still returned to the familiarity of their spiritual slavery. They worshipped false gods; that which was comfortable without lasting freedom. An arrangement that allowed them to only sacrifice what they were already willing to give up. An arrangement which distracted and detracted from the freedom of offering it all to the One who gives it all.
I too, often return to the familiarity of my own spiritual slavery. In my habitual desire for comfort, I join hands with independence; with old habits. I join hands with regret. And this is where I found myself this week. The weight I bore on my own became too heavy to drag around with me anymore.
He encourages me: The days are coming. The new days. The better days. And yet I can’t help but wonder how many days until then. Some days drag on in the darkness. They are heavy, and I can’t pick them up. I’m just not strong enough.
Obedient, nonetheless, to my time with Him, I sat in silence and invited Him in. I felt the weight of all I had been carrying, as though bags of sand had been draped over my neck. I felt my solitude. I could taste the darkness.
And then I heard soft footsteps, and felt the presence of my son take up the space beside me as I sat frozen in prayer, eyes closed, hands open and empty on my lap. Empty—until a smaller, warmer hand folded itself into mine. And somehow, the added weight of his hand relinquished the beasts of burden from my shoulders, and my heart and mind were released from their chains.
I perceived God saying to me, “You are never alone—you have never been alone. I have always been with you, and I will always be with you.”
“Come to me.”
As He did in His journey with the Israelites, He tries again and again to reach me—deeper this time.
Writing Himself into the fabric of my being.
Sending my own son to personify His Son.
Our God is a tender, loving, faithful spouse. Just as my son espoused me to His love in a simple gesture of unity, so God espouses us to His Son by the whispers of His Spirit in the everyday (and sometimes unexpected) movements of Love in our lives. His voice unburdens us. His mercy breaks the heaviest chain. And He will always reveal Himself when we ask. We just need to open our hands.