Deliverance is for those who will begin
"To begin, begin..." William Wordsworth
I used to mistakenly believe that deliverance would happen if/when I had enough faith and believed enough. In desperate moments of addiction and shame I would cry out to God with all of my being, "Deliver me!"
Yet, for all my heart-rending misery, for all my gut-wrenching faith, the heavens seemed ever frozen in watchful silence.
I would inevitably conclude that there was something wrong with me, with the quality of my faith, with my relationship with God. Even with God Himself.
For nearly two decades I labored under the misapprehension that deliverance was meant for other people. Better people. It certainly wasn't for me.
But that simply was not true.
Deliverance is for people who will begin.
To begin to walk down that dark, uncertain, narrow road for the promise of hope. Hope that rises like mountains on the distant horizon, beckoning us to venture out to see what lies beyond the snow-crowned peaks. To begin to make decisions day by day based on the Truth. The unchanging Truth found in the Word of God. To begin to fight, minute by minute. To begin to believe that it is just as much of a miracle when Jesus meets us in our moment of struggle and we choose Truth, as it would have been if we had gotten up from an altar instantaneously "delivered". To begin to be vulnerable, understanding that our deepest secrets cannot be used against us anymore because we have already exposed them to the light. Yes, we did those things. Yes, it was wrong. Yes, it caused pain. Yes, we are forgiven.
To begin to see that there are others walking on this path with us, fellow adventurers and wanderers, who understand this world is not our home. We are just passing through. As CS Lewis so beautifully wrote, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
To begin to see that we help each other, we bear one another's burdens, we revel in the exhilaration of the climb together. We breathe the sweeter air of freedom together.
To begin to look back.
Because, after walking for a little while, when we finally arrive at a vantage point where we are able look behind us, over the miles that stretch thorough the night, over the dark and winding road, we see that it wasn't so dark after all. It was filled with a thousand dim and glowing points of light where Jesus met us and walked with us.
Because He who began this good work in us will be faithful to complete it.
We can take that to the bank. Because the Holy Spirit is the deposit that the day is coming when the night will be rolled back and darkness will be swallowed by the coming dawn. And the deliverance that we knew was there all along, though we could not see it with our eyes, will be an unquenchable light of living radiance. We will see deliverance with our own eyes at last because we will see Him face to face.
Meanwhile, we wait. We look up. For nothing can separate of from love of God in Christ Jesus. Not addiction, not shame, not bingeing, not purging, not codependency, not fear, not failure, not abuse. Nothing.
We fix our gaze on the Author and Finisher of our faith. And we begin.
Deliverance is for those who will begin.
Recovery is for those who will begin!