Then I got some good news through a Letter from an even better Friend.
Bad news first.
I found out that a dear friend is once again struggling with a crippling addiction...one we had hoped he had been delivered from....one he had stayed clean from for a long length of time...one he must defeat in order to live victoriously...a dangerous one.
This was discouraging news because I could sense from the e-mail that hope is tiny right now, defeat looms large. It's discouraging because by the time you've struggled with something so big for so long you begin to wonder if it's ever going to end. You wonder if you have what it takes. You wonder why it doesn't seem to get any easier.
But then I read the good news. Well, at first it may not seem like good news, but I know the end of the story. So it is good.
"Thus says the Lord God of Israel:
'Let My people go...'"
And Pharoah said,
"Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice
to let Israel go?
I do not know the Lord,
nor will I let Israel go."
"Let more work be laid on the men,
that they may labor in it,
and let them not regard false words."
(said Pharaoh to the taskmasters)
So Moses returned to the Lord and said,
"Lord, why have You brought trouble
on this people?
Why is it You have sent me?
For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name,
he has done evil to this people;
neither have You delivered
Your people at all."
Then the Lord said to Moses,
"Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.
For with a strong hand he will let them go,
and with a strong hand he will
drive them out of his land."
"Therefore say to the children of Israel:
'I am the Lord;
I will bring you out
from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
I will rescue you
from their bondage,
and I will redeem you
with an outstretched arm
and with great judgments.
I will take you as My people,
and I will be your God.
Then you shall know that I am
the Lord Your God
who brings you out from under
the burdens of the Egyptians.
Deliverance was no easy accomplishment for the people of Israel. They couldn't deliver themselves. Moses or Aaron couldn't deliver them. And Pharaoh wouldn't just let them go. In fact, the more Moses tried to convince Pharaoh to release them from their bondage, the tighter he held on and the worse life got for the captives.
It tends to be that way when we try to escape from our places of bondage too. Whether we're chained to the refrigerator, a bottle, an Internet site, a person, or a piece of plastic that fits so nicely into our wallet, it's not easy to get free.
In fact, we can't free ourselves. There is no person, book, self-help program, weekly meeting or clinic that can truly get us free either. Those things can do their part, just as Moses and Aaron did, but they can't sever the chains that bind us.
When God sets us free, it's usually when we've reached the bottom, cried out in desperation, stopped counting on anyone or anything else, and put down all our own devices. That's when He steps in and does something bigger (think Passover, packing up with the Egyptians' blessings and possessions, and high tailing it out of there!) than we'd ever expected. He amazes, astounds, and truly puts the enemy away (think drowning in the Red Sea). Then, when we're really free and we're looking back at the debris dumbfounded, we can't help but scratch our heads and acknowledge, "He is the Lord my God who brings me out from under the burdens of my captor" (think Exodus 6:7 above).
Bad news? If you're held captive by something, whatever that may be, it will not be easy to get out. (Please don't buy into the enemy's lies - that you're the only one who can't get out, that it's impossible to get out, that you're doomed.)
Good news? We have a big God who is faithful and able to bring us out of the most debilitating places of bondage. He will not give you up. Don't you give up either.
And so I'm not giving up on my friend. I'm praying for God to do a mighty work in his life. Would you please take just a moment to pray for him too? God knows who he is; he belongs to God. But he needs to be set free from his captor. Please pray for him and his family. Thanks so much sweet friend.