“Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.” Genesis 8:12 (ESV)
Familiarity of Captivity
Are you in an uncomfortable situation? Longing for something more? Are you held captive by your “what-ifs”? Sister, this happens to me all the time!
Just as my mind begins to marinate in all the possibilities of failure – cup of coffee in hand and a perfect view of the setting sun and corn field out the window – a lovely white bird flits by. Suddenly, my mind wanders to images of the dove that Noah released from the ark (Genesis 8:8-12).
God used that dove to let Noah know when it was safe to exit the ark.
I wonder. I’m not sure why, but I imagine the dove to be female and if she could have thoughts, what played through her mind? Would it have gone something like this…
“First, I find myself drawn into an ark. Yes, I am with my mate and there is some flying space, but I am confined – in captivity. Is this good?
“I have learned that these humans feed me! A certain comfort in the familiarity of my captivity now rests in me. I no longer wrestle with living in this place. There are many places to soar and explore. The memory of freedom becomes distant and I am secure in this place. I am not free, but I think I’m free enough.
“I am comfortable. It is good.
“Then one day the man takes me to an opening in this thing I have come to call home. Wait! What are you doing? He is going to send me out – I’m not ready! He sends me anyway. I’m uncomfortable and scared. But the wind brings a curious knowing, so I search. I don’t know what I’m looking for so I return to what I have come to know – captivity.
“It’s comfortable there. The man put out his hand and took me and brought me back in. It is good.
“About a week has passed and here we go again – he is sending me out once more. Doesn’t he know that I couldn’t find what I was looking for before? He sends me anyway and I fly. This time the winds are more familiar; the light sparkles on the waters; and I find something. It’s green. I land there, but don’t know what to do with this “new” thing. So, I return to what I know – captivity.
“It’s comfortable there. The man is excited for my find. He takes me in. Is it good?
“It’s different for me now. I remember that I can be free. Will I get another chance? Could there be more for me than the certainty of this place?
“Yes! He is sending me out again. I have another chance. The winds carry me, and I know this light that surrounds me. It is freedom. I am no longer in captivity and I pursue the freedom for which I was made. I will not return to him anymore.”
Remembrance of Freedom
And there it is. Just like the dove, I have in times past found comfort in the captivity of my “what-ifs”. Liking the familiarity of that which constrains me. Settling for a false sense of security instead of the surety of my salvation.
But God was pursuing us long before we thought of him. Like David, I delight in knowing that His “eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
What relief there is to be had when we truly understand that there is nothing that we can do to earn His approval. Paul writes in Romans 3:22-24 that the righteousness of God is available through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe – that all have sinned. All fall short. But all are justified by his grace as a gift.
Let’s let that sink in – a gift. We need only to trust Jesus. We honor God as we live to glorify Him.
My friends, do not be afraid of this new thing! Jeremiah 29:11-14 tells us that He already knows and loves us. That He has a plan for us and that it prospers us as we exalt Him. It may well be that the wresting in our souls is caused by the familiarity of the “what-ifs” that hold us captive. But know this: He will always take you in. It is very good!
What is the familiarity that holds you captive?
How does the truth of God’s Word free you from the “what-ifs” of uncertainty?
How does holding Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – accepting His unconditional love – give you freedom to step outside of familiarity and into His promise for you?
Did you enjoy this blog? You may also like Yoke: Bondage of Liberation