Lead me on, lead me on
To a place where the river runs into Your keeping
Oh, Lead me on, lead me on
The awaited deliverance comforts the seeking
The first person I ever saw in concert was Amy Grant. Her voice has always sounded like home to me. Through years and seasons of life, my love for her song Lead Me On has only grown. Over time, learning, and experience, I have heard things with different ears. Recently on a drive with my kiddos, I turned it on and turned it up. The message had not changed since my last hearing but took a different root in my soul. The evils of human oppression and the ways we cry out in opposition for deliverance is a theme heard in history. The pages of life written in present days show the same evils only with new faces and their realities are sickening.
While I have not endured the types of abuse and death as those under the bonds of slavery the song describes, I do have a heart that has been liberated from bondage and feels drawn to pray for complete deliverance. So my heart echoes with the song~ Jesus, come quickly and right all the wrongs. And lead me on in this in-between time and place in my own soul.
I think of the passages in the Old Testament that describe Israel wandering through the dessert after their emancipation. They had just been freed from the multiple abuses of slavery. They had escaped an even greater workload under more difficult circumstances than they had previously been made to submit. They had just seen what it looks like to suffer when one is not on the side of Yaweh through the various plagues. They had just killed lambs and experienced being passed over from the angel of death in their households. The seas had been parted for them. The Egyptian army was buried under water before their eyes. God was providing springs from rocks and manna from the skies. Freedom was their song and yet what do they say?
They grumble and say they want to go back. Back to the suffering. Back to slavery. Back to the infanticide of baby boys. At least there was food there. I don't know all they were thinking, but as I look back at the Exodus through the eyes of a New Covenant believer, I imagine they were learning to trust Yaweh in a deeper way and His way is not only the best, but the only way to live.
I used to say, those stupid Israelites! What were they thinking? But as much as I would like to write myself out of every characterization of people in the Bible that were utter failures, the Holy Spirit shows me glimpses into my heart--- my own thoughts and actions--- that resemble those I would like to elevate myself above. While my country of origin is not Egypt and my ruler Pharaoh, the Bible does speak of the conditions I was found in before my own rescue.
I lived in the country that my own righteousness built where I was a slave to sin. It was a wasteland with crumbling structures made of failure and pride supported by parched earth where death reigned. There, lived reciprocation. Reciprocation for man's deeds apart from Christ under the law of God always results in death. And I was dead.
But God. Now, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have been set free. While my forever home is now the Kingdom of Light and there are more benefits there than I can even imagine, every day I remain here, I will have conversations between the already and the not yet. Here I am as Martin Luther said, "Simul Justus et Peccator" or simultaneously just and sinner.
When Paul addresses the desire to go back to law for justification in the church at Galatia, he admonishes,
For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. John 8:36