from Deep unto Deep
“…I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you” (Zechariah 9:11-12).
Seasons of divine silence are the prison sentences that He gives us to pass through while in the boundaries of time. They are noiseless times of stillness that God brings us through not for punishment but for refinement of our faith, hope and love. He imprisons us within “waterless pits.” These are the kind of depths that keep the prisoner deep in their yawn, yet still with the hope of deliverance. They are too dry to drown us and yet too deep to easily escape. Though God gives them permission to hold us for a time, they are not allowed to kill us, and this hope of deliverance keeps us alive throughout the duration of our sentence. We are alive and well even in the deep of this designated darkness. The Lord’s message to us in these times is that He Himself will set us free from the waterless pit in His perfect timing. He calls us a “prisoner of hope” as we wait for Him, because our one hope within this cell is anchored in Him: that He would come and show Himself as our Deliverer.
One of the scariest things about these prisons is that only one Person knows where we are. We are tied up and helpless in the depth of a pit, and only one Man knows our exact location. Though we may try a thousand times, we cannot explain its darkness to others. Though we yearn to leave our loneliness, no man is aloud to find us here and deliver us. There are no visiting hours. We’re not allowed the comfort of company in these prisons, for they are reserved for God and soul. Though we try to let others in, most always, our prison walls keep us from the ability to bring them in through words or descriptions. Though we cry out, our voice is quickly swallowed by the silencing shadows. Only one Man knows where we are. One Person has led us here, and He alone can free us once again. He alone knows the pit in which we are held captive, and His voice alone will break open the doorway of freedom. Salvation belongs to the Lord (Psalm 3:8), and He is jealous to be the One who deliverers it to our door.
Our comfort in these times rests solely in our knowledge of God’s heart. Yes, He is the only One who knows our whereabouts, yet He Himself is also the supreme Deliverer of all time, and surely He will come and deliver His chosen one. He will not leave us here. He will come for us. All of His ways are love, and therefore, we are confident that He has not brought us here for punishment or neglect but only for greater love. When the Lord gives the invitation of suffering and endurance, the end intended by Him is that we would enter into the depths of His compassion and mercy (James 5:10-11).We have asked Him to deepen our love and take us into the fullness of all He would give the human heart, and these prison sentences are part of His answer. They are God’s agents to produce the love and agreement that we ourselves have longed for. He will surely deliver us the very moment Love’s longsuffering has had its full way within us. The only One who knows our whereabouts will not leave us nor forsake us. He will come, just like He promised. He will answer our hope with deliverance.
…But hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:24-25).
We hope in what we cannot see, and our faith is the proof that what is unseen is truly real. The hope within us is Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). It is an ever-abiding reality, anchoring our soul to eternity. We would be like waves tossed to and fro by the sea, if we were not forever fastened to the God unseen.
Jesus has brought Himself to the low place of earth by setting eternity in the hearts of men, and He has brought weak human beings such as ourselves to the highest place by making a way for us to be seated with Him in heavenly places. The One who is our Mediator, who ascended before us, passed through the heavens and took His seat at the right hand of the Father. Fully God. Fully Man. He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne (Revelation 5:6). Who can fathom the possibility that the One who is seated upon the throne is one like us, a MAN? And yet, He is also the God of the whole earth. He is the God-Man Jesus Christ. He is the One who is ever interceding for us and bringing us forth in this journey of wholehearted love. After His ascension, when He took His place at the right hand of the Father, He sent forth His Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
We are prisoners of hope. In this prison, we are kept alive because of a living hope. Everyday we search our horizon for any sign of the Beloved. Yes, there are days when that hope wears bright eyes and a smile, but most days it wears a gnawing ache and many tears. Still, it always keeps our hearts alive—ever rattling at the door, ever crying out for deliverance. Hope is our companion. Hope is our friend. Hope is what keeps our hearts alive.