Split Seas and Drowned Fears: ‘No Longer a Slave’ Paints a Most Powerful Imagery
Fear has a name. It isn’t the False-Evidence-Appearing-Real acronym we’ve accrued it to placate our palpitating hearts. Fear is what it is: fear. We hear this name in the anxieties that keep us awake many nights, the sobs that quake us over. Fear is the sound of broken dreams, the echo of uncertainties. And whether, in the end, it’s just an empty barrel making noise, we can’t deny this fact: the noise is real.
For one who’s easily distracted, it’s a miracle how this noisy barrel has held my attention these past months. Some days I wake up with gratitude, but only for surviving the previous day. Because I’m a creative who loses steam in noisy atmospheres, I’m amazed at how all the mental babble taunting my peace haven’t made a wreck of me. But I see fear: in the big decisions I’m too stunned to make, the sudden disinterest in my passions, dreams and some relationships. Fear yells a loud no to my frailest attempt at revisiting purpose. So I sit still, stuck in uncertainties; blind to what’s ahead of me.
This should make the headlines: Purpose-driven Singer/songwriter/blogger/writer wannabe suffers sudden attack of Myopia as her aspirations blur under the rays of uncertainties. The good news about this however, is how the myopia is refocusing my gaze on the things that matter most: on a God who’s beyond a thing, and his word that is real. Although the cacophony of fear drowns his voice sometimes, still, there’s never been a time he’s left me without a word. In the last one month, his words have been every line of Jonathan David and Melissa Helser’s “No Longer a Slave,” a song filled with powerful imageries that remind me of the potency of my sonship, and God’s overwhelming love.
The God Who Sings
You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
One of my favourite scriptures is Zephaniah 3:17 (TLB). It depicts God as a singer who breaks forth in a happy song with a voice that resounds like that of a joyous choir. And the reason behind all that excitement? Zephaniah says it’s because of the salvation of His people. So God gets giddy about the victory he’s bringing to his downtrodden, and pulls a mass choir on them all by himself with great harmony and vocal dexterity. The image of this bad-ass-singer-God is a frame hung on the walls of my subconscious. I find myself standing before that frame, listening for the voice of the Saviour, each time I hear the first verse of “No Longer a Slave”. There, I hear the Lord of hosts singing, making tuneful melodies that ascend over my fears in a crescendo.
From my mother’s womb you have chosen me
Love has called my name
Some days I feel like Jeremiah (1). Too small. Not qualified. The things God and men have called strength I see as weakness. I consider the weight of my assignment and the optimist in me wobbles. All around me are people who seem more deserving of my gift and calling, folks with pristine lifestyles and untainted virtues. I feel like disappearing into oblivion so the spotlight can shine on them. But God looks at me and is unfazed by my insecurities. The barrel of noise polluting the understanding of my essence doesn’t shake Him. God looks at me, and says, in spite of all, He has chosen me. And no matter the decibels of noise I’ve been exposed to, it isn’t fear that has called my name. It is Love. Love gave up Himself on a cross so that folks like me who feel messed up and underserving of grace can be born anew into God’s big family, washed by the precious blood of the Lamb (2)
The Father Who Coos
I am surrounded by the arms of the father
I am surrounded by songs of deliverance
We’ve been liberated from our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom
Of Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages,” Physical Touch is ‘perhaps’ my biggest love language. I am a hugger who’s trying to understand some people are content with just a handshake on a first date. I enjoy being tickled as well as tickling folks, except that the Lord of the sky seem to have saved all the world’s thunderbolts in the sensitive parts of single people like me. I embrace words of affirmation more when accompanied with a pat, a peck, a kiss on the head. Yeah guys, I’m mushy like that. So I’m perfectly in sync with this line of the bridge that talks about being wrapped in the arms of the father. This mushy child of the Almighty gets it!
Scriptures says to cast all cares on the Lord because he cares (3). I have learned to imagine the father sitting next to me, wrapping his hands round me while I rest my head on his shoulder. I won’t tell you all the anxieties suddenly disappear because I’m resting on his shoulder; but I’ll tell you this: the lord coos me. He whispers warmth and love down the crevice of my soul and discredits the credibility of my anxieties. Because He is a father, and I am his child, he doesn’t stop singing songs of deliverance over me. He sings and sings and sings till I understand the lyrics of my redemption and chant my freedom.
Split Seas and Drowned Fears
On their journey from years of bondage to freedom, the children of Israel faced their most despairing obstacle: The Red Sea. Behind them were over 600 Chariots with armed riders acting on the orders of a king in love with human captivity. They were perplexed, hopeless, and all the miracle they craved was a befitting land to bury their bodies, not that wilderness ready to host their carcasses on behalf of a ruthless army. But God had a better idea for a miracle. He split the sea, made a pathway for his people, and rolled back the waters over Pharaoh’s minions (4).
Today, God is still splitting seas and drowning obstacles. Jonathan David and Melissa Helser calls that same sea where fears are drowned, “perfect love”. It is a dual purpose sea: a pathway to freedom for all who’s been trapped in fear, and an end to the pangs of misery. As the lord coos me with his word daily, I am reminded that he doesn’t delight in my fears. He has made provision for whatsoever troubles me. It might look as though destructive chariots are advancing towards me to add another carcass to the wilderness’ statistics; but the Lord of hosts is before me, creating a pathway of deliverance.
This lead single of Bethel Music’s 7th live album, “We Will Not Be Shaken,” is a canvas of powerful imagery that quells fears. From the God who rejoices over me with singing, to the father who wraps me his embrace, and then the deliverer who isn’t intimated by my relentless enemies; I see that although my fears are valid, they aren’t meant to be my truth. “No Longer a Slave” draws me into that atmosphere where the discordance of fear bows to the rhythm of the Almighty. As I stay in His presence, listening to his voice, I’m familiarising myself again with who I am in spite of all. I am not a slave to fear. I am a child of God.
(1) Jeremiah 1:5-7
(2) Galatians 4:4-7
(3) 1 Peter 5:7
(4) Exodus 14:1-31
Kindly watch the video here.
Cover image copyright: @mphelser (Melissa Helser on Instagram).