March 6, 2013


A not-so-silent night,
Broken by the steady crash of waves on an ever-restless sea, growing more fervent by the minute,
and the light clank of chains and manacles that grip the wrists, necks, and ankles of a ship full of living bodies crammed belowdecks.
The captain, asleep in his cabin, snores fiercely away, yet his many crew  members can- and will- keep an eye on the ship and the slaves, poking and prodding The Chained viciously as they continue to row the heavy craft into the night.
The ship itself is a huge double-masted, pot-bellied beast, lined about with cannons created for the sole purpose of destroying other vessels and herding their inhabitants across the waves.
The dense fog and high breaking waves that crash through the oar ports onto the slaves does nothing to quench their thirst or stamp out the overpowering stench of blood and sweat. On the contrary, it seems to only worsen it as those shackled to the oars cry out in agony, steam rising from their fevered backs, the skin being rubbed painfully away under their shackles, on their blistered hands, by the frigid salty water that courses over them. The crew members, hardly more than slaves themselves, stride down the rows, cruel smiles pasted across their ragged features creating a demonic picture of destruction as they flog, heedlessly, the bodies around them. The slaves continue in their endless rhythm of push-forward, pull-back...push forward, pull back...push forward, pull back...
They have been chained to these oars for as long as they can remember, and they have no hope of ever doing otherwise. 
They never imagine a life of freedom and comfort, for they have no notion of what either is.
They are chained, broken, to these splintered oars,
In this terrible ship,
On a perpetually stormy sea,
For a hopeless eternity.
I was on that ship.
I was chained,
And hopeless.
I purchased that position willingly with my sins.
I ran away from an infinitely loving Father to do so.
I deserved to be there. 
But I have been set free. 
My soul has been emancipated by the innocent,
Perfect Son of God who smuggled me out under cover of night.
He knew that to set me free, He had to sit in my place instead.
He chained Himself to my oar, and rowed in my place.
But those chains have been broken, and now He waits,
To set the other slaves on that ship free too.
He wants to set you free,
You who sat beside, behind, before me, chained to your own oar.
He wants to disengage you from the manacles and the misery of everything that ship is,
He wants you to call out His name through that small window through which you've always seen the world.
Take a moment and imagine what true freedom might feel and look like.
It looks like nail-pierced hands,
It feels like a burdened body, chained and forlorn, given peace at last.
Aren't you ready to be emancipated?
I am linking up with Emily Wierenga for Imperfect Prose.

4 comments: said...

Great piece of reading here, especially liked the part where you declare that you purchased your place willingly with you sins. Thanks for sharing this.


Jennifer Dougan said...


"You who sat behind, before me, manacled to your oar." Neat image.

Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over from Imperfect Prose's link up.

Jennifer Dougan

{4} simply living said...

wow, this is an awesome piece... so whenever you write your book let me know so I can buy it ;) i kid you not I loved the fiction you wrote in this, it made me want more, and I loved how you tied it with your own life.

visiting from ip

Lisa @ four simply living

Elizabeth @wynnegraceappears said...

Oh my Grace. The depth of His love and sacrifice. Ou write so poignantly ofi it here. So masterful. Visiting from Emily's. Thank you thank you for sharing your art, your gift your heart