Written by Emily Cook
Three years ago, if you had asked me what I thought of the title above, I would say that I knew it to be intellectually true, but I hadn’t given it much thought.
That was before my breaking point.
We were designed to love deeply, and to give glory to something greater than ourselves. But since the Fall (Genesis 3), nothing is as it should have been. We sought love apart from God, and we chose counterfeit glories to worship in His place. These are what we also refer to as “idols.”
An idol is “an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.” Before my breaking point, I was naïve about idols. It was an abstract concept I didn’t feel I could relate to and would never really struggle with. Since then, I’ve learned that we’re all worshipping something, and if it’s not God, it quickly becomes something or someone else.
Our tendency as humans is to latch onto something to worship, whether we realize it or not—but we serve a jealous God, and He will have us worship none but Him.
When my counterfeit god was removed from my life, it nearly broke me. I went into a tailspin of depression, anxiety and insecurity. The pain in my heart was so real I felt I would never escape it.
During this time, it was as if God allowed a shadow to pass, to give me a taste of what life could be like without Him, so that I would know I never wanted to be in that place again. My cries to Him were desperate, heartfelt and constant—but the miracle of God’s grace was that I was desperate for Him and Him alone; nothing else would satisfy me.
God was very near to me in that season, even if I didn’t know it at that point. No matter how much pain I felt, I had an unshakeable feeling that He was for me, that He was whispering to me to keep moving, keep seeking, keep softening my heart to His voice. He never left. He pursued me with a love so intense that at a certain point I had no choice but to recognize it.
For the first time in my life, I found myself relating to the prostitute in the book of Hosea. Hosea is told to make her his wife, even while knowing that she would not be faithful, thus mirroring the love God had for the unfaithful people of Israel. I was so struck by God’s response to Israel’s unfaithfulness: “Therefore, I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them, she will look for them but not find them… no one will take her out of my hands,” (Hosea 2:5-10).
We are so broken that it’s hard for us to know what’s best for us. So sometimes, like in this story, God can almost forcibly bring us back to Him, cutting off access to our idols, so we can clearly see who we really need. It was such a comfort to me, to know that God’s love is fierce for his children—fierce for me. He won’t let one slip through His hands (Matt 18:12-14).
Over the next two years, God inspired me to write over 50 songs, almost all around the theme that He is present and I am His beloved. It was only at the end of the season that I could see how clearly he was speaking to me through my writing, and it brought me to my knees. He was inspiring me to cry out, and in His great love, He also responded to my cry.
Now I’m sharing that music with others. I am blown away by the way God is using words written during my season of pain to encourage other believers to know the nearness of God in their lives and to pursue Him with their whole hearts. He has taken what was pain to me and made it into something beautiful for His kingdom.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinth 9:15).