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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Saturday, December 4

For when lawless people supposed that they held the holy nation in their power, they themselves lay as captives of darkness and prisoners of long night, shut in under their roofs, exiles from eternal providence.
—Wisdom 17:2

In the 1998 film The Truman Show, Jim Carrey plays a character caught in a web of illusion. Believing himself to be an insurance salesman with a real family and a real home, Truman Burbank has no clue that his “life” is actually a scripted television show, open for viewing by others 24 hours a day. It takes some time, but ultimately Truman learns that his perfect world is in reality the product of a television studio, his neighbors, friends, and family merely actors.

Hard as it is to imagine anyone being that naïve, there’s a bit of Truman Burbank in us all. Supposing ourselves to be in control, we become captives of our own delusional thoughts. We imagine that we are above the laws of both God and nature. We consider ourselves a “special case.” We fantasize that only good things will ever happen to us, that we’re immune to the troubles that plague more ordinary men and women.

Waking up to the truth is never easy and never fun. And yet, that is one of the things that Advent calls us to do. Like Lent, it is a penitential season insofar as it requires us to take an honest look at who and where we are. What is cluttering our lives? From what are we exiled? To what are we being held captive? For true liberation to come, we must first recognize our chains.

O God, deliver me from all that holds me captive, and fill my days with your freedom and your grace.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.