I have a fresh respect for allegory. If you’ve kept up with my posts recently, this comes as no surprise. Prompted by my appreciation for The Pilgrim’s Progress, I’ve thought about whether or not Isolated contains any allegorical elements.
The story as a whole is certainly not an allegory. But I can think of two individual (‘isolated’, if you will) allegories that play a small part within the whole.
If you’ve read Isolated and want to engage in some thought work on it, I hope you’ll enjoy this post. You won’t enjoy it if you haven’t read Isolated and don’t like spoilers, or if you don’t like picking apart and analyzing the experience of a book.
At one point in the story, our young protagonist is swept away in the current of a river.
Louise coughed, kicked and clawed some more. The water slipped through her fingers like soup through a sieve
–Excerpt from Isolated
Her groping and floundering last several grueling minutes before she is mercifully snagged by a tree which has fallen into the river.
She draped her hands over the wooden trunk and found branches. She rested her head on her shoulder and panted. For the next few minutes, she didn’t dare move. She savored the feeling of something strong and solid beneath her—an external body to lean on. This was rest. This was security.
-Excerpt from Isolated
Can’t the very same be said of God?
The devil and his servants would readily make an overpowering current of just about anything. Work. Relationships. Debt. Responsibilities. Sickness. Loss. Blogging. Theology.
What is the only solid, unshakable thing to which we cling? Every single time, it’s a Person. It’s God.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
This is a fairly commonly used verse and I think it has the potential to be misused. Yet there’s a promise for people who recognize that no one or nothing but God is that steadfast, unwavering anchor. It’s for people who cling to Him.
Consider other vocabulary the Bible uses:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
-Jesus speaking, Matthew 7:24
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
-1 Corinthians 3:11
Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
The imagery of God being our rock may seem vague and dull to ears that have grown up in the Church. But if I can, I want to convince you to consider the picture as for the first time. Consider it with a mind open to a sense of deep-rooted confidence in God.
Nothing else in the world can promise and deliver such a sure and resolved anchor amidst any current we may face.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
-Hebrews 6:19-20, emphasis mine
The bottom line: God is the sure and unshakeable anchor of those who cling to Him.
I’d love to hear from you
- Can you testify from personal experience to God being the immovable Rock?
- How might Isaiah 43:2 be used out of context?
- What might help us revive and preserve our appreciation for the Rock?