The other night after a Leadership Team Meeting, I was ripping home late in my Toyota Echo, praying through my fatigue and eating a pumpkin scone without any water to wash it down with. Delicious… and without water, a tad bit dry.

Well, I was about a third of the way home when the whole gooey mess got stuck somewhere down my esophagus, too far down to choke on, but too far down to deal with. And I mean STUCK. As my last few bites slid down the tube, adding to the jam, the pressure began to build. And then the pain. And panic. And nausea. And more pain.

This has happened before. Something to do with a digestive problem that damages the upper part of my esophagus so that parastalsis doesn’t work properly (the rhythmic rippling motion that your body uses to pull food into your stomach). I call home, desperate for prayer. No answer (way past bedtime). I’m on my own.

What do I do?

Eventually, I pulled over, succumbing to the pain, bent over, and wretched into the fall grasses. Which relieved most of the pressure. But it was scary.

Fast forward a couple of days. Remember how last week, I was feeling numb, flatlined, dead? Yeah, not anymore. This week my emotions have swamped me like a little boat on a big lake on stormy steroids. Sadness. Heaviness. Fatigue. Apathy. An overwhelmed feeling. Anxiety. Not like me at all. Yesterday, I thumped bottom, hard (I hope it was bottom). What’s going on?

Remember the choking incident? I sense God asking. Getting unstuck can be painful. A lot has been going on, too much to swallow. It built up. Hence my flatlining. But getting the logjam loose hurt, badly. When a dam breaks, the initial surge of pent up water feels dangerous, out of control. It has to. But if the ‘pop’ does its work, before long the water is flowing along at a normal clip.

Parallels. God uses them often in scripture. “See what’s happening to that fig tree? It’s like Israel.” “Marry a prostitute, Hosea. Now you know how I feel with my people.” There are hundreds of these.

Now, I’m not sure whether God just allows some of these parallels or actually causes a few of them (I’d be okay with either option), but I do know that he often points them out, if we’re attentive to his voice, and draws parallels with spiritual stuff going on in our lives, and that those insights are often worth their weight in gold.