Is this what I think it is? I opened the cover to find out, forgetting the age-old rule: “When in doubt, the answer is yes.”
I was in the living space of a male relative at the time. I was helping him look for something that was possibly lost in a rather messy man cave. As I scanned the room, I spied the corner of a novel peeking out from under a pair of jeans. I picked it up, and almost threw it across the room.
The front photo was very suggestive. Just days before I had been searching for books on my new Kindle. I typed in the title of my favorite book, not even thinking about the fact that the word “romance” is in the title. The book covers displayed were pornographic themselves. I whipped down through the page, hoping to find the book I was intending to find. When all hope was lost, I quickly hit the Back button and thought, “Romance novels have come a long way since I first read them.”
Now, days later, I was pretty sure I was holding one of those evolved romance novels in my hand.
“It can’t be. He wouldn’t. I must be wrong.” I looked at the front again. Highly suggestive. There was a lot of skin. I didn’t know what to do, honestly. I couldn’t put it back, but what if I was wrong and confronted him on a half-truth and assumption? That wouldn’t go over well.
He wasn’t in the room, so I quickly tucked the book under my arm and stepped into a side room. I knew what I would be looking for. I am familiar enough to know where in the story the X-material occurs, if there is X material. I began to quickly scan starting at the back, skipping chunks of pages at a time, all the while hoping I was wrong. I hit page 271 and my stomach churned.
This wasn’t just any romance novel. This was a hardcore erotica novel. I wanted to throw up.
I tossed the book into a back corner of the room, completely unsure of what to do. I had so many thoughts whirling through my head. I wanted to confront him in love. I wanted to do this right. I wanted to rescue him, to let him know that this was killing him.
I wanted to go back and finish reading the story.
It was a horrible mixture of emotions. I quickly forgot wanting to confront him and began fighting an intense battle of the mind. I had read one paragraph, why on earth was it that big of a deal?
Thankfully, we had plans that would not permit the time it would take to read a 300 page novel, but throughout the day that one paragraph would replay over and over again in my mind. By the time we reached the house again, I had a couple hundred red flags and a few warning sirens going off in my head and heart. I was in a Danger Zone- no doubt about it.
Jessica, you idiot. You knew better! Why did you do that!?
Looking back now, it is so easy to see how Satan set me up. The seed had been planted days before when scrolling through my Kindle with the honest intention of finding a book. Had the dangers of having a Kindle crossed my mind? Oh Absolutely. So much so that the next morning, I debated about whether or not to take it back to the store. Still, that little encounter with the “new and improved erotica novels” set the stage for picking that book up off the floor.
I am sure, if I replayed the conversation that I had with my heart, the phrase, “It’s just a peek” or “I have to know if I’m right” would have come up. Unfortunately, as I would find out for the rest of that day, a peek isn’t simply a peek. A peek is like an alcoholic saying, “One more sip” or a nicotene addict saying “Just one little puff.”
Think of how small a key is in relationship to what it opens. It seems so tiny, right? A little key opens a big door. We just visited Mount Vernon and the Key to the Bastille prison hangs in George Washington’s residence. It’s a fairly impressive key, but when you think about how huge Bastille prison is, that key is tiny, and it’s all that stood between freedom and bondage.
A “Peek” is all that stands between freedom and bondage for us.
Think about it for a moment. Wrap your mind around the idea of ‘just a peek.’ You were a prisoner- trapped in a cold, dark, nasty prison of unfulfilled love. You were tortured by desire and abused by the enemy of your soul. Then Calvary delivers a crushing blow that sets the captives free.
You stand up and your shackles clatter to the ground. With weakened arms you press open the door to your cell and find it opens easily. With stiffened legs, you take your first steps toward freedom. Your eyes, so accustomed to darkness, squint as they adjust to the light. Your skin, once cold and damp now warms and your lungs draw in clean air, free of the staleness of death. With determination you cross the prison yard ignoring the jeers and cries of the prison keepers. As you approach the main gate, your pace quickens.
Could it really be? Could I actually be free?
Yes! Yes! You can be free. You cross the threshold, the prison of sin behind you, and gaze out on the beauty and light that is the victory won by Christ. As you breathe deeply drawing in the cleansing air, you take the nail-pierced hand of your Saviour and begin to walk with Him. Your legs are still stiff, and your mind still weak. Your wounds still bleed and your heart still fears. Yet, with your hand in His, there is peace, freedom, joy, and love.
“Wait a minute, Jesus,” you say, and you both stop. You turn around, looking now at the outside of the prison where you were once held. Curious, isn’t it?
Wonder what’s going on back in there.
You slip your hand out of His, and slowly walk back toward your prison. It’s just curiosity. Once you felt you were alone there, but now the cries of hundreds of prisoners fills your ears. In the noise your Saviour gently calls, “This way, my Child. I am over here.” Still, with head turned and senses heightened, you slowly approach the gate. “I’ll be right there, Jesus. Just one moment.”
You kneel down on the cold, hard ground and lean forward. There is a little hole in the door right in front of you. Just one quick glance. What’s the big deal? The smell of death again fills the air, and you quickly glance back to ensure He is still there, that He hasn’t moved on. He’ll have your back if anything happens. You’re sure of it.
You find your balance and lean forward, your calloused hands preparing to brace your weight. As your fingers touch the cold steel door, it cracks open. Well, that was easy.
You stand to your feet. Though you cannot see it now, you are certain on the other side of this door is pain, fear and torment. The cries of the imprisoned are muffled now. Maybe you had imagined them. In fact, by all intents and purposes, it actually looks fairly nice, from what you can see. Maybe things changed while you were gone. Maybe it isn’t as bad as it was. Maybe you should just check and see. If you’re wrong, it’s no big deal; you know the way out. The door opened so easily– it must be broken. Just once, and then you’ll never come back. Ever.
You turn and cast a glance toward your Saviour. His arms are outstretched, nail-pierced palms exposed. His eyes are full of sorrow and He raises His voice in a mournful, eerie cry. Tears run down His cheeks. “I made you. I love you. I chose you. I set you free, and when I set free, you are free indeed. Please, come to me.”
You breathe in. The scent of death still lingers…
The next step you take is yours.
That is what it means to peek.