If we were given eyes to physically see the invisible bondage of humanity, I believe we would be horrified. We would undoubtedly be shocked to see the prison that our neighbors and loved ones inhabit, maybe even astounded to find shackles around our own wrists. We may be a society that boasts of our freedoms, but in reality very few walk freely among us.
Are you confused? Bear with me for a moment as I explain. You see, there are all sorts of prisons that a soul can inhabit while the body walks free. Some individuals are held fast by fear of the future, enslaved by what may be around the bend. They are forever building fortresses. Living by Google-searches, they prepare and stock-pile yet never feel it is enough, never reach the point of security or peace of mind. They stare wide-eyed into the night, unable to sleep, unable to let their minds rest. They live day after day, night after night, in a prison of fear.
Others are living lives in bondage to the past. Grief has become their oxygen. They are fixed like stone in the very act of looking back–to what was, to a beauty that is over. They refuse to embrace the present, to receive a new day with a new assignment and they commit themselves to a life locked up and to a heart frozen in time. Smiling is an insult; laughter, a betrayal. They live in the prison of sorrow.
Still more are held captive by the lure of happiness just beyond reach. They yearn for a satisfaction that will come once that next mountain is climbed and the next goal is achieved. Night after night they yearn… wait… crave. If you looked closely at the chains around their wrists you would see etched in bold lettering: “If only… Then happiness…” “If only I could have a baby… then I would be happy.” “If only I could reach graduation… then I would feel better.” The dream shifts from time to time, from person to person, but the characteristic frustration remains the same. Happiness is always beyond, never embraced.
Recognizing the Struggle
Do you begin to see what I mean? Listen for the clinking of chains in the next conversation you have with a friend. Listen for chafing and listen for weariness. Look closely into their face… into your own in the mirror. Is there peace? Is there freedom? Do you pillow your head at night, fully knowing the world to be what it is, fully knowing yourself to be what it is within it, yet able to breathe with a sense of calm? I am concerned that far too few–including those who ought to know this peace and freedom–truly know it. And we can know it.
You see, into this world–this humanity full of prisoners–came Jesus Christ Who declared boldly, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Into bondage, darkness and captivity came the Savior; and can I say it bluntly, He is not satisfied with His followers settling for a life of semi-freedom and quasi-peace even if you are. He calls His followers to a life of light, of peace, of freedom; not through liberating them from suffering or quelling all their earthly pain, but through truth.
Truth and Freedom From the Prison
“The truth,” He declared, “will set you free” (John 8:32). What truth is He speaking of? He left us in no doubt: “My Word,” He clarifies, “is truth” (John 17:17). His Word, the Bible, speaks to darkness, to the bondage, to the chains of life. It speaks of fear and it speaks of agonizing grief. It talks about ambition, dreams and striving. His Word was given to break prison bars and to lead followers in the path of peace.
Yet we so easily dismiss this. Our eyes glaze over and our hearts go mute with an “I know…” or “I’ve tried but…” And yet I struggle with this. My heart rebels. If our Savior tells us that freedom lies within His Word, the Bible, then why the complacency? Why the acceptance of a life of enslavement? You know but… You’ve tried but… are you really satisfied to live the remainder of your life in a manner less than what He has called you to? Does the darkness truly not frustrate you?
You Are Not Alone in Your Walk
I know there are complex issues as well as struggles that have been birthed out of a lifetime of hurt. The reality is that one meager post is not meant to transform your world. I only intend for it to make you dissatisfied with your world and I want to remind you there is more. I want to remind you of why Christ came. He came not to make your prison cell more comfortable, not to help you adjust your shackles, but to remove them.
If you’ve tried on your own to find liberty through the truth of God’s Word without success, can I encourage you to seek help? If you have made some progress only to hit a wall, or more frustrating still, to slip further into bondage, can I encourage you to take Truth’s hand once more and walk towards freedom? There are those who have spent their lives studying God’s Word and who are equipped at taking it and applying it to the chaos and complexity of life. You do not have to take on your prison alone, and you certainly don’t have to take it on empty-handed.
Freedom Through Hope
Our Rescuer is not a liar. He also does not play games. When He says His Word is the answer, His Word is the answer. Through the Bible, He reaches out with peace and freedom. As difficult, or even as impossible as it may seem to you at this moment, I beg you–dare to hope. Settle for nothing less than liberty. Pursue truth on your own or with a trained guide until every shackle is removed, every wall broken down. Believe Christ–set your heart on freedom.
For more information on how to get help in your quest for freedom take a moment to look into our “Find a Counselor” link. If you aren’t able to connect with someone in your area or have specific questions, we would love to help. Simply reach out directly here.