“Do you want to be free?”
You stare at the person at the door through the steel bars.
“What kind of question is it?” you ask incredulously. “Of course I do!”
That was what you have been dreaming for years. To finally leave this dingy cell of misery, to see the sky not through the mesh on the tiny hole proudly called a window. Freedom! How can that person ask if I want to get out? Isn’t the answer painfully obvious?
You’re awakened from the thoughts by the sound of a key inserted into the keyhole. The door swings open.
“Do you want to be free?” the man at the door asks again.
“Yes!” you hear yourself answer before the impulse to speak fully formed in your mind.
“Then you’re free,” the man states simply, standing next to the door inviting you out.
You stare at the door. You glance at the tiny piece of blue sky in that window. Then back at the door and the man who stands there, a ghost of a smile on his serious face.
“I am free to go?” you ask, the voice barely audible from the surprise and unbelief.
Slowly getting up from the prison bunk bed, you start walking toward the door. “There has to be some trick to this! It cannot be so easy! You’re a prisoner! You cannot just leave!” your mind yells at you.
You debate whether to listen to the quiet voice of the man who just said that you are free or to obey the inner shouts.
Step by step you walk up to the door… and stop.
The weight of the past guilt washes over you like a tsunami. “I cannot leave! I was condemned, rightly condemned. I did many wrongs. I deserve to be in this prison cell!” You look down in desperation, wringing your arms.
The man looks at you, a look that contains half of the human emotions in it: love, joy, peace, sorrow, pain… “Yes. But I am setting you free. Do you want to be free?”
“I want to be free… but I cannot.”
“Just take a step.”
“I will take care of the rest,” the man says quietly yet the power and authority can be felt almost as if it is something tangible.
Finally with a big effort and still battling inside, you slowly raise one foot… put it down outside the door. Another step. You’re out. You are free.
I guess that the majority of people who will read this blog have already taken that step. A step of saying “Yes” to Jesus when He comes knocking on the door of our hearts.
Something that was on my mind for a while was that often, although we walked out of the prison cell, we remain in the prison, sitting with our back to the other side of the bars.
I am like that often. I forget that besides the fact that I got out of the cell, I have a life to live, not just sit there, lamenting over my actions and wallowing in guilt.
He has set me (and you) free. FREE!!!
As I stood along with other 6,500 students at the Passion Conference, singing praise to our God, I felt truly free. Yes, the guilt tried to come close, but I did not let it.
God and I sometimes have these arguments when I am trying to finally understand His love and why on earth under heaven He cares about me, such an imperfect being. Every time He reminds me that it is because He has created me.
Mom every so often tries to tell me that I am a part of her. I usually tell her that I am my own and have been such for 24 years now. She grins and says “You are still mine, a part of me.” Then I remember the arguments with God and think that this is probably how He feels. I may be seemingly separated from Him, yet I am a part of Him.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
Philippians 3:12-14, Message
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Philippians 3:13b, NLT
I want to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead. I want to be off and running and not turn back.
I’ve been reading this book, Prayer, by Philip Yancey. One of the ideas that really spoke to me was that when we struggle with our unworthiness in approaching God, something to keep in mind: if we would consider ourselves worthy of Him, then we would be in a much deeper trouble. So whenever that sneaky sleazy enemy tries to steal my time with God by making me think that He would not want me in the state I currently am, I remember that He wanted me before I even wanted Him. He died for me before I said “I love You.”
Have you left the prison?