Today my dad was released from jail. For the past five months he has been serving time for charges resulting from alcohol abuse. He has seen few glimpses of daylight since October, bound by the consequences of his choices-- and concrete walls. I glanced at the clock this morning, only an hour passed since he was dismissed from the Polk County Jail. I imagined him walking out of the jailhouse doors, closing his eyes, and tilting his face toward the sky, basking in new found freedom. No sooner than I finished this thought did I hear these words on the radio:
Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed
Can you imagine him choosing to stay in jail after being granted freedom? Walking back in and saying, "I choose to live a sub par life, eat cheap starchy food, and sleep on a cot in a four walled cell for the rest of my life. Freedom is mine, but I'll take this instead." No way! And yet we as Believers make said choice when we live in condemnation or continue to enslave ourselves to the desires of the flesh. To accept shackles and bondage, and failure as a way of life.
I am getting ready to start a Bible study with some ladies from church- Beth Moore's well known study, Breaking Free. Timing happenstance? I think not. It's totally like God to orchestrate such an effective illustration and invitation, really, of what He desires for me. I don't have a taboo stronghold...I'm thankfully not an addict; I don't habitually lie, cheat, or steal. I do, however, struggle with other things, like respecting my husband, promoting peace in my home, etc. I continually and daily need His grace. It is my prayer that over the course of this study He would reveal to me areas of perpetual struggle, such as these, where I am not walking in His freedom. The jailhouse doors are open, and I do not want to remain an inmate!
God, thank you for this picture! Your love for me is amazing. I am utterly overwhelmed that you would be mindful of me, have even a simple thought of me, let alone, come to earth in the flesh, die a gruesome death to pay my sin debt, and free me from eternal death! You walked up to my cell, called me by name, unlocked the chains that bound me, and set me free. As if that is not enough, you have committed yourself to sanctifying me so I can be more like your Son. Wow.
Originally published January 22, 2013.
I've know Emily since the 5th grade and ours is a relationship that has weathered much. She is a wife and mommy, figuring things out along the way and loving every minute of the journey. She loves teaching and learning- one equally as much as the other. She's been upended by God's grace and aim for her crazy and abundant life to be wholly His! She blogs here.