Monday, April 14, 2014

Prisoners of War

"I only have 2 more weeks to go," Jill told me. "Prison has been the best thing that ever happened to me, but I can't wait to go home."

We pray to be spared hardships and trouble. We want abundance and freedom, not brokenness and prison.

I have an imaginary prison cell in my mind. Jesus paid my ransom and opened wide the steel door. I am free to leave my prison cell.

I can remember what it was like to be in bondage to the evil one, to believe his lies and accusations. My chains are gone and I am free, but it doesn't mean I'll never face pain and brokenness again. My freedom does not spare me from hardship or being taken captive by the evil one.

Job didn't sit in a prison of grief and loss because he was sinful or because God was harsh.

Prisoners of war suffer even though they are trained, courageous soldiers.

"I just want to go home," Jill continued. "I'm so tired of living with joy in the storm, being free inside these prison walls."

In a prison, locked into the ugliness, the weakness, pain and brokenness can be overwhelming. Held captive, the taunts and accusations of the evil one shatter hope and manipulate thoughts.

We all find ourselves beaten down, in prisons of our own. Maybe you are in a prison of financial hardships or terminal illness. Perhaps you're locked in a difficult marriage or have a life that is harsh and unfair.

Some prisons we enter because of a bad choice and some are prisons we enter through no fault of our own.

Prison is a dark, ugly place to be, regardless of the reason you're there. Even freed from guilt, living each day with joy, the dark night of the soul is exhausting. It takes everything you've got to endure. You just want to go home.

But being in prison is the best thing that ever happens to us. It is in our brokenness that we are healed, in our weakness that God becomes strong. No one is as grateful for water as he who is thirsty.

Jesus came to set the captive free.

It's not true that time heals all wounds, but it is true that there is a God who sees and is able to bring you out of your prison. He knows and meets you where you are in your brokenness. It doesn't matter to him how you got there, only that you need to be rescued.

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