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Freedom is one of our most prize possessions. As American citizens, we talk about it, sing about it, and we love our military for keeping us free.
However, in our personal lives we may not be free at all. Many things can hold us captive. They may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Nevertheless, we end up feeling as though we live in prison.
But, what type of prison?
Our prison could be of our own making or one someone else has erected. It’s also possible we live in a jail constructed of something beyond our control. But, no matter what or who built our prison or even how, the iron bars holding us captive still seem as cold and unbreakable as any penitentiary known to man.
So let’s take a hacksaw to this illusory prison and begin the breakout process.
What if something completely out of our control, such as an illness, disability, devastation caused by an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, flood, explosion, or even war, has us incarcerated. What can we do?
First, pray. When we humble ourselves before Almighty God, He lifts us up above our circumstances and helps us to see our situation through His eyes. Then, by His Word, He brings the understanding that death and destruction, sickness and disease are all a result of sin in the world. Our fleshly bodies are like “a breath that passes away and does not come again.” They are merely our earthly tent that is perishing. Job understood this. Out of his great affliction and pain, he uttered, “For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow.”
Despite physical illness and disability, or the consequences of natural disasters, life in this world is hard for everyone, in one way or another. The sun rises on the evil and the good, the very same way rain falls on the just and the unjust, meaning most trials we suffer are common. They are as scripture says, “the same sufferings…experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (I Peter 5:9)
As believers, our comfort comes in knowing Jesus identifies with our pain. He is “acquainted with grief… [because He] …carried our sorrows…” He is our Great High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses, and yet remained sinless. (Isaiah 53:3-4, Hebrews 4:14-15)
God created us and He knows we are flesh. He uses every experience in our lives for His glory and His foremost objective is our salvation. If in our pain we surrender to Him, we can receive His gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.
However, God’s secondary objective is to mold us, so we increasingly resemble the image of His Son. This sculpting process can be painful, but our job, like clay, is to yield to His touch.
Remember, life is fleeting and eternity awaits. The afflictions we suffer are momentary, yet through God’s grace they are “…working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 4:16-17)