|American Flags - www.wikipedia.org|
As we begin our second week of breaking free, consider your initial reaction to the thought of a physical, emotional, or spiritual prison. Did you think it too harsh an analogy, or did you have an epiphany and say, “Yes, that’s exactly the way I feel”?
Last time, we focused on physical prisons constructed of materials beyond our control. This time, we are discussing an emotional penitentiary built by someone else: A verbally abusive spouse, a domineering friend or family member, a child’s drug addiction, etc.
Many factors can cause emotional incarceration and we may feel these are also beyond our control, but are they? Although we cannot really control another person, or how they treat us, we can do something about our reaction and emotions. So, what can we do?
As believers in Jesus Christ, always our first and most important course of action is to pray. In every situation, we need God’s perspective. So ask. But when you do, realize He may answer in a very unexpected way.
While we may pray for a “Get Out of Jail FREE” card, God may want us to stay and effect change from the inside. This is because God’s immediate concern is our relationship with Him. Therefore, He works on us first.
God may use the irritating characteristics of our prison warden to test our faith, as fire refines gold. Through this process, He keeps us yielded, reliant on Him, and He opens our eyes to our real enemy – the spirit pulling the puppet strings.
Paul, in II Corinthians 12:7-10, speaks about a “thorn in the flesh”. I have learned in my walk with Christ, a “thorn in the flesh” isn’t always an “infirmity”. It can be a person and the pain they cause in our lives. However, “thorns” may also be as verse ten indicates: Reproaches, needs, persecutions, and distresses. These are incredibly confining in themselves, but when they originate from people we love, it’s worse.
Maybe our “thorn” doesn’t want to listen to how we feel or perhaps they are so self-absorbed they just don’t care.
|Alcatraz - Al Capone's Cell 181 - www.wikipedia.org|
Realizing this, we retreat to our prison cell, feeling isolated, trapped, disregarded, and beat down. Then behind us, the door slams shut with a deafening echo.
If in those moments, we don’t understand our only place to turn is to God, we are doomed.
However, if we run to Him and surrender, His righteous right arm lifts us. We find His wisdom, comfort, and an understanding that every heart, including our “thorn’s”, is in His hand, “…like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)
God plans for our good. So, allowing Him complete control brings ultimate freedom, no matter our situation. Only He provides endurance and strength so we can shout with Paul, “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Please understand, I would never make light of anyone’s physical or emotional pain, because I’ve been there. I’m just trying to help you bring things into perspective, to rise above your circumstances, and break free.
Every prison is a trial of life. So, choose to serve God anyway. Trust Him to take care of you and meet your needs, because He will.
Next week, we will tackle the prison we, ourselves, have erected.