A long time ago, I found myself in a prison cell, snug in a corner, bound in chains. I was heartbroken over how I got there. I had made some poor choices in my life, and now they had caught up with me. I had a Visitor who was desperate to see me. He made His way to my cell. Standing on the other side of the bars with love in His eyes and the Keys to Freedom in His hands.
I met Jesus that night.
He said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He said the Truth will set me free. He would set me free. He asked me to follow Him. I knew I wasn’t worthy, but He said I was blameless in Him. I told him I was sorry for all the things I had done, I wanted to be free, and I wanted to be with Him. I got up, walked toward Him, the chains fell off, the door flew open, and we embraced.
That was 1996 when I gave my life to Jesus for the very first time. I was stuck in a figurative prison, but nonetheless, it was a prison.
Now, to the present day, I sometimes find myself back in that prison cell. This time I voluntarily walk into it and chain myself up. Over the past 20 years, I have grown in my relationship with Jesus, I have grown personally in my emotional health and in my recovery from my hurts, habits, and hang-ups, however, I still struggle.
I recently began to think of my prison cell. I can see myself sitting in there when I worry about my finances. I can see myself sitting in there when I am trying to gain the approval of others. I can see myself sitting in there when I doubt who God created me to be.
This prison stinks. It is not what I want from my life. Jesus told me a long time ago, HE was the Way, and He was the Truth, and He was the Life. Then it hit me; when I exchange the Truth for a lie, and when I take matters into my own hands and forge through in my own way, I bind myself back to these old, familiar chains. Again, this is not the life I want.
Hosea is a beautiful story of forgiveness, deliverance, and redemption. A couple of months ago I read this book, and Hosea 2:5 stood out to me,
“For she said, I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and water.”
Bread and water leaped off the pages. Back in the 19th century, prisoners were given bread and water until they’d earned with good behavior the right to eat meat and cheese.
Bread and water are commonly known as prison food.
I frequently run after my “lovers” of people-pleasing, fear, and doubt. Prison! Prison food!
I can’t begin to comprehend how much Jesus loves me. He chases after me, and he will never stop, even when I reject him like an adulterous lover. Putting others before him, choosing to dismiss him for mere prison food. I cower in the corner, hiding from him because of my shame and guilt.
He quickly reminds me of the following:
There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1
Jesus offers Freedom Food. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life, He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
”He is the Bread of Life. John 6:48
He is the Living Water. John 4:14, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”.
I do not have to be stuck in this dull, dark, lonely, dead prison cell. What I am going through in my life right now is not a sentence; it is a season. And it is okay. When I walk toward the cell and take a seat on the cement floor, I may remember this is a familiar spot, but I don’t have to stay there. Jesus opened the doors for me years ago, and because of Him, they will never close. I will declare the statements above as my “Freedom Song” and walk right out. I will praise Him, just like Paul and Silas did as they sat in prison, and their chains fell off. I will choose to feast on my Freedom Food. This Freedom Food is not earned with good behavior, it is mine for the taking as a Daughter of the King.
Sisters, I know you may feel like you are stuck in a prison cell. I know you are weeping; I know your heart is breaking, I know you are scared, I know you are trying to survive day by day. But may I remind you? This is a season, not a sentence! God loves you.
Stand up, praise God in your circumstance, and walk right out of the cell. You don’t have to stay there. Jesus will nourish you back to life with His Freedom Food, He is the only Way out because the Truth will set you free.
I love you so much!