Many of us are prisoners of something or someone, whether it is a family member, an illness, or a problem we don’t know how to solve. But God is able to free us. All we need to do is ask in faith.
Eternal perspectives by Sally Bair
When I was young, during the Second World War, my family took a trip to visit relatives in southeastern Minnesota. We picnicked one hot, summer day at Whitewater State Park, where a group of German prisoners of war were housed in a large park building that overlooked a lake. At 2 P.M. the prisoners came out, single file, to jump into the lake for a refreshing swim. They laughed and hollered and appeared to be full of joy. The guards stood by, looking relaxed and happy.
Years later I read that many POWs, who had been captured by U.S. soldiers, didn’t mind or didn’t suffer during their imprisonment because they were treated and fed well. Some decided to remain in America after the war ended because they enjoyed the freedoms we offered. Our own POWs, by contrast, endured harsh treatment when captured. The same continues today.
No one wants to be a prisoner of anything or anyone. We relish our freedoms. But the Bible talks about an imprisonment that is not only meant for our own good but brings its own kind of freedom. Think about addicts who are enslaved by their substances. Once freed, whether with the help of recovery groups or through miraculous healing, they are able to enjoy life.
The same kind of freedom comes for sinners such as you and me, who choose to surrender our sinful, unfruitful and self-defeating lives to Christ in the midst of our imprisonments. The apostle Paul endured—with joy— his life as a Christian while shackled with irons in a dark, dirty, dingy prison cell. “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake … and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (Acts 16:25-26) I urge you to read the rest of the story. It’s a heart- pounder.
Paul, in his letters to the believers in Ephesus, speaks about being a “prisoner of Christ.” (See Ephesians 3:1 and 4:1) He encourages his readers to surrender their problems, worries and sin to Christ, Who will set them free from their results and will exchange them for His peace and joy and love. Surrender doesn’t mean trading one harsh situation for another. It means laying down our own fruitless struggles and allowing God to win the battles for us.
Lord, thank You for fighting our battles for us. Give us the desire and strength to hand them over to You so we can have the freedom You offer. In Jesus’ name, amen.