Posted by Dr. Wade Smith on July 20, 2015
The news of two prison breaks has captured our attention over the past weeks. The first from Clinton Correctional Facility in New York involved two men convicted of murder. The subsequent 22-day manhunt ended in the death of one escapee and serious injury to the other.
The second escape took place at a maximum security prison in Mexico, as feared drug lord, El Chapo, found freedom through a mile long tunnel. As of this writing, El Chapo is still on the run.
Have you experienced prison? Maybe your prison is not the kind with bars, concrete walls and razor-wired fences. Addictions form prisons. Oppressive and abusive relationships form prisons. Bad religion can be a prison. Injury and disease can make us prisoners in our own bodies. But regardless of our prison, one thing seems certain—the cry for freedom.
The emerging news reports reveal that both escapes were made possible with the help of others. The New York escapees were aided by a prison employee who brought hacksaw blades, drill bits and a hole punch into the prison hidden in raw meat. El Chapo’s escape rivals a Hollywood blockbuster. A high tech, escape tunnel was dug over the course of a year from a nearby house, surfacing from three stories underground in the shower area of his private cell.
Likewise, escape from our prisons requires help. While the first step to freedom begins with the recognition of our imprisonment, the second necessitates the help of others: we are helpless to escape on our own.
The Scripture speaks of sin as a type of prison or slavery. The results of sin bring brokenness, oppression, and death. The subsequent chains and prisons rob us and others of life, love and joy. They prevent us from living life to its fullest, inhibiting our relational and vocational fulfillment.
We all languish in some type of visible or invisible prison. We cry for freedom, yet the walls are too thick and the fences are too high for escape. We cannot free ourselves. Without help from the outside, we are doomed to the prisoner’s life.
A different prison break is told about in the Book of Acts. Paul and Silas had been imprisoned for preaching about Jesus. About midnight they were singing and praising God, when an earthquake shook the prison and unfastened everyone’s chains. The jailer awoke to find the doors open and drew his sword to kill himself. Paul cried out that no one had escaped and the jailer fell down before Paul, saying, “What must I do to be saved?”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved,” replied Paul.
Paul’s answer provides the same possibility of freedom for us. Like the jailer, who understood that his only two options were death or prison, we, too, can cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” Or, “How can I be freed from my prison?”
Our cry is the first step, acknowledging our desperate situation. Our next step is to find help. To “believe in” means to put our faith, trust, and confidence in someone else. The Lord Jesus is Paul’s choice for this kind of help. The Lord Jesus has been the choice of multitudes for two thousand years.
Are the walls and fences around you looking more like a prison? This recognition is the first step to finding your freedom. Now, to whom will you cry for help?