Freed from Captivity

10:28 AMHeather

Shock.  Disbelief.  Surreal.  Unfathomable.  Pretty much describes my response to the news last week about the three precious women who were finally freed from captivity after a decade.  

HOW on earth did these brave young women survive?  What torment had they endured?  Truth is, I don't really want to know.  Because it's too much to hear.  However, its the truth of their reality for all these years.  It was too much to endure.  Yet they did.

No doubt this news story has intrigued us all.  From the interview with the neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who helped to free them, to the details of their current health and their reunion with family.  What must it be like to grieve a daughter who is suddenly found alive?  Albeit wounded and tormented--but alive.  I cannot imagine the bittersweet news of their freedom, mixed with the pain of their captivity--facing the long road of healing ahead.  

As I've scrolled through my online news feed the last week or so, I've seen story after story about the madman's family who call him a monster to the victims request for privacy.  I think I speak for all of us when I say that we simply cannot imagine how on earth anyone survives all the horror of captivity, year after year.  Right next door to people who had NO idea these women were enslaved in such close proximity.  How does this go on for so long, undetected?  I think these women surely must have lost hope of ever being rescued?  Yet, they found a way, through their bravery and determination.

I have pondered this.  And then I realized something.

How about you tell me what it's like to live in captivity?  Chained up?  Bound?  Imprisoned?

Because although it is nothing compared to what these women have endured, I'd venture to guess that most of us have spent years, if not decades, being held captive in some way. 

By fear.  Insecurity.  Shame.  Regret.  Abandonment.  Loneliness.  Depression.  Anxiety.  Anger.  Bitterness.

Oh, yesIndeed.  I think it's not too bold a statement to say that while these precious ladies have endured a torment we cannot imagine, most of us can relate in some tiny way.  Most of us can consider their captivity and in some miniscule version, see how that sheds light on our own chains.  

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

Every one of us are being stalked by a predator.  He disguises himself as an angel of light.  He wears a mask, appearing to be normal.  Nothing out of the ordinary. 

Like a heinous criminal who dares to barbecue and play salsa music with his neighbors.  All the while, those around him are unaware of what he is truly capable.  

Our enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy.  But, he is sneaky and covert.  He lures us in, perhaps taking us down some slippery slope of addiction.  That started with some seemingly innocent temptation.  Or, he whispers to us quietly but repeatedly about our lack of worth and value.  He taunts us with his lies and deception, filling our mind with images of situations to fear, sure disaster to come.  How unloveable we are.  How worthless we are.  How we can never rise above our mistakes.  How no one cares.  How life will never get better.  How we have been wronged and have every right to feel angry with those who have wronged us. Even if the anger immobilizes us with its tentacles.

These lies are quiet and often unnoticeable at first.  Until the voices get louder, and before we know it, the whispered deceit becomes a chain wrapped around us.  Holding us back.  Holding us captive, as its power over us gains strength.  And we cannot remember a time before, a time of freedom.  We cannot imagine breaking the chains or things being different.  We feel stuck and we succumb to the captivity of the enemy--to the strong holds that bind us.  The script in our minds becomes our norm.  It just is.  That's all there is to it.  It's our lot in life.  

Oh, but bloggy friends, it doesn't have to be.  There is a rescuer.  Just waiting in the wings.  We need only to call out--to cry out.  Consider how Amanda Berry broke free.  She was in complete captivity--but she found the courage to knock out a hole, make a small opening, and cry out.  Scream out for help.  And Charles Ramsey says he was just in the right place at the right time to respond to what he heard.  He says he's no hero.

But, every single one of us has a Mighty Savior for our lesser prisons.  Every single one of us has a Hero with supernatural strength to carry us out of captivity and into freedom.  Everyone of us has the power of heaven, ready and poised, to respond to our call for help.

Lord my God, I called to you for help, 
and you healed me.
Psalm 30:2

I beg of you--from whatever chains that bind you--to simply call out to Him.  Cry and plead and beg and groan to him to heal you and free you from the strong holds that plague you and hold you captive.  From the things that hold you back from experiencing joy and hope and peace.  

  The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,  
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3

I don't know how dark your prison is.  I don't know the depths of your agony--but God does.  And please hear me clearly.  Because I feel the urge to command you to listen to this truth.

God sees.  God knows the captivity that holds you.  He knows your every strong hold.  And you can never be out of his grasp.  It is never too much, too hard for him.  

Not at all.  He sent his Son to die in order to gain victory over our enemy.  Our enemy has been defeated.  Do you hear me?  Our enemy--our captor--has been defeated.  He lives on a short leash.  And God is greater than he who is in the world.   

So no matter how long you've languished.  No matter how strong the chain is--it's no match for the God of the Universe.  Let me proclaim this good news to the poor!  The broken hearted!  To the prisoner!  To the grieving!

Cry out to your Savior.  Pour it all out to him, day after day--or minute by minute, if necessary.  And He will indeed bind up your brokenness.  He will proclaim FREEDOM for you!  He will release you from your prison.  He will comfort you.  He will, in fact, redeem every single dark place and every single hurt and struggle, in His timing, in His way so that your ashes will be exchanged for a crown.  Joy will slip in where grief is now holding you.  Praise will come where despair has reigned.  

Oh, yes, sweet bloggy friend.  No matter how long you've been tortured in your own little prison, rest assured.  

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17, NLT 

Freedom for the captives.  Light in the darkness.  Chains broken and smashed.  Sorrows healed.  New life given.

It's the speciality of our Heavenly Father.          

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