“Bring back our captives.” Psalm 126:4
Liberty of Soul
We circled around the little family and prayed.
It was a sending-off prayer. A time to rejoice at the opportunity of a mission trip to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, where my friend and a team of volunteers were going to help construct buildings for a Bible Training Center, a center of life in the heart of Mexico.
Just a few years ago, my friend was a captive.
Successful at work but miserable in his marriage and in his private self, he sat in the back of church and said, “God, you take this life, this marriage and see what you can do with it. I’m done trying.”
Knowing his story made the send-off prayer that much sweeter.
Knowing that a guy who lived almost forty years of his life on his own terms, who recognized he was a prisoner of his own perceived “freedom”, who dangled at the end of his rope and called out to Jesus could be used by God to teach others how to build (and do it all for Jesus), well, it blessed me. He’s known the bitterness and weariness of doing life on his terms, he knows the captive way of thinking and the rubbing of the chains of its shame.
I see and love this family and their children who hold passports into freedom’s realm because their parents are choosing to call Christ king and obey his word. They are a family of hope, not perfection, but hope in liberty of soul.
A Secret Captive
I knelt in prayer for her again.
Part of my heart beats for her because I’ve known her that long; our lives are intertwined and I ache, ache for her. She is a captive, her saved soul enchained in secrets.I know her secrets, but they aren’t mine to tell, they aren’t mine to shake off and confess. Freedom is the air she breathes but she cannot move into its open sphere.
I weep and worry and pray, “Bring back our captives”.
In many ways, prisoners are not always the criminal. In times of war or civil conflict, people innocent of any crime are swept into captivity, into prison where they await release.
All of us have sinned (committed infractions) against the holiness of God (Romans 3), and I know this is true, but it seems the most imprisoned, those locked in the deepest of solitary confinement, are the ones who’ve been so treacherously sinned against: victims of abuse and molestation, the abandoned and the beaten, the children who had no choice but figure out a way to survive the damage inflicted upon them.
And I pray, “Bring back our captives.”
I long to hear the songs of deliverance and laughter on the air.
A Declaration of Freedom
We all share the same cell, the same declaration of guilt. There are no degrees of sin, yet we all have access to the same merciful God who proclaims (Romans 8):
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (v2). For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (vs15-17).”
Millions of us believe in God, but there is a sickness in our souls that keeps us from believing God. We know he exists, we acknowledge his power and we appreciate the message of Christmas and Easter, but we cannot accept him at his word. We don’t believe that his good message of redemption is for real.
Believe him! He is good on his word, always.
Everyone else may have let you down — YOU may have let yourself (and others) down, but Jesus cannot fail you.
The risk you take in believing him will be rewarded in true freedom, in golden liberty of spirit.
You will return singing, “I was one who sowed in tears and now I reap songs of joy. I went out weeping, carrying seed of sorrow but now I am returning with a song and a heart overfull with the harvest of a blessed life (Psalm 126, paraphrase mine).
Seek freedom. Speak freedom. Share it with everyone. We are a world of captives longing to be free. If you know Jesus, share his freedom relentlessly. And pray, always pray. This post is linked up Emily at Imperfect Prose. Bless you!