Just the other day I received a letter from a friend telling me that she went skydiving for the first time. She went on to describe the experience as fun and breathtaking, indicating that she never felt so free before in her life. She felt like all her worries and troubles disappeared in those moments she was free falling back to earth. She felt so alive!
Now that sounds like my type of activity to do. Actually, skydiving is on my bucket list when I get released. Those who know me, know that I am an adventurous person and thrill seeker, and sky diving fits both those criteria. How exciting it must be to jump out of an airplane from thousands of feet and plummet to the earth at hundreds of miles per hour. Granted, the first time you jump, you must jump with an instructor, but I can totally imagine the feeling that my friend felt.
What are some times in your life that you have felt alive and free from all your worries and troubles? Maybe it was a place or a moment in time or some special occasion. For me, it’s being out in the wilderness, sitting in a canoe in the Minnesota Boundary Waters, backpacking the Colorado mountains or skiing the back country with no one around and fresh snow falling around me. These experiences are all experiences I can relive over and over again, and plan to someday. I truly felt alive and free at those times.
There is also another place where I feel free as well. Some of you may think I’m crazy, but being in a Federal Prison behind these razor sharp fences I feel absolutely free. Why, you might ask? Because I’ve given all my worries to God! I’m at peace. I’m at peace with the situation I put myself in I’m forgiven by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and by the ones that I needed to be forgiven by, and I have forgive the ones that I needed to forgive. My deep desire is to live the way I believe Jesus had in mind when He said that those who have been forgive much, love much. I have been forgiven much by many, and as much as I would like to be free of the prison walls, I have resolved that I want God’s will for me more. If this is where He intends for me to be, then I will serve Him here to the best of my ability. My body is confined, but because of God’s abundant grace poured out on me – someone who does not deserve it – my soul is at liberty and I am set free. I have a peace in my heart as I seek to do the will of my Father.
Slowly I am learning that Jesus is my closest friend and the only one who truly understands what I’m going through. The fact that being incarcerated is my own fault doesn’t lessen the pain of being here. That’s why the more I can focus on eternity and the adventure of serving Christ today, in this place, the less I’m preoccupied with loneliness or any problem as the result of my lost freedom. The truth is, somebody can be blessed by me today. I need to find that somebody and give what I can – a word, a Honey Bun, a soda, a smile, a handshake, a hug, a prayer. Hope is contagious, you know, and because of that I am free.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
P.S. If you would like to know more about a relationship with Jesus, check out www.stjstl.net/watch. You can hear a message from one of the pastors of my home church and you just may learn what being free is all about!