For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 ESV
As I walked down the corridor, I could hear her heavy breathing and long sighs. A few more steps and I saw her – a malnourished, ill-stricken, weak little body wasting away in her prison cell. I was, in actuality, face to face with my very own life, my past, my presumed fate. The reminder of this brought such a sickening feeling to my stomach and ache upon my heart that I turned to walk away, but the poor girl shrieked and begged me to stay. Reluctantly, I agreed.
I took note of the slime covered walls, flea infested floors, and mildew spots before my legs buckled and I slid to my spot on the ground. I looked into her lifeless eyes, saw her pale face, and was disturbed at the sight of her fragile, young body. Her clothing was but rags covering her shivering figure presently lying on the cold stone floor. Her skin was covered in boils, her hair crawling with lice, and her whole self coated in filth.
She painfully cocked her head towards mine and slowly started recounting her sorrowful story. As I listened, tears filled my eyes. My pulse grew louder with every word she spoke. The knot in my stomach tightened as her story continued.
Yet, as I sat there deeply moved by her death-filled, sinful, pain consumed life, I wondered: How could she not know? When her terrifying tale concluded, I began my own story.
I once lived in a cell like hers. I was captive to my own fleshly desires. I was oppressed by the selfish will of another. I was a slave to sin. I lived in jail like she was living – I thought that life was real. But it’s not. I dwelt in darkness as she now dwelt – I thought it was my only hope. But it’s not. I experienced hell as she was presently experiencing – I thought it was my fate. But it’s not.
I now live in freedom. I am no longer captive to my own fleshy desires, no longer oppressed by the selfish will of another, no longer a slave to sin. I have been set free, I have been liberated, and I have been released. My chains were broken by the precious love of my Rescuer. My prison door was unlocked because of the great mercies of my Savior. My release was secured by the righteousness of my Redeemer.
Because of what He did, I freely walk away from captivity. Because of Him, I unreservedly explore His endless love. Because of His deliverance, I live life to the fullest, basking in His glorious light.
Yet, while I sat in the dim hallway conversing with a wretched sinner captive to her own sinfulness, oppressed by the desires of others, and servant to unrighteousness leading to death, I saw myself in her. I remembered when I was in her position. I had no hope. I had no future. I had no life. But it all changed when my Rescuer swept me off my feet into His glory.
Perhaps she hasn’t been told. Maybe she hasn’t heard. Possibly she doesn’t know. Her chains are broken. Her prison door is unlocked. Her release is secure. She is free in Jesus Christ. As I wondered why she still lay in darkness and depravity, I realized God had sent me to her for this reason: to proclaim her freedom in His great love.
The astounding truth is that thousands of others are living in prison. Who will proclaim to them their freedom? Who will show them the way out? Who will point them to their Rescuer?