I have knowingly, and sometimes unknowingly, been a prisoner to many things in my short 24 years of life.
As a child, soccer was always my captor. I was constantly rushing from school practice to club practice and spending every weekend out at the fields. I sometimes missed school dances and birthday parties, I didn’t drink soda and I was careful to stay in shape.
Then in middle school, like most girls, I was a prisoner to popularity. I wore a hideous, thick line of white eyeliner to school everyday even though I hated it. Everyone else was doing it so naturally…I had to too. I laughed at sick jokes, even though they made me feel dirty and threw around a bunch of four letter words.
But in high school I went the opposite direction and instead of chasing the world, I became a captive of religion and the church. I knew all the songs, memorized the popular Bible verses, and went on all the weekend retreats. I was polished on the outside but dead underneath…
And in college, I devoted myself to gaining the love and approval of people. Moving away from home and suddenly getting thrown into a world of complete strangers left me desperately fighting to be seen. I went to some ridiculous extremes just to feel wanted…
I’ve been a prisoner to fear- anxious and worried about things not in my control. I’ve been a prisoner to anger- letting even the smallest circumstances or one wrong word thrust me into a whirlwind of screaming and fighting, taking out everything in my path. I’ve been a prisoner of doubt- overwhelmed and defeated by all the pain and suffering in the world, concluding at the end there can’t be a God.
Pride. Selfishness. Relationships. Loneliness…all captors my flesh wants to go back to…
I feel just like the Israelites sometimes when they kept begging Moses to let them go back to Egypt, even though God had rescued them, performed crazy miracles right in front of their eyes, and promised them multiple times that better things were ahead.
I get it, Israelites, I really do…
But I refuse to let that story be MY story. I know what its like to be a captive of lesser things- I lived that life for way too long. And I too can hear the enemy when he whispers his lies that its easier back there or I was happier when I was a slave…
But here’s the thing- I refuse to live as a prisoner to anything but Jesus.
Even in the middle of darkness, or in those seemingly inevitable times that I have way more questions than answers, when tomorrow is full of uncertainty, or even in those special times when my life is overflowing with celebration and blessing- I want to live as a prisoner of hope.
I want to live FULLY confident in the hope that only comes from knowing and clinging to the promises of God. Because one of my favorite verses tells me, no matter how many promises God makes- they all find their YES in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Jesus, You promised. You will comfort the brokenhearted. You set the captives free and the lonely in families. You give beauty for ashes. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a display of the Lord’s splendor. You began a good work and You will finish it. You knew every day of my life before there was yet even one, and you work all things together for good for those who love You. You will be exalted in all the nations. You will be praised in all the earth…
And because of HIS yes, I too can say yes to all He asks and all He brings my way.
I want to live my life as a prisoner to these promises and to the Hope that’s found within them. I must live like this. For I have found and come to KNOW this is true:
life-changing freedom can only be found when I am completely captivated
by my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and saving is he…he will speak peace to the nations; his rule will be from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of My covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O PRISONERS OF HOPE; today I declare to you that I will restore to you double what has been taken…”