I was trapped in the dark of a school hallway. Lights were flickering, people were scurrying, and the trees were bending their surrender to the ferocious mandate of the wind. I could hear the rain pounding its cadence upon the metal roof above me. I could hear the cries of children as they tried to make sense of the surrounding chaos.
Imprisoned by the bedlam and instructed that my remaining as such would be the best option for my personal safety, I decided to wait it out even though a huge part of me cried out for my release to the wild and treacherous of the outdoors.
I didn’t wait long.
Instead, I walked the darkened hallway toward the entrance of the school and turned the final corner on my fear. When I did, my eyes opened, and I was greeted by the brilliant sun beaming its illumination through my bedroom mini-blinds and welcoming me to a new day of living.
Ah … the illusion of a night’s slumber.
What I thought to be real only moments earlier was but a dream working its way out of me in order to teach me a lesson about darkness and light. About perceived captivity and about the choice I have to walk free from its chains into the marvelous light and life that is mine as a child belonging to the Light.
Sometimes my freedom is as simple as a rolling over from my right side to my left. Sometimes, a bit more involved. But all the time, freedom is available. Never am I stuck in my chains. Even when I’m shackled by situations that require my surrender to an iron’s holding, walking in the freedom of God’s light is always my option.
Paul and Silas understood that option. They chose it, and in doing so, a great and mighty midnight happened upon a Roman prison cell. Doors were opened, and chains were loosened. And while some would have justified this mighty act of God as their permission to escape, Paul and Silas chose to remain.
Not because they didn’t long to be free, but rather because they knew that they already were.
Long before an earthquake released them in the physical, Jesus Christ had released them in the spiritual. No amount of dark and dank and torture of a prison cell could keep them from knowing what they already knew to be true in their own hearts—that the cross of Jesus Christ brings freedom to all who choose to shackle their hearts to its pulse.
And while the enemy is ever content and vigilant about stoking the fires of our perceived captivity, God is holy and perfectly content to stir us in another direction.
Not with the illusion of a night’s slumber, but rather with the truth of a day’s awakening.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Where the Spirit of the Lord was then … where he continues to be now … is with those who have chosen his Light over darkness. His truth over the illusion of a night’s dreaming.
God is not a figment of our wild imaginings. We don’t wake up in the morning and discover that he’s not real; rather, we wake up to the contrary—to the exponential manifestations of his presence in our day to day. Some have unsuccessfully tried to confine the person of Jesus Christ to the contextual isolation of a historical manuscript. But God’s Word cannot be chained (2 Timothy 2:9). He cannot be managed and manipulated so as to fit into man’s need to have everything make sense.
Rarely does the grace of Jesus Christ ever make sense. Instead, Christ came to shatter our “1+1=2’s” with his “One + our 1 = infinitely more than we can possibly ask for or imagine.” Indeed, this truth runs contrary to common sense, yet it is exactly the one truth that kept Paul and Silas remaining in their prison cell, even though an earthquake had released them from their chains.
They were waiting for the outcome of God’s equation, not theirs, and in the end, his answer came in manifold measure—
The salvation and corresponding freedom of a jailer and his entire household.
That, my friends, is the truth of a day’s awakening—the real and realized embrace of a Son’s illumination in our hearts and through our lives. We hold the freedom to carry that light into the illusion of this world’s nightly slumber. It is our high and holy privilege to do so. Thus, I echo the plea of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the believers at Ephesus,
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light … for it is the light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said, ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” (Ephesians 5:8, 14).
Wake up you weary and well-worn pilgrims. Arise and shine, for your Light is come. Today is the day of salvation. Turn and receive the truth of your glorious awakening!
Copyright © February 2009 – Elaine Olsen
PS: I’ve posted this song before and am doing so again because it so aptly fits the truth of what I’m trying to say. Have a blessed rest this weekend. Be safe. Be God’s. And if you are confused about what that means … to be God’s … please e-mail me, and I will happy to pray things through with you. I love you all! I mean it.