Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Monday was just a very different kind of 4th of July. This time around I smiled at hearing words like "liberty" and "freedom" -- words that have really kind of been lost on me in the past.

Yes, I'm very thankful to live in a free country, and I know not everyone has it the way I have it. And I have been forgiven of my sin, but I don't know that I've ever been especially mindful of my desperate need to be freed, until recently. And I think that perhaps until you've been helplessly trapped and then set free, maybe you don't really get it.

I know I didn't, anyway.

I was trying to explain to my kids what it means to be set free--and that it suggests that you've been un-free at some point. I said, "It would be like if someone locked you in that bathroom (our tiny powder room) and it was dark, and you were trapped and you couldn't get out on your own, no matter how hard you tried--and then finally after 3 days, someone finally unlocked the door and let you out. How would you feel?"

You'd feel free. FINALLY FREE. And you'd have a new love for words like "liberty" and "freedom."

You'd begin devouring and reciting aloud the words of Scripture that talk about being in a slimy pit, and being lifted out by gracious and able hands.

You'd stand in your living room crying out to God in worship with your hands literally raised up, calling out for rescue from your pit, and being totally in awe when you were aware that He was answering your cry for help.

You'd jump to attention at the slightest threat of being thrown back into that jail cell of a pit again, and begin declaring the Word of God about how He has set your feet on a rock and given you a firm place to stand.

You'd smile at the sound of that song on the radio that speaks to being set free, because you've lived it.

You'd start singing that new song He put in your mouth, the hymn of praise to our God.

And you would want to shout *LIBERTY!* from the rooftops. You'd want it for others. You'd be desperate to declare *FREEDOM!* for captives once you'd tasted of it yourself.

I have read through many of these next Scripture passages many times, but they have only recently come to be stitched into my heart--and they're my passion now. My heart has been tendered through terrible brokenness to those in captivity, because I've walked a mile in those shoes, and now I know there is nothing like being set free. Fetters falling off, chains clanging as they fall to the ground, prison doors swinging wide open.

Beautiful freedom. Sweet liberty.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives,

and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Isaiah 61:1

I waited patiently for the LORD;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire.

He set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth--

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the LORD

and put their trust in Him.

Psalm 40:1-3

I will exalt You, O Lord,

for You lifted me out of the depths

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

O Lord, my God, I called to You for help

and You healed me.

Psalm 30:1-2

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