“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and head 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
For the last few weeks at least twice a day, I have been stopped in my tracks with an overwhelming reality…and that reality is freedom. And not just any freedom, my freedom.
I find myself on the outside of a prison cell looking in. There are no windows. No light to be found. There are only 3 cold cement walls and a door of bars. This used to be my prison cell. This used to be my home. As I look in from the outside, I can see the very spot where I would lie on the floor for hours each night crying my eyes out and contemplating ending my life somehow. I can see the wall I used to sit up against and scream for friends and family members to please come rescue me. During my time here I would have visitors. They would sit and talk for a while and some would even leave encouraging notes to get me through my stay. While I appreciated the company, their visits would ultimately leave me feeling more alone. After all, they couldn’t get me out and eventually their visit would be over and they would go back to their own lives. So there I would sit in this prison …just me and the guard who sat outside my cell and watched me every second of every day. I’d only ever spoken to the guard one time on the day I had arrived. I asked him why I was in this prison. He never replied. From that day on I was so mad at him I never even glanced his way. But I knew he was there and that he never stopped watching over me. After sitting in prison for a little over a year, I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed out to the guard, “Why wont you help me?! You see me here day in and day out. You hear me cry myself to sleep each night and you don’t even care. I’ve been so angry at you and I’ve barely said a word to you in over a year but I don’t care, I’m desperate! Get me out of here!” I braced myself for an equally if not more aggressive response. But the guard simply turned to me and said, “I’ve been waiting on you to ask me for help. Open the door.” Reluctant and confused, I grabbed hold of the bars and pushed the door open.
And just like that, I was free.I had spent so much time being mad at the guard when he had the answer all along.
My prison was depression. It was by far the scariest, darkest and loneliest place I have ever been. No matter how much I wanted them to, my friends and family could not save me. No matter how much I wanted to just wake up one day and not feel depressed, that wasn’t how it was to happen for me. I had to fight for my freedom. I tried fighting with stubbornness, apathy and even anger, but eventually I learned the only way there was to fight was on my knees. Not being desperate for the help of people, but desperate for the help of God.
What prison do you find yourself in today?
A prison of loneliness?
Whatever your prison, God is there. It may seem to you like God is punishing you or He doesn’t care, but I can assure you He sees you and He loves you. He is standing on guard protecting you and watching over you even now as you read. Family and friends are there to love you and encourage you, but only God can rescue you. Cry out to him. Fight. Push. In the end, you overcome because God overcame! How do I know? Because I’m free. I’m here. If for no other reason than to tell you that you’ve already won.