To be trapped physically in a snow drift is very scary and you might wonder about your survival. Erik Weisz made his career out of sensational escape acts in the early 1900s. He was better known as Harry Houdini – despite appearing trapped in chains, he always managed to escape. Many today are genuinely trapped in all manner of circumstances – poverty, illness, success, failure, poor self-image, relationships, lack of relationships, anxieties, fears and phobias of all kinds. It’s ironic to think that everyone begins their existence ‘trapped’ inside the body of their mother and finds freedom through birth. Sadly, it doesn’t take any of us long before we become trapped through many snares, disbelief and cynicism turning a double lock. Happily many find freedom through a second birth!
As you think about your life now, what can you see that might be an entrapment? What about for others around you, even if outwardly they may seem to be enjoying life?
- ‘I have said that gymnastics can be abusive and brutal. That was my experience. I felt trapped in a world where authority figures were dictating my future’ – Katelyn Ohashi
- ‘The fact is, for years, I had been trapped in a certain narcissism and a desire to have a certain body and look sexy’ – David Harbour
- ‘I certainly don't want a child of mine to be famous, or anyone I was very close to who isn't yet... It's the worst thing to be trapped in your house not be able to leave’ – Elizabeth Hurley
- ‘We're imperfect people trapped in an imperfect world until we get to that place beyond’ – Kathie Lee Gifford
- ‘People who get trapped in the tunnel vision of making money think that is all there is to life’ – Felix Dennis
- ‘If you meet people who have been successful in Hollywood, or look at their photographs, you see a haunted look in their eyes, you sense a trapped feeling’ – Meg Tilly
- ‘I'd never want to be trapped. I never like to stay in one place too long. I always flit around, I never settle anywhere. So being married would be being trapped’ – Maisie Williams
Is it not curious that one person’s dream is another person’s nightmare? This idea of freedom through a second birth mystified Nicodemus but he eventually understood it as Jesus patiently explained how it can happen (John 3).
- ‘He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’ – John 1:11-13
- ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one’ – John 10:27-30
Don’t you just love the complete security we can have when we know we are held by Jesus the Good Shepherd and by God our Father? Nothing can ‘snatch’ you from that secure place. If your focus is on Christ Jesus and your perspective is that of heaven, all is well. Paul echoes this 100% security: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ – Romans 8:38-39
So here’s a precious thought if you’re feeling trapped – you need a way out, a gate that opens to freedom and this security! Have a really slow read of these words from Jesus and see what strikes you:
- ‘“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ – John 10:7-10
Did you notice that Jesus doesn’t say he points us to a gate but that he is the gate? It is through him we find freedom in this life and through him we pass to be with God at the end of this life – he is the gate. We know that life is hard and likened to an uphill climb on a narrow path, but just look where the path is headed:
- ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ – Matthew 7:13-14
It is this truth that can rescue any person who is trapped. It takes some humility to realise you need a rescuer for the one who rescues is stronger than the one who is trapped. It’s about asking for help, believing and receiving:
- ‘Even as he spoke, many believed in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”’ – John 8:30-32
- ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’ – Mark 9:24
- ‘My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare’ – Psalm 25:15
- ‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it’ – 1 Corinthians 10:13
One day, the child of God's spirit finally flies free to what could be called 'the third birth'! For scripture tells us that there is a glorified body awaiting those in Christ that cannot sin - a wonderful prospect ahead. Meanwhile, it is not God’s best for you to live life like a trapped struggling bird about to be carted off to market or to someone’s dinner table! Imagine your body, soul and spirit flying free for this is his will for you.
Can you say this? ‘We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken and we have escaped’ – Psalm 124:7
TAGS - salvation, born again, legalism, legalistic, hope, stronghold