Joy in Jail

downloadDo you ever feel trapped in your life? Sometimes life is moving forward, and then other times, it seems we are stuck in the same circumstances day after day with no end in sight. At the risk of being Captain Obvious, let’s say that life is not easy. This is especially true in the Christian walk, which the Apostle Paul advertised as being a prisoner.  Of course, he only meant that even though he was bound in his spirit to follow Christ, and like a prisoner, his life belonged to another, he served the Lord with joy.  We get to places in our lives where we feel alone and incarcerated by our circumstances. Even though Christians are free will beings, we have committed ourselves to live in the will of God.  In our struggles, God never leaves us, he simply watches over us and looks for the perfect moment to step in and address our circumstances. Since we are finite and he’s infinite, we can only see so far, and that’s frustrating to us. However, faith tells us to relax.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to rush God and get portions of my life over with so I could move on to the next big adventure.  Just about every time, when God came through for me and completed the picture, I was amazed at how perfectly His will was done.

God’s prison  is not as bad as it may seem if you focus on the will of God. Sometimes we feel alone, yet we should take courage because we are not alone in reality.  The Lord is always with us, even when we seem like we are straying from the path, an angel is there to bring us back in line with the Word of God.  Being imprisoned for good is better than being imprisoned by wrong.   Salvation involves a complete surrender of our will to the will of another and that other is God who has our best interest at heart.   This is the  God who loves us immensely. He does not send us through difficult times to harm us but to strengthen us and our love for Him.

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  St. John 16:32

Trials and tribulations are like a prison within a prison. Just like some prisoners are in solitary confinement, it can seem like life is overtaking us and we are in the hole of the prison.   We have to stay where God has placed us in that moment in time but it’s faith that keeps us looking over the walls and counting down the days until our release.   Remember, the warden (God) did  not put us in “the hole” because we’ve done something wrong, but because we are doing the things right and need more divine cleansing and refinement.

 St. John 15:1-2 says that He will purge us that we may bring forth “more fruit”.

Look at being stuck as an opportunity.  Often people in prison look at ways to pass the time by getting degrees or just thinking about  what got them there.  At difficult times in our lives, our world feels smaller. We can’t get out by just asking. We can’t change our situation with a snap of our fingers. So?  The solution is to stop fighting God about it and allow Him to have his way as he pilots our lives.

“Easier said than done,” you say.  Well, to pass the time while waiting on God to work on your behalf, try these two things:

1.Determine not to waste time  worrying, moping or pouting. Make yourself think about something, anything other than your situation.

2. Find a way to be useful to those around you, give of yourself and your talents to the world; visit the sick, call and encourage others, or start a new project. In other words, get involved with other people and their concerns—your troubles will seem smaller.

Instead of marking the days on the wall until you’re change comes, consider what you are learning about God and about yourself. Get the spiritual good out of it. It’s your choice and a start in the right direction.

Practical Points for Meditation

  1. Remember, the Christian life was never supposed to be easy, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
  1. Try to smile today; it’s good to laugh when we are burdened. It helps to relieve stress.
  2. Meditate on  Daniel 3:27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them (KJV).  Consider that trials are like fire and the 3 Hebrew boys had been in the fire but no one could tell. Can people tell by your demeanor and actions that you are struggling or do they see the joy of Christ?

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