Cages. Like the ones that used to be in Cahoon Park in Roswell, New Mexico where I grew up for most of the first ten years of my life. In one, a lion either methodically padded back and forth, back and forth or curled up in a corner and slept. In the other was what seemed to a little boy a HUGE brown bear that, like the lion, either slept or simply swayed back and forth on his four legs as if he had been drugged. Perhaps he had been.
But now and then, even from blocks away where we lived, we could hear the lion give a mighty roar and the bear, a ferocious growl. The power in those sounds ring in my memory and cause me to stop and think. There wasn’t a mate nearby so their guttural sounds wouldn’t have been a mating call. They weren’t in any danger so they weren’t sounding a warning. They were well-fed so they were not in pursuit of prey.
I believed then and believe now that their roars and growls were cries for freedom. They were not where they were created for…the wilds of the jungle or the majesty of the mountains. They groaned and longed to be loosened from their boredom and removed from their gawking, passer-by audiences and set free from the tiny cages in which they felt trapped.
People can be the same. Instead of being free to be all they were destined to be, they are trapped in a cage; a cage of regret or insecurity or domination or routine or just settling for “what is”. Such cages have strong bars made of our past and locked doors made of our fear. And, just to make sure we don’t escape our “keeper” whose name is Doubt allows us out on our chain for just a while, but then always pulls us harshly back into our cage…our prison…our reality.
My hero, the one who set me free, said “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 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)
Now you should know that prayer is not one of my strongest disciplines. But you should also know that I’m praying right now that you will be released and set free. How about today?