By Cindy Koch

Worrying about the children. Looking over my shoulder to see if anybody is watching. Trying harder to make up for my failures. Keeping quiet to avoid conflict. Taking the path of least resistance. Reciting, “I’m fine, I’m fine.” Stressing when the bills come in. Fighting against my metabolism every waking hour. Planning endlessly for unknown disasters. Forgetting the hurtful things he says behind closed doors. Spending more time at work, less time at home. Feeding resentment with those who I am supposed to love. Chasing after the good times that I will never see again. Holding back good things to gain control of the relationship. Envying life in the shoes of another. Giving up on the ones who are counting on me.

These are the chains we don’t like to talk about. Bound by the decaying and selfish world. Oppressed by our own angry wants and desires. Victims of abuse and immorality, criminals provoking acts of shame. The more I forget my present prison, the more comfortable it becomes. I struggle against my schizophrenic collection of wisdom. The calming optimist inside wants me to ignore this annoying noose, but every once in a while, it’s too clear that I can’t catch my breath.

Freedom rings, they say. Yet, I still cower at the pressures of mother, wife, and friend. The greatest nation on earth, I’ve heard. Yet my path is still pointed straight to the grave. I can do anything, I say to myself. But I still end up suffocating under the present darkness.

I’m searching for the answer. I really am. I’ve tried earthly wisdom, popular books, and advice. I’ve tried spiritual wisdom, guidance from a higher power to stop the pain and suffering. I’ve tried friends and mentors who look like they have this life figured out, but every path leads to the same disappointing destination. I cannot control the violently spinning world. I cannot defy aging, sickness, or death. I cannot always do the good I know I should do I cannot always fight as hard as it takes to win.

But I forget what freedom really is. Freedom is an Almighty God who has promised to care for my every need. Freedom is a Savior that swallowed my sin and its consequences. Freedom is an awesome eternal life after death. Freedom is a divine gift that bids me to eat drink and enjoy our work on this earth, today. The cross of Christ changed everything about our world today. By his death and resurrection, he enacted our true freedom. Freedom to stand before the throne God, freedom from all sin, freedom from worries for what will happen tomorrow, freedom from the fear of death.

Yet it is the sly tongue of the devil, the father of lies, the ruler of this world, to bind us back up into our anxious prison. “Did God really say?” he whispers at every word of assurance. “God didn’t mean you are totally free…” he lies, just when we are ready to believe the Words of Truth. Tragically, it is that simple. We retreat back to our gods of power, beauty, security, money, wisdom, independence, and pleasure at his crafty beckon-call.

Our only weapon against the torture dungeon of this world is to remember who you already are. You have been made free in Christ.

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:2, 15-17).