Yesterday afternoon Mary Ann and I went for a walk with our dogs. We walked down to one of the Ranch buildings that is being renovated to check on the progress. As we were looking around inside, she saw a roadrunner bird that was caught inside the entranceway. There were glass doors on two sides of this small room, and the poor bird was dashing itself at the glass in an attempt to escape. Blood was on the ground from where it had injured itself — evidence of its desperation in trying to get free.
Mary Ann told me, “You go hold the dogs at bay while I try to help this poor bird get free. ” So I took the two dogs off into the desert away from the building so that they wouldn’t try to attack the already wounded bird once it was outside.
Mary Ann then opened the door to the outside and found a broom so she could gently steer the captive roadrunner out. It took a while because the bird was scared and confused, hiding behind a big tool box and not coming out. And if it did make a dash, it went in the wrong direction.
Finally Mary Ann called out loud, “Angels, help me get this bird out!” Right then, it found the open door and half ran, half flew away into the safety of the mesquite bushes. Thankfully the dogs didn’t catch sight of it from where we standing, oblivious in their exploration of the desert scents.
As I thought about this incident in my morning prayer today, Psalm 124:6-8 came to mind:
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
I thought how Jesus came to set captives free. But many times we are afraid and hide from him, like this bird hid from Mary Ann. Even though He is our liberator and redeemer, we are too beat-up at times to trust Him. So we remain in our bondage.
We are all captive in some area of our lives — attachments or crutches we depend on that keep us from truly being free. Maybe it’s being a people-pleaser or an overachiever; perhaps its using food or entertainment or alcohol to numb our inner pain; maybe we feel trapped or not-understood; maybe we have unforgiveness and bitterness churning in our hearts. Captivity takes a lot of different shapes and forms.
But the Lord wants to free us so that we are no longer banging our heads on the glass doors of our inner cages. The door is already open. Jesus stands ready to help us find that place of freedom. He has holy angels ready to help us. All we have to do is call out to Him.
Here are a few simple steps that can help you do that:
- Find some time where you can sit quietly without interruptions.
- Take a few deep breaths and become aware that you are in the presence of God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind one specific way that you are in bondage.
- Then ask the Lord to set you free.
It’s really that simple. We don’t need to know how He’s going to do it. But we can trust that He will do it and that He will show us how to fly through that door to freedom.
I couldn’t ask the roadrunner, of course, how it felt to finally get outside and back to its natural habitat after Mary Ann had helped set it free. But I can imagine its great relief and exaltation to once again find itself with room to run.
And my prayer for you today is that you also find yourselves delightedly surprised at the new inner freedom and joy God has in store for you.