A number of years ago I went to a state penitentiary to visit a friend, oh they didn't work there if that helps clarify things. So as I enter the prison lobby I see a family, a women/mother of 3, how I knew she was a mother of three is because she had three young ones sitting quietly on the hard wooden bench. I wanted to ask how she did that, shock collars? benedryll?
The timing couldn't have been more perfect, as I was coming in to sign the "guest" book, the heavy metal door buzzed open and out came a man who had just been set free. His family leaped to their feet and ran to embrace him. Something I'm thinking hadn't been done in a long, long time. There were tears and kisses, hugs and embraces then finally the words, "Let's go home". I stood there and watched as I saw a man set free. I don't know what his crime was nor did it matter at the time, he was free. To him the air was going to have a whole new smell, the sun beating on his face was going to seem so much warmer, the feel, the smell the joy of freedom.
After he and his family walked out I was escorted into the search room, awe nothing like the snap of latex, I thought that they were going to ask me for a co-pay. After my "encounter" I was then escorted from section to section as doors buzzed, gates popped open, and the deeper I entered the more confined I felt. At last I was taken to a table in the middle of the cafeteria and told to sit and wait. After 20 minuted I see the gate open and in walked my friend, shackled both hands and feet. He shuffled over to the table and was helped as he sat, so not to fall. I spent a few hours with him until the guard came and said time was up. I couldn't hug him, shake his hand or even pat him on the back. I simple was told to stand and walk with the guard. Moments later I exited the facility and walked to my car. My thoughts kept going back to the fact I was able to walk out of there, but my friend couldn't. I wondered what that man and his family was doing, were they still driving to where they lived, had they stopped off for a burger?
I left there understanding that freedom isn't something to take for granted, it's something to cherish and protect. It's true it is never free, someone has paid a price for what we have and there will be more to come. I am thankful for each and everyone who has paid that price for my freedom. I pray every day for the men and women, their families who have served and given their all. My freedom, wow, for me.
I also know that I have a freedom that I chose to have and am thankful for the one who paid for it. His name, Jesus Christ. You have probably heard of Him, maybe not. I was one of those "maybe not's". I hadn't heard and I for sure had no idea that I was imprisoned, that is until I met the one who set me free. The one who brought me life and gave me the freedom to know Him and to live my life out for Him.
I know today freedom isn't free, He died for me and He died for you, He awaits your decision to surrender.
God bless and happy 4th