Caged

I got a profound reminder today about the responsibility of

freedom.

A friend of mine has a pet rabbit.  I love, love, love rabbits.  So I was eager to hold this rabbit in my arms and give him a chance to breathe free from his cage.

All his life, I guess, he has lived in a cage that’s probably about three feet wide by two feet tall.  There is no way he can do much jumping or any real running.  He shares his small space with a food dish and a habitat hideaway that’s knocked over.  I guess he doesn’t think he needs to hide.  There’s nothing to hide from in his two-foot-by-three-foot cage.  And besides, the little fake cove could never hide him from view.  It’s more like a cute hideaway for people to admire than for an animal to actually enjoy.  It’s not really any rest from prying eyes.

He has plenty of food, though–all the food he could ever want.  And it’s all right there on the ground for him to pick out.  It’s the same ground he has to poop on, of course, but he’s gotten well used to that.

I thought that I could make a bit of difference in his life by taking him out of the cage, if only for a few minutes.  I thought he’d like to see what life was like on the outside.  I thought he’d want to be free.

I turned out to be wrong about that, and I have a rabbit-sized scratch on my hand to prove it.  He became frantic when I tried to carry him through the latch door.  He wouldn’t let me catch him and he made frightened squeaking noises.  I tried to befriend him.  I pet him.  I loved on him.  I hoped this would coax him out.  I even waited, with the door open, for him to decide he might want to take a peek at the outside world.

It was a no go.

Finally, I tried one last effort to carry him through the door.  When he got right to the threshold of the door, when his very face was sticking out right into the wonderful outside world of freedom, he thrashed with absolute willful determination, hit his head on the bar (but did not really hurt himself), and threw himself backwards away from the open door.

I did not bother him with trying to go back outside after that.  It was clear he had made his choice.  But I felt very sad for him.  And I thought about all the years he would probably spend eating off the cage floor, lethargically rabbitting his way from one side of the cage to the other . . . until he eventually passed away, frozen and immobile, inside a cage that no longer needed to restrain him from anything.

.          .          .           .          .          .          .           .          .          .          .

Satan had us in a cage.  All of us.

And then Christ did something impossible.

He opened the door.

Through His blood–the blood of God–He opened the door.

Now Satan is pulling his greatest trick of all.

Convincing people to stay inside when the door is wide open.

I hope he doesn’t win his game with you.

We have a profound responsibility of freedom.

Christ has given us the choice: He can lift us out of Hell, or we can scratch Him and kick frantically and stay right where we are.

The question isn’t whether or not He’ll rescue us.  The question is, will we let Him?

As I let myself be vulnerable to that rabbit–letting it scratch me when I could so easily have killed it– God allows Himself to be vulnerable to us.

He allows us to reject His rescue.

What kind of rescue would it be to bring a terrified and angry rabbit to a freedom it wanted no part of?

And what kind of rescue would it be to drag a person out of Hell and into Heaven to spend eternity with a God (s)he is terrified of and hates?

This life is God’s waiting time, God’s “vulnerable” time.

And this life is either our rescue time, or our rejecting time.

–And Satan knows all this.

No matter how dark, or how barbed, or how padlocked we think our cage is, Jesus has burst open the door.

And God is reaching into our cage.

He promised to rescue us from our enemies’ power so that we could serve him without fear

by being holy and honorable as long as we live.

“You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his way.

You will make his people know that they can be saved through the forgiveness of their sins.

A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.

He will give light to those who live in the dark and in death’s shadow. He will guide us into the way of peace.” (prophesy about Jesus shortly after His birth, Luke 1:74-79, GW)

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Somehow the grave has captured me . . .
Just when I feel my breath is running out

The earth moves and You find me, alive but unworthy
Broken and empty, but You don’t care
‘Cause you are my rapture, You are my Savior
When all my hope is gone, I reach for you
You are my rescue.
You are my rescue!

–from “Rescue” by the Seabirds

See Dan Steven’s video, “The Cell”.

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Photograph by Stephane Tougard, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/unices/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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