Of Human Bondage

“The captive exile and he who is bent down by chains shall speedily be released; and he shall not die and go down to the pit of destruction, nor shall his food fail. For I am the Lord your God, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar and Who by rebuke restrains it – the Lord of hosts is His name.” Isaiah 51:14-15 AMP

I’m limited.
Just look at me – I’m limited.

These are the first lines of the song For Good from the hit musical Wicked. Elphaba, who is green all over and will become the Wicked Witch of the West, sings them to her good friend Glinda. Like Elphaba, every person has problems that must be overcome. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we don’t. Cages, shackles, and burdens come in more varieties than you can shake a stick at. We’ve all endured physical illnesses or disabilities. Many of us battle psychosis or neurosis or this-or-that disorder that reduces our capacity to live happily and contribute from the wellspring of our gifts. There are less recognizable bondages too. The devil hoodwinks us, using deceptive and insidious tactics (see July 2013 LOG Insidious). Worst of all, he masquerades these blindfolds as enlightenment. It really is awful to be hamstrung and think you are running the race.

We are all working out our own salvation so that God’s good pleasure can be accomplished in and through us (Philippians 2:12-13). Not one of us has cornered the market on freedom, but we all keep looking hopefully – hope is a mighty powerful force – at the glorious image of Jesus the Holy Spirit is forming in each of us, and we are spurred on by it (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

It seems the best thing we can do for one another is give the Holy Spirit a little room to form that image. Let’s not brand fellow Christians because of the vestigial chains they happen to have dangling from their wrists or ankles. Those fetters will disappear eventually, one way or another, so why not just call ourselves “Blessed of the Lord” and move on? Besides, if we pick at a weakness, we run the risk of cornering our brother or sister into defending it, rather than letting the Holy Spirit work God’s good pleasure, to wit, deliverance (again, Philippians 2:13). Woe unto us if we’re meddling to that degree!

Turns out Elphaba was a pretty good gal, and the whole Wicked Witch of the West thing was a ruse. Things aren’t always as they appear, especially when we may not see as clearly as we should (Matthew 7:3-5).

The Bible says it’s appointed for man to die once (Hebrews 9:27). One time. Well, that has happened for all who believe Jesus took their death sentence on the cross. Jesus had no death sentence coming, so it had to be ours that He suffered. From here on out, it’s all good. Even the bad is good…in the end. We have nothing to fear. We may be weak, but He is strong. We may be limited, but He is not. He can get done what He needs to, even inside little ol’ us.

Almost two centuries ago, a new Christian named Charlotte Elliott voiced her liberation in song. The lyrics escalate, verse upon verse, painting a picture of the boundless love and freedom found in Jesus.

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above –
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Our lives prove the love of God. Love constrains too, but that’s okay. In fact, it’s good.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV

Lord, because I knew You
I have been changed for good.

© Melissa Kay Simonds

 

 

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