“Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.” Psalm 107: 10-16 (NIV)
My worst nightmare – literally – occurred years ago when my first child was newborn. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation or the anxiety of caring for my first baby, but whatever the cause, I dreamt I was trapped in a clothes dryer, tossed and rolled about in a hot, dark, confined space. Dizzy, disoriented, and hopelessly unable to find the door to get out, time stopped and I suffered on and on. The nightmare would not yield and relentlessly tossed me in dark confusion until I finally woke up.
Much earlier in my life, as a young adult, I experimented with a lifestyle forbidden by my Christian morals. My sense of freely making choices quickly dissipated as I found I couldn’t extricate myself from what I was doing by my own self will. I was trapped and disoriented; “addicted” in my own fashion. For the first time, I understood how we become trapped and need more than ourselves to be rescued. In verse sixteen of Psalm 107, the psalmist calls attention to the distress of the prisoners who need God to “break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron”.
We have many types of prisons: “besetting sins”, situations that hold us fast, and addictions. Alcoholics Anonymous frames this entrapment in the first step of its twelve step program:”We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name.” Jeremiah 50:33 NIV
We need the strong arm of Almighty God to bring us out and break us free from those addictions and sins that hold us fast. As we turn to God in trust we become like those captives mentioned in Psalm 107 who “cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distress.” (verse 13). The moment we cry out, he hears us and mounts his rescue operation.
Hitting bottom causes us to look up and call out. AA’s second step: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” shows that hope that God is strong enough to free us and the third step voices our cry out to God: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
“Rescue us, Lord, and rescue those we love, who are in any kind of bondage for you desire us to be free.”
Alcoholics Anonymous website: http://www.aa.org