I’m trying to wrap my brain around what I saw today … handcuffs  being wrapped around three young men’s wrists !

English: Handcuffs Handcuffed Handcuff Hinge H...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were so young …so innocent looking …still so full of potential.  What happened?  Where were the mama’s and the daddy’s ?  How does it feel to have 5 police cars hem you in and does your life feel hemmed in without opportunity or resources or options?

I was sitting in my living room with friends when all the drama unfolded.  We were  ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new little baby boy in our arms — a gift from God Himself — while just outside my window somebody else’s  baby boys were being held in a different way — not by loving mama’s and friends — but by law enforcement officers doing their job to protect our city.  While  I searched this sweet little baby’s face  for the resemblance of family —  outside, the police were searching pockets and a vehicle  and licenses — checking for a resemblance  of a different kind.

But the boys outside my window are gifts from God too!  They have names and  they have faces.  I’ve seen them with my own eyes !  And I wonder what held  their hearts  captive that ended in their hands being  held captive  today?  Do they feel they have no options? or that the cards have just been dealt this way for them?  Was it peer pressure?  Did the lure of money chain them to their actions?

My heart broke for these boys!  I’ve  never seen anyone handcuffed in real life!  This wasn’t NCIS or Hollywood or the 6:00 Evening News …this was my front yard!  They were literally sitting under my shade tree as their life was being processed by the authorities.

I wanted to run out there and form a circle around them and pray for them — pray that their life be processed by Jesus instead.  Do I just sit and watch from my cozy little cottage window?  What do I do with the words of God that say, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” ? (Isaiah 61:1)  These words begin  taking on a whole new meaning for me  and I can’t get away from it.

Do these boys know that God really does love them and that He can set them free?  If they’ve heard, did something else seem more appealing?  Has the enemy of their soul deceived them into thinking there’s no way out? or that this is the freedom they’re looking for?

Those of us inside had been given good names–Biblical even  … Joy and Faith.  Do they know that God has tattooed their names on the palms of His hands and He wants to give them an identity that’s full of honor and true freedom and  real  life —  a display of His splendor —  instead of a mug shot with permanent fingerprints of shame?

As our tree  covers  the prisoners  from the hot sun,  I want to tell them how Jesus’  death on a  tree will cover them from sin’s heat …a penalty they can never pay on their own and bail can only be paid by Jesus Himself  …and Life and freedom are alive and well because Jesus is alive and well !

There’s a reason we chose to live in this neighborhood.  We wanted  to get a better view of  how God sees the least of these …to look out a different window …a window next door instead of from across town.  But then another thought came to mind.  My neighborhood may have been given  labels —  poor, under-resourced, drugs, addictions, lower-class, etc. — labels that have imprisoned  far too long.  However, no matter what  the neighborhood’s description, every neighborhood has those held captive …captive to that same allure of what money can buy,  power, security,  peer pressure to keep up with the Joneses …chains of gold and silver …those held captive to acceptable addictions.  You may see them every day  — being handcuffed to a lifestyle that they think brings freedom …right in front of your house too.

What about my life is  bringing shade?  hope?  freedom for the captives?  After all, isn’t this what God called me to when He said,

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?   (Isaiah 58:6)

What if we could all look out our window and see in  the spiritual realm the  reality of people being “handcuffed”  right before our eyes …in our own front yard?  And what if we have the key through Jesus Christ  to unlock the chains that bind them? …or  have we been keeping  it locked up in a safety deposit box, securing it for our benefit alone?

While writing this, there was a knock on my front door.  It was someone from the neighborhood stopping by to say “hi”.  Do you think God sent that neighbor  over to remind me there’s still hope ?  And now  I’m bound to this thought …

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Psalm 39:7

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. anotherstraw

    This was good to read.

    1. Thanks kathy … Open the eyes of my heart Lord — has a whole new meaning now !

  2. Carrye Burr

    This must have been hard to write, as it was hard to read- a vivid reminder of our calling in life and that all our lives can become so easily entangled in things that hold us back- keep us from God’s heart for us. I know you are being a beautiful light right where you are. Thank you for your example in so many ways.

    1. Oh Carrye …it was hard to write and hard to watch ! But it was needed for me ! Keep praying for the light to shine brightly in all of us. I love you !

Go for it! Leave a comment. :-)