Freedom is a word that has so many different meanings for so many different people. We live in a free country and we have rights and opportunities that many around the world don’t experience.
But what is freedom?
To some, freedom is the ability to do what needs to be done, when they want to do it, and not to do what needs to be done, when they don’t want to do it. Seems simple.
To others, freedom is the ability to worship how they see fit, to believe what they believe, and to live the way they want to live.
We as a nation do not treasure or value our freedoms the way we should. For many, freedom is a right that cannot be lost. But what happens when it is taken away?
A person cannot truly understand and appreciate freedom until they have experienced bondage. We take so much for granted in our day to day lives and we think we understand freedom. But I ask you, how do we understand freedom if we have not experienced bondage?
Today while doing my devotions, first the title intrigued me, “Suffering Transformed” and then the first paragraph jumped out at me. “We live in an often hostile world. We all experience suffering and disappointment, but God is in the business of using our difficulties and setbacks for our ultimate good.”
The timing of this day’s reading is not lost on me. (I will explain that in a moment.) Today’s scripture is the account of Joseph in Egypt. For those unfamiliar, Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, became a successful servant in Potiphar’s house, was falsely accused and imprisoned for something he did not do and after somewhere between 10 and 13 years found himself before Pharaoh, who appointed him as second in command in Egypt, and eventually he was reunited with his family. (For more read Genesis 37-45)
Could you imagine spending years in prison for something you didn’t do? Could you imagine the frustration, helplessness, and hopelessness of a situation like this? Joseph spent year after year in prison honoring God and acting with humility and integrity. Joseph did not deserve to lose his freedom, but he did, and in the end the Lord showered him with blessings because he remained faithful. Joseph is not the only example in scripture of Christ followers finding themselves imprisoned or in bondage. We have many examples to choose from, and in each of those instances we see the strength of character, and the commitment to the Lord in these individuals against what must have seemed impossible circumstances.
Joseph did not forget the Lord, and the Lord did not forget Joseph.
Three years ago today, freedom became a reality for the man I love. Like Joseph, he was falsely imprisoned for many years, and like Joseph he remained faithful to the Lord. In what I am sure at times seemed like a hopeless situation, he didn’t lose faith. He didn’t forget the Lord, and the Lord has not forgotten him.
Freedom means a lot of different things to a lot of people. Today I am thankful for the freedom of my friend and the man who I have grown to love beyond measure. Today I praise the Lord for holding him safely in His hand over 13 years of bondage. Today I pray that he is able to bask in the reality of his freedom and enjoy the little things that we so often take for granted.
Because of his faithfulness, God transformed Joseph’s suffering and blessed him and his family. We will all experience pain in our lives, some it seems will experience more than others. Our Father wants us to place our pain, disappointments, and suffering into His hand, He promises to give us strength. He will vindicate us and eventually cause us to prevail for His kingdom purposes. Remain faithful and He will bring healing and victory!
Today I thank the Lord for freedom in Christ!