Did you ever read someone’s story and although you understood, there were things written that totally stuck out to you? Something you just wish you could talk to them to find out the reason they included it? I read about a man who was in prison and literally chained so he couldn’t escape. At one time he was terribly cruel to many people; but now he no longer agreed with the government that he used to be part of. What struck me was the fact that even though he was in prison, his letters were always in one way or another, encouraging those who he wrote to.
He talked about not only what was happening in his life, but about the importance of being unified as a people and the importance of faith. He wrote about love and how being involved in community is essential to thrive as a person. He talked about hardships, being beaten to sometimes near death; yet, through it all, he had hope. In one of his letters he wrote, “Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” I don’t think he wrote “remember my chains” for me to be focusing on all the horrible things that were happening to him in prison. I believe he wrote those three words to remind me that even though he was in chains, he still had hope. He knew that the reason he was in prison would someday be the very thing that would set him free.
This person was Paul – the writer of many books of the Bible. I can relate to his story to a very, very small degree, as I had been in chains at one point in my life. Not physical chains; but I was bound nonetheless. Emotional chains that were extremely difficult to get free from. I can also relate because the very same thing that released his chains, released mine – faith in Jesus. It’s my prayer that as I write, I’m honest and real about what life is like, and yet I want to be encouraging, always pointing others to the hope they too can have in Jesus.