“I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: Thou hast set my feet in a large room.” (Psalm 31:7-8, emphasis mine)
Imagine yourself emerging from a cave of decades-long exile, squinting at the sun as it rises. I envision a hillside, a stones throw from a little village. Perhaps it’s taking place around the time of Christ—doesn’t have to. Can’t you just feel the wind though? Rustling the leaves of what few and sparse shrubbery dot the expanse, maybe kick around a little dirt and tousle your hair. If I had one word to sum up the feeling I’m looking to create with this picture it’d be freedom.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18) Says Jesus.
A sense of enlittlement
Jesus did it. He spelunked for three days and three nights in the “heart of the world” and got as deep as the Father required in order that He might pay for our sin and secure our freedom. Moving around in this world takes a whole lot more than we might realize. Everything from stable tectonic plates to all that stuff you may have forgotten (or neglected to learn) from your High School Physics class (like gravity). From those things, to some vestige of caloric energy, etc. What about the shape of your blood cells? And this is just your body. Moving around in your body. What about your thoughts? You drive to work and stop to grab coffee on the way. Not only would you not be able to get coffee if you didn’t have a job, but you might feel so absolutely overwhelmed having just gotten the call on the way that you lost your job that you mightn’t even stop for that coffee. On second thought, if you really received a verbal pink slip on your way to work, after a brief life-inventory/existential crisis (the intensity of which might be contingent on how much you liked your job) on the side of the road, you probably would go get some coffee. And while the pressures of life would most definitely flood in and seek to inundate fairly quickly, you’d probably also have a fleeting feeling of pure freedom. Freedom, or “liberty” as the King James terms it in the following verse:
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)
This isn’t to say anyone you see coming or going as they please is “foolish” or “wicked”, no. But it’s good to have this verse, and really, the whole of Asaph’s psalm, to show us where our foci (plural of focus—but really, we should only be focusing on God…) and motives lie. With God, you may feel for any number of reasons that you can’t do what you want. You might be tempted to look with envy at others who seem to be more upwardly mobile—or even mobile in general. But think about this: you have freedom of mind. You can dream and hope and pray. You can fellowship with Jesus right where you’re at.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Abide in me…” (John 15:5, 4a)