According to Google, the word “liberation” means: the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release.
I never truly understood the meaning of that word, until I did. I mean, sure, I knew what it implied. When you go to church, the pastor always talks about “liberation.” Maybe you’re used to a different word, but they all get at the same thing.
Easter comes around every year and you hear a similar message. Jesus died and rose again to rescue you. He died and rose again to free you from the price of sin. He died and rose again for the sake of deliverance. He granted you freedom from the price you were meant to pay. But, that word: liberation.
Be honest with yourself. Have you ever really felt the need for true liberation? Let’s be truthful, many of us live a charmed life. We live in the United States of America. We have freedom of religion. We have freedom of speech. You have a roof over your head. Most of us have food to eat for three meals a day. You probably have a car. You have a bed to sleep in at night, with adequate bedding. Sure, we all have difficulties, but in general, we all lived a charmed life compared to what it could be.
I never truly understood the meaning of the word “liberation” until I desperately needed rescuing. Maybe it’s because I’m only in my mid-twenties, but many of the struggles I’ve had up until this point were not ones that I could be liberated from. Growing up, did I want to be liberated from my diabetes? Absolutely. Did I ever ask for it? Not in so many words. Every morning I woke up it was still there for me to deal with. Science couldn’t make it go away. God didn’t make it go away. But, it was only one thing. I could deal with it. And, in all honesty, I knew God was getting me through it. I absolutely felt his “rescues” when I woke up in the middle of the night with a low blood sugar that I could’ve slept right through. And, I knew that was God. But, those big liberating moments that people kept talking about? Yeah, I didn’t know what that felt like. My struggles were there every morning, no different from yesterday, and they wouldn’t go away tomorrow. But it’s okay, I was used to it. It’s part of life, right? I could muddle through.
Then, one day I knew what the need for liberation felt like. Was I being oppressed? No. But, I was suffocating in a perpetual cycle of my body failing me, and a mind that was giving in to the demons I fought every day. To this day, my switch in attitude after I was diagnosed with MS is inexplicable. I had never experienced that level of devastation before. I felt a crushing weight that I couldn’t handle. The years to come of dealing with my health loomed over me, shutting out any goodness and hope I tried to find. I finally felt the need to be liberated. I’m not going to lie, I definitely tried to do it on my own like I had for so many years. But, it didn’t work. Despair was always on my heels, dragging me back. I knew deep down that I would never be able to claw myself out of that hole by myself. But that one day, I finally knew what it felt like to be liberated. I knew what it felt like for my fear to be obliterated. I felt myself being lifted from the pit. I couldn’t believe the weight that lifted from my heart. I had not realized how deep that hole had gotten.
There is so much fear and desperation out in the world today. What gets me, though, is that there are people out there who don’t know that they need liberation. They live under a banner of fear. Or, they live under a banner of shame. Or, they live under a banner of contentment. They’re so used to it; they don’t realize how deep they’ve gone.
It’s so easy to go to church, appreciate the fact that Jesus died for me, and get on with my life. I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. But now, I tend to stop and sit in the memory of the absolute darkness I was faced with. And then I remember the liberation I experienced at the hands of Jesus. Guys, to this day, it makes me cry. I never want to lose that feeling. It’s such a personal experience, but I can’t stop sharing it! I think about others facing chronic illness and my heart aches for them because I know the never-ending abyss they face. And it hurts even more when I know they don’t know Jesus.
So, this Easter, I encourage you to share your story of liberation with someone who needs to hear it. Did my diabetes or MS go away? No. You ask, how can you be thankful for something like that? Well, if I didn’t have these things, I wouldn’t have experienced Jesus the way I did. I wouldn’t necessarily realize how desperately I need Jesus in my life. And, honestly, I don’t know if I would ever want to give that up. There’s a difference between knowing that you need Jesus, and knowing that you need Jesus, you get me? Jesus defied death. Death and fear have no power over Him. And because Jesus is with me, they don’t have sway over me. I finally realized just how much bigger Jesus is than the things trying to drown me. So, it’s time to sit back and remember how Jesus liberated you from sin. Whether it was from shame, from fear, from hopelessness, from guilt, Jesus died to liberate you from the weight of sin. No amount of thanks is ever going to be enough, but being grateful every day is a good start.
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…'”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.”
-1 Peter 1:3-4