The joy of real freedom is not to be taken lightly. I say this because those who have struggled to be free and have achieved their freedom are joyful indeed. Freedom has much more to do with your inner sense of peace then it has to do with whether or not you are or have been physically restrained either by others or by disease or disability, or by addictions or perhaps by resentment and hurts suffered at the hands of others. All of these conditions, in their own way, rob us of our freedom because they each represent a type of enslavement. The amazing thing is that we can choose to be free even where others stand in our way. I think often of my niece, Mary Wagner, who has spent many years in custody because of her pro life work. As I write this blog, Mary is before a Court in Toronto concluding a trial for having entered an abortuary last year with flowers in an effort to persuade young woman who were awaiting an abortion to reconsider their decision to abort. Mary commented recently that prison has been for her a “real means to discover what real freedom is”. She has often used her time in custody to reach out to other inmates in an effort to offer them hope, love and compassion and to share her faith with them. As she will tell you, she experiences great joy notwithstanding her confinement.
Most of us encounter, to one degree or another, shackles on our freedom that are for the most part self imposed. Breaking free of those shackles and experiencing inner peace is what real freedom is all about. We can be in custody, as Mary is, and still be free because we experience the joy of knowing that the fountain of all freedom in the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is with us. [“If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 31].
The mechanism therefore by which we achieve inner freedom is to utilize our faith to neutralize the shackles that bind us. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the grace that accompanies that reality is the fuel that permits us to burn away the shackles. It may take some time. Hang on to Jesus, as my niece Mary does, and allow His grace to transform you. As you grow in peace, marvel at the changes that your life experiences and most of all be thankful for the work that our Savior can accomplish in each of us if only we turn to Him. He can indeed set each of us free.