In Paul's letter to the Hebrews, he tells them to "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (12:15).
Many of the harsh events of our lives–the separation from loved ones or the toughness of prison existence–plant seeds of bitterness, anger, and hate within us. Yet when we turn to Jesus Christ, those seeds can be transformed and instead yield the fruit of God's powerful love and peace.
I SURRENDER MY BITTERNESS
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
Before I went to prison, I had my life together. I could clearly see where I wanted to go and everything was proceeding according to plan–or so I thought.
The president of a flourishing business, I was respected in the community and in the front church pew with my wife and kids every Sunday. I considered myself a Christian, but I had put God on hold. I told Him that I would get my business really going first, then He and I would do great things together. It was a reasonable arrangement and I thought He would understand.
But He had other plans for me, and through a series of bewildering events, I found myself in prison. I couldn't believe it. I was bitter, angry, and disgusted with God.
Every night in my cell I would blame Him for the tricks He had pulled on me, for His unjust treatment when I was such a good guy.
But one evening as I railed on Him, I was confronted by the reality of Jesus Christ. I suddenly realized that God was just–and I was the one playing games, not Him. My eyes were opened. I turned my life over to Christ and accepted Him. He had to come to me in prison to give me freedom.
From that point on, God gave me many opportunities to grow. I was no longer in control–He was. I was chosen to attend a Prison Fellowship® discipleship seminar. During those two weeks, my wife, who also attended, sat in on a teaching session. Then she, too, accepted Christ.
Now we have a life of far greater joy and freedom than before, when we thought we had it all together.
PRAYER: Lord, only you can bring liberty and sight to the bound and blind. Thank you for freeing me from my misconceptions. I ask that you would free those who read this from theirs, through your Holy Spirit.
*Name has been changed.