We've had nice weather this week, so the girls have been out catching lizards and bugs to put in the bug and frog habitat that Jayna got for her birthday. They're having a good time studying the wildlife in the cage, and while they've been doing so, I remembered a story from a couple years ago that really spoke to me about living in freedom without fear. I found this helpful, and I'm hoping you will too. So, here's how it happened:
“Mommmmyyyy!” Bethany raced into the house with a small wire cage gripped tightly in her hands. “Look, look, look, look!” She skidded to a stop before me and shoved the cage under my nose. “Look what Grandpa caught for me. Isn’t it cool?”
I looked down into the cage at a pale green grasshopper and a bit of fresh clover. I forced a smile. “Oh, isn’t that great.” Just what I needed, another bug in the house.
“I’m going to keep him in my room. Whoo-hoo!” She darted up the steps and into her bedroom. She spent the next hour putting the tiny cage on her dresser, on the floor, on the table next to her bed, on the windowsill, and finally, back down in the kitchen.
For three days, I watched that poor little grasshopper as he sat on the wire mesh and twitched his legs. By that time, the clover had withered and the grasshopper had lost its brand-new appeal.
“Why don’t you let that thing go now,” I said to Bethany as she wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a snack. “He’ll die if you keep him in there for too long.”
She studied the insect for a long moment, then shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, okay.” She reached for plug on the side of the cage.
“Nooo, not in the house! Take it outside.” I waved my hand toward the door.
Bethany snatched the cage and took it out to the front deck. A few minutes later, I heard her shout. “Mom, it’s still in the cage.”
I dried my hands on the dishtowel and hollered back. “Let it out, Bethany.”
“It won’t go!”
“What do mean, it won’t go?” I stepped outside to see the cage open and the little grasshopper still clinging to the mesh inside.
I squatted down. “Hmmm.”
The grasshopper waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, we gave up and left it in its open cage on the deck. “It’ll go out eventually,” I told Bethany.
Three days later, that grasshopper was still in his cage with no water and no food.
Bethany crossed her arms and frowned. “How come it won’t go out?”
I shook my head. “Silly, isn’t it? It’ll die in there if it doesn’t get out soon.” I tipped the cage, picked up a stick, and beat on the far end until the grasshopper fell through the opening. A moment later, it hopped away.
Bethany took my hand. “Would it really have died?”
“I think so.”
We sat down on the step and stared at the place where the grasshopper disappeared. Strange, I thought, how a creature would sit in a cage and suffer when the way to freedom was open just beside it. But then, I wondered if I was much different.
John 8:36 (NIV) tells me, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Christ has set me free, too. Free from sin, from worry, from fear.
Yet, sometimes, I forget that because of Christ I am free indeed. Instead I live as if worry and fear should be normal parts of my everyday life. Bills come and I worry about how I will pay them. I have tests at the doctor’s office and am afraid of what the results might be. I worry that I’ll do poorly on an assignment, fail at my job, or that no one will show up to my church small group.
So I sit in the cage of my fears and get weaker and weaker while the door is standing open beside me. But God has not called me to live in the wire mesh of fear. Instead, He calls me to trust Christ enough to get out of the cage and explore the life that He has for me. He calls me to be free.