I turned around and looked behind me to see if they were pursuing. I then looked down at the rusty shackles on my wrists, trying to shake my hands free. In my desperation to escape, I didn’t even notice the chains but now the noise of their rusty edges clanked together echoing throughout the dark forest and giving away my location to my captors who pursued me. 

It felt like I had sat in that damp dark cell my whole life. How they grabbed me and took me away, I do not fully remember. Where I had come from and where I was born remained blurry as it seemed like all I’ve known my whole life was this island. The days blurred together, one after another. And in all that time, I slowly had forgotten I didn’t belong. 

My captors were sinister people, hiding their faces behind hoods and cloaks, not revealing their true identity. But showing just enough for me to see just how evil they really were. They knew they had me and they made sure I knew that too every day. I had lost all hope, lost long ago the idea of escape. There I sat, sitting in that cell waiting out the remainder of my life. 

I went to sleep that night just like any other. I closed my eyes and fell into a restless sleep. Suddenly a bang came out of nowhere and as I sat up with my eyes wide opened, I saw a bright white light. Before I could see what or who it was, it faded away and what remained was a wide open cell door. Creeping up slowly, I pushed the rusty door and it squeaked open. I looked around and realized that no one had awakened from the noise. But I for sure had. With nothing but my tattered old clothes and wrist shackles still attached, I hurried through the open door. 

That’s where I ran, I ran through the prison hall, past cells I didn’t know existed nor if there were people even in there. I had always felt alone in this great prison but now I wondered if others remained captive as well. But there was no time to discover if that was correct or if the other cell doors were open too as I ran barefooted down the halls. I found a door that opened to the outside and quickly ran out. This prison was a fortress on top of a great hill in the middle of this small island. The door opened up to a large prison yard and even in the dimness of night, I could see the span of the forest beyond the prison walls and the glow of the moon on the beach beyond the trees. I had to make it off this island.

I saw a spark in front of me and as I blinked, it disappeared again. Was I making this up? Or was I being led out? I followed towards where I saw the light at the base of the prison wall and saw yet another door open. How was escaping so easy? Was it a trap? I crossed the threshold of the door and paused looking out into the dark forest. Was I really supposed to leave the only thing I knew? I took a step back and a tower light shined on me. I was caught. I heard yelling and commotion as the prison guards were roused to duty. If their whole life revolved around keeping me in chains then at this moment, their mission was to get me back in that cell. 

But I couldn’t. The hesitancy I just felt turned into panic as I began to run across the forest floor. I turned around and looked behind me to see if they were pursuing. I then looked down at the rusty shackles on my wrists, trying to shake my hands free. In my desperation to escape, I didn’t even notice the chains but now the noise of their rusty edges clanked together echoing throughout the dark forest and giving away my location to my captors who pursued me. I ran like my life depended on it because, honestly, it did. All I’ve known was life in that cell and as I tasted the wind on my face and the pine covered forest floor on my feet, I couldn’t imagine going back. 

As I ran, I continued to hear my captors chasing me. They felt so near yet at the same time, I felt the freedom of the beach beckoning me. I ran down one last hill and found myself upon a dimly lit shore. There were a few rocks and boulders on the shore and as I looked both ways, I saw a glimmer on the water of a dark shape to my left. I followed along the shore towards the shape to realize it was a boat. A simple oared boat pushed up on to the beach. I looked around and heard the commotion of my captures in the distance but otherwise, the shore was empty. I felt that all of this was not by accident, like someone helped plan my escape. But I couldn’t think about that now as I pushed the boat into the waves, jumped in and began to row.

The waves crashed in on me and for some reason, the further out I tried to row, the bigger the waves became. The winds also began to rage and the calm night I had felt running through the forest had turned quickly into what felt like a storm. I looked out at the giant waves crashing in on my tiny boat and I looked back towards the shore. There I saw my captors arriving and preparing to follow me into the sea. I was trapped either way.

I couldn’t do this anymore, it was just too much. There was no way I could get out, it was impossible from the start. Who was I to think I could, I couldn’t. I panicked and began to hysterically paddle but my fear put me off balance as my boat began to rock against the waves. The wind howled in my ears as a wall of water hit my face. In my distress, I dropped my oars and lost my balance and with another wave hitting against my tiny boat, it toppled over into the water.

The raging sea claimed me as it crashed again and again upon me as I tried to stay above water. I couldn’t swim, I didn’t know how and my hands were still chained. I flailed, reaching for anything that could save me. But I know there was nothing and that this was the end as the stormy waves battered against me. I was drowning, I was going to die or be pushed back to shore where I knew my captors waited. Death or back to chains. Who was I to think I could rescue myself, who was I to think I was to get away. As death and defeats clutches reached up from that watery grave, I sank slowly below, submitting to my fate. 

Suddenly, I felt a hand plunge into the water and reach down towards me. It grasped my shackled hands and pulled me back up above the waves.   

Gasping for air, my eyes met my Savior, A Man in White. Even in the dark of night, He shined not of any light around but of a light within.  I looked up at Him, in shock and wonder as He smiled back at me. How He held onto me so firmly I did not know but as The Man in White pulled me into His embrace, the exhaustion and the fear overwhelmed me, all my strength left me as my vision went dark. 

I awoke to a sandy shore and a beachside fire. The sun was slowly rising as I jumped up in panic thinking back to my escape and the boat capsizing. I must have ended up back on the shores of my captor’s island. But as I turned, I saw The Man in White approaching me from the other side of the beach. His face was soft and kind and even in the rising daylight, He still seemed to shine. I looked at Him and He smiled back and waved as He approached. 

He came up and me and sat down by the fire and invited me next to Him. 

“Oh my dear one, you had such a rough tumble out there. I am so glad I found you.” 

I looked at Him speechless as His kind words soothed over me. 

“Dearest, you were doing so well, following my guidance to be free. But I can see that you became afraid.”

I couldn’t find my voice, I was so shocked. There was someone leading me out that whole time. “You were the one who opened my cell door?” I asked. 

“Of course, and I was the one who made a way through the prison walls and the one who provided you with the boat. I was there with you that night and many other nights before. I was the one who led you to the shore and out into the waters. I was there the whole time, just that you weren’t able to see.”

I put my hand on my head. The Man in White had freed me. This whole time I should have Seen. He was the Light I was seeing. He was the one who rescued me.

“Who are You?” I ask.

He looked at me and smiled so warmly that the coldness I felt inside melted away. “I have many names and in time you will know them all but I think most importantly to you right now is Savior. Does that sound like who I am to you?”

I looked back at Him and the memory of drowning flashed in my head. I was dead, I was dying, I was captive and He had saved me. I looked at Him as tears came to my eyes. “You became that to me the moment you saved me.” The realization of the impact gripped me. Again I felt The Man in White’s warm embrace as He reached out to hug me. 

“Yes my dear one, you are correct. Sometimes you all need a little reminding. But now you know, I am with you always, leading you and showing you the Way. Now come and eat, we have much more to talk about and I have much more to say. But now is the time to rest because you are free, you are forever free.”

I looked out into the waves and saw the small black speck of the captor’s island across the way. I felt safe here with The Man in White. But I wondered about all those other cells and the people that could be in them. Did they know that The Man In White freed them as well? I saw The Man in White match my gaze as if knowing what I was thinking. He looked at me knowingly and said “In time, you will help Me show them they all are free.”

Who is The Man in White? He goes by many names but His name is Jesus. He saved me and if you are reading this, He saved you too. Wherever you find yourself relative to this story I want to remind you today that Jesus is the one who saves us, not the other way around. My prayer is that as you read and reflect on this story that you have an encounter with our Savior and continue to find the freedom that He paid for.

I am also releasing this story on my 28th birthday as a testimony and symbol for all the saving God has done in my life. Years ago, Jesus met me in a dark prison and got me out. I am forever thankful that I am still living in Jesus’ beautiful saving grace and may it continue to abound more in my life.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come” Luke 4:18-19

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s