Invisible Prison

Invisible:

a : incapable by nature of being seen
b : inaccessible to view : hidden
 
Prison:
1: a state of confinement or captivity
2: a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers; specifically : an institution (as one under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of serious crimes — compare jail
 
Are you in one?  Have you been in one?  Do you know someone who is in one?
 
I was in an invisible prison for 9 months of my life.  People around you cannot see the bars of confinement so you feel as if they think you’re crazy.  You try to pretend to be “normal” and try your hardest to go on with your life but you can’t.
 
WHAT IF –
 
instead of trying to break free from the prison, we just trusted God and kept our focus on Him?  The first part of my battle I was trying to fight by myself.  I kept thinking that I would let myself out of the mess eventually, that I  would wake up one morning completely normal again… but day after day that morning never came.
 
WHAT IF –
 
We ASKED God what it is He is trying to show us?  I never knew God on such an intimate level before.  I mean, I really did love Him and knew that He loved me – but He needed me to go deeper than that.  I realized through my struggle that He truly is the only source of life. 
 
After walking through month after month of fear, anxiety, panic, depression – I started to believe God more.  I had to choose to believe Him and His Word.  I had to choose to believe who I was in Him and that this would NOT last forever- all while being confined in an invisible prison.
 
See the scripture below about Paul and Silas in prison-
 
Acts 16:25-26
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
 
I love the words “suddenly” and “At once”.
 
Do you see the actions of Paul and Silas?  They were praying and singing hymns to God.  They were bound, hurt, and in a VERY uncomfortable situation – yet they STILL chose to pray and sing!
 
I sometimes feel like we just read right through these stories in the Bible as if they are JUST stories.  These are REAL events that happened to REAL people.  See, we get into our own little funk and we feel like no one understands and that no one’s problems are as real as our problems.  Guess what?!?! Those strong people you admire…or resent… whichever,  they have struggles too!! 
 
In EVERY book I read about someone else’s struggle with anxiety, fear, panic, depression – there were two things in common –  God is still GOD and they had to choose to believe Him.
 
I often stumble over the fact that we are so busy wanting to change everything and everyone around us but we have power…real power to change ourselves through our relationship and obedience to Jesus Christ and we can’t even handle that…so how can we expect others to rearrange their lives and their struggles to accommodate us?!?! Seriously?!!?
 
When my chains were loosed and the prison door flew opened – EVERYTHING was different to me.  Everything is STILL different to me.  I will never be the same. 
 
God’s refining fire lead me into captivity, lead me out of captivity, then lead me to the mirror.  There was a lot of unresolved conflict in the mirror…I just never knew it.  I thought my problem was with other people the whole time.  To my surprise, the problem was with the person staring back at me… in the mirror.
 
You are in your invisible prison for a reason.  It’s not punishment, it’s not to hurt you or harm you.  It’s to heal, restore, and bring new life to you.  Are you trusting God while you’re there?  I want to encourage you to HANG on!  To dig deep into the Word and even when you can’t see through the fog and despair in your cold, dark, lonely prison – CHOOSE to believe that your chains WILL Suddenly be loosed and the prison doors will open AT ONCE! 
 
He loves you.  Do you love you?
 
A former prisoner,
 
April Poynter
 
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