Ever feel this way? Like your in your own personal prison – alone, punished, tormented, and desperately longing for freedom. David, the author of Psalm 142, certainly had to feel this way. He was alone in a cave, clinging to his life – desperate for freedom.
I don’t know about your personal prison, but let me give up you peek behind the armor so you can see one of mine.
I would rather be filled with the scars of 100 wounds against me, than live with the guilt of being the one inflicted a scar on someone else. My prison bars are formed by the decisions I’ve made that left others in pain. It torments me to think of those who have been scared by the words I’ve said or didn’t say. Guilt weighs heavy on my soul, sometimes to the point of total despair. I can live with almost anything and anyone, except the wicked man I am. I long for freedom – not from the consequences of decisions made and words said, but from the guilt that has locked the door of my soul and thrown away the key into the depths of the ocean. Not surprisingly in the times of loneliness and pain of soul, the prison cell I reside in seems to grow smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter. What is left to do? Is freedom even a possibility? Are these chains forever?
“I cry aloud to the LORD; I plead aloud to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way…”Psalm 142:1-3
There is no reason to pretend before the Lord. He knows all my thoughts and ways. He is not fooled by my fake countenance or my lofty words. He is not impressed by human strength that is simply mere weakness disguised. So inside the prison bars, I cry aloud. I plead. I pour my heart out. I am honest. I acknowledge my frailty and weakness. None of this surprises my Lord.
“I cry to You, LORD; I say, ‘You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.’ Listen to my cry for I am very weak.” Psalm 142:5-6
If there is any hope for me, it is not in me, so I cry to the Lord. He is the only one who can offer shelter – relief from this trouble. You are the only one who can give me new life.
“Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name.” Psalm 142:7
Don’t free me so that I may be free. Don’t free me so that I may escape the pain. Free me SO that I may praise Your name. That I may praise the name of the ONLY name worthy of praise. That I may praise the ONE who knows my way, who hears my cry and is my shelter and portion.
“You deal generously with me.” Psalm 142:7b
When I plead for mercy, though undeserving, you offer it freely. When I cry out for grace, you send it in full without regard to my merit.
Freedom is given to me, not just from You, but because of You. The chains around my feet fall because of your great name. The prison door opens because you are rich in faithful love and mercy. I stand to walk in the light of your glorious grace not because I deserve to, but for your name’s sake.
Daily I can lay down my loosened chains and walk out of my opened cell because of the Gospel. I don’t have to live with myself, but I get to live with Christ in me, the hope of glory. I live today knowing that His grace is far greater than my sin. The key to my freedom that was lost in an ocean of guilt and shame has been found by the One who made the ocean by the word of His mouth. He has given it to me. It’s not surprising that it opens the lock of all prison doors.
I am free, and you can be too.