Psalm 119:30, 32 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
One of my all-time favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption". The main character, Andy Dufresne, is falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned in Shawshank prison. After nearly twenty years of incarceration, Andy escapes. As his intricate plan of departure unfolds, the audience realizes that Andy had spent many painstaking years chipping away at the prison walls with a tiny pickax he had hidden in the pages of his Bible. The vile warden had quipped years earlier that, "salvation lies within." That certainly proved true for Andy Dufresne.
This morning my passage is 2 Timothy 2. Paul writes Timothy while shackled in prison (Verse 9). He even invites Timothy to join him in his suffering (Verse 3). That is one party invitation I do not want to find in my mailbox. In reality, rain falls into the life of every person. God doesn't skirt storms around the homes of those who love and worship Him. The difference between one walking with God and one who is not isn't whether the storms come, it is how they react to the weather.
As Paul writes from his dank confinement, he relates to Timothy that "God's word is not chained." Power, promise and provision lie in those pages. Andy Dufresne found logistical freedom tucked between the covers of his Bible. It appears, however, that he missed the greatest treasure - what was written on the pages he destroyed while concealing his implement.
God's word isn't chained but all to often we keep it neatly tucked on our bookshelf instead of hiding it in our hearts. When we do so, we render its' life-changing power useless. For many years I knew about the Bible. I even knew all the major stories, characters and passages. Like Andy, I allowed myself for many years to be wrongfully imprisoned. My prison was a joyless life devoid of knowing the pleasure of walking with God. As I began to open the pages of God's love letter I found the secret to handling the storms of life. My rain clouds gave way to sunshine. No the weather did not change but my reaction to it altered dramatically.
Jesus, thank you for Your word that delivers Your people from chains. Salvation truly lies within the timeless pages of Your book. Thank you for releasing me from the prison of keeping Your word on the shelf. I love this daily adventure called life now that I live it with You.