Last Saturday night a group of us went to The Land of Illusion up in Middletown. It’s called a “haunted scream park.” The place features six or seven “haunted” houses ranging from themes of ancient temples, haunted corn mazes, even to the Louisiana Bayou. Of course it was all in fun. However, as I was walking through the pitch black hallways of one of them I did begin to get a little “anxious,” I had to remind myself, “Scott, this isn’t even real.”After telling myself that a few times, I continued on through the darkness and actually developed a kind of sense of humor about the situation.
Now, by this time I know you’re probably wondering how in the world this relates to the Bible. Good question. However, it truly does. Have you ever been in a situation that looks really bad? I mean so bad that it scares you—that you begin to tremble and fear? Maybe a doctor told you or a loved one that they had “x” amount of time left to live. Maybe someone was taken from you in a horrendous and tragic way. Maybe you’re hiding from bill collectors and dodging creditor calls day and night. Perhaps you’re caught in what feel like a jail cell of addiction, loneliness, hopelessness, or pain. Whatever the situation, you feel like the outcome is grim.
Just like a haunted house, you feel trapped in a maze of darkness with screaming foes closing in all around you. That’s where Jesus comes in. Had we been left to our own devices those feelings of “horror” would be a permanent fixture in our lives, however, with Jesus, that’s not the case. One day Jesus sat down in the Synagogue in Nazareth (His hometown) and begin to read from a scroll of the Book of Isaiah. He reads this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him” (Luke 4:18-20, ESV).
So it would’ve been typical to do what Jesus did, and then a discussion would ensue as to what the text meant….but that’s not what happened. Jesus says this:
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
Could you imagine the atmosphere in there? Talk about electrifying.
Jesus came to give back sight, restore the hurting, and let us out of our captivity to sin and death. He came to tell us that God was here, living among us (Emmanuel; God is with us) and that He was mounting an all-out assault for our souls. He came into the darkness, came into the place of horror and said, “This isn’t how its going to be.” Think about it. Jesus came into your haunted house, with all the skeletons and “demons” in your closet and chased them away. Why? Because He is in control over EVERYTHING!
I want to encourage you this week. Remember that sometimes life isn’t really what it seems. The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Spirit writes this to the Corinthian church: “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.6So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,7for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:5-7). Read that last line, then read it again out loud. Meditate; marinate in it,. Just like when I was scared in the haunted house and became engrossed in this world of fantasy, so we can do with life. However, we must remember this: God is on His throne and He is reigning in our lives. He has the final say on life and circumstance. Maybe a doctor gave you some bad news—guess what, Jesus is still in charge. Life doesn’t end till God says it does—not a doctor. Maybe you’re trapped in a torturous world of anxiety, depression and hopelessness. I’ve been there—but it’s not the intention of God that you stay there. Maybe you’re caught in addiction…Jesus has already broken the chains.
This week, remember that things aren’t always what they seem. We don’t go by what we can “look” at with our eyes, but with what we can see through faith; though God’s eyes. Pray that God helps you to live this way this week. Let’s talk about it. Let’s live it! Just something to think about. – Scott