COLUMN: Are you feeling trapped?

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By Jon Rohr

Not long ago I was stuck on an elevator. It reached the floor I wanted, but the door wouldn’t open. After a long day I just wanted to get to my hotel room and call it a day. Instead I spent the next 45 minutes trapped, just waiting for someone to get me out of that little box. Someone had to come with a key to get me safely out of the elevator.
That simple word “trapped” describes a lot of people these days. Hopefully not physically trapped, but emotionally, spiritually and perhaps even psychologically. Trapped by addictions that eat at their souls. Trapped in broken and bruised families. Trapped by a seemingly endless cycle of debt and despair. Many even feel trapped by their own choices, regretting the consequences, but unable to see a way out.
We are usually trapped in snares of our own making, when pride or selfishness blinds us to the consequences of our actions. I walked into that elevator willingly, but then again, it was just an elevator. Sure, there are always predators out there, but they always tempt us with something we want. And like the mouse staring at the trap we think, “I can get away with it this one time.” Then snap — caught with no way out.
But I am reminded that Jesus said, “If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV). While I was locked in that elevator, I needed someone with the right key to set me free. My wife had car keys and house keys, but they couldn’t open that door. I had keys in my pocket, but none of them could open that door. Someone had to come from outside with the right key to set me free. Jesus is telling us that he is the key that sets us free.
We can try and try to free ourselves, and sometimes, for a short time it seems we may succeed. But that addiction crawls back, those bruised relationships bring new pain. The trap holds us tight. Our own strength is not enough, but his strength is more than enough — enough that he can change us from the inside out.
Jesus helps us with his strength to overcome addiction. He is strong enough to save us from destructive relationships, even strong enough to restore broken hearts and broken lives.
He is wise enough to lead us out of debt and despair if we will follow. He is the key that opens the door and sets us free. Place your faith in him and be free.